How to Organize a Busy Family Schedule

 

organize a busy family schedule

Family schedules are ramping up.  We all want more time together as a family, time to do what we love and time to be a model for our kids.  You can have all of these!  A busy family schedule requires a combination of intention, planning and tools. Here are four tips on getting and staying organized.

 

Start with values

Family values are the solid foundation for your family schedule. Your intentions become goals, which translate to actions and activities.  There are many “good” opportunities for familes that include building strong minds, spiritual growth and physical well being.  Spend time with your partner or co-parent and discuss what this looks like for your family.  Strong foundations start with strong goals.

The best way to share these goals and activities is with during your family meeting. Gather together to discuss what your time together and apart look like and the options for how to empower these goals. Gather the thoughts, write them down and place these where everyone can see these regularly.  We see this in a lot of word art so why not have your own goals as the art itself.

These family values are also a boundary for everyone getting too busy.  That’s when we feel overwhelmed. At times you will have to prioritize what is best for everyone because there are many “good” opportunities.  By relying on your goals, it makes for easier discussions and decisions.

 

Tools to use

My first thoughts in every team effort is to build solid tools we can all use together. That’s why a family calendar is so important. Because of it’s easy access on everyone’s phone, it’s best to use a digital calendar to keep everyone’s information and activities.

  • Add dates as soon as you learn about these.
  • Block time to add a series of dates such as those that start the school year, holiday times and more.
  • Add dates during the family meeting. Back into what’s needed to accomplish tasks by planning ahead about purchases and driving.
  • Plan a month in advance if possible for big events like birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Add alerts from your smart phone and smart watch. Use your home devices like Alexa and Google Home to help by seting automated reminders.

The hardest part of a family calendar is keeping it up to date and being alert to overlapping activities. It takes consistent management to be sure everyone in your family updates the calendar each day.

 

Communicate vigorously

Family communication keeps everything running smoothly. That communication is more than verbal. It is in email, text, a Trello board, an Asana task and the list goes on. Give yourself space between appointments with short intervals to catch up with communication.  Because so much information comes in quickly daily, you are not always able to respond at that time.  Add a little wrap up communication time to your day.  You will feel more proactive and more in control.

 

Work as a team

Research shows that we can promote teamwork within our family. Kids are natural helpers when they are young and we need to capitalize on this. When your kids offer to help, give them specific tasks and times to accomplish these tasks.  An example of this is when you are making dinner and your kids are ready to help, answer yes to any offers.

No one wants to be the only one to do a task at home. Partner up with family members and create a chart that shares these responsibilities. When there’s a chart, there’s no nagging needed.

There is always more to do than time to do it when it comes to home responsibilities. Write in your family calendar the routines for cleaning the house, doing laundry and cutting the grass.  In the calendar it is an appointment now!

 

Busy family times are happy family times.  Keep a positive, optimistic, resilient attitude and tone of voice.  We convey how we are feeling in our body language how we speak to each other. Try to overcome frustration by steppng back, aligning with positivity and moving forward after a pause.  Listen to these signs and re-align your schedule with your goals to create more time for your intentions.

 

 

How to Get Your Family to Help Keep Your Home Tidy and Organized

ADHD Tidying

keep your home tidy

 

Pandemic or not, families are not necessarily the most tidy or organized.  Parents may be and kids not so much, or a kid or two is organized.  Families with ADHD especially find organizing and tidying difficult.  How can you get started and maintain a tidy and organized home? Check out these tips.

 

Have less to keep tidy and organized

Start with less. Let go of what is not being used, loved or needed. That is difficult because by nature we think “just in case” is our guideline for owning stuff.  It may not be that you want to be a minimalist however you can have less incrementally.  Having less can start with some data. Just how many pairs of undies do you need in a week?  We think it is a bigger number just in case we don’t do laundry.  It can also start with where you store your stuff. All your clothes can fit in your closet or dresser, no matter how small. Get a realistic number of how many to have and set a boundary for where it belongs.

 

Assign a home to stuff to keep tidy and organized

When stuff is not put away, it is clutter. When stuff is not put away, it is untidy.  Be sure that every item in your home, car or office has a specific spot to be put away.  This way, when it is time to clean up there is no discussion on where to place an item. Start by finding items that have never had a home since purchased. Then group like items together that are used together. If there is too much to store together, it is time to declutter. You will find being organized is the key to keeping tidy.

 

Model home tidying

A family meeting is the starting point to setting standards for your family. Start by discussing what the goals are for tidying and then set a time to do the work.  Most families need a daily time. That can be immediately after dinner so that everyone is prepared for the next day.  That includes bringing dishes to the kitchen, gathering recycling, and getting laundry put away.  Create a chart that states what is to be completed during the tidying time.  Everyone working together, at the same time, means that everyone is contributing.

 

Make tidying fun

Yes! Tidying can be fun! We all have playlists and videos. Make a family tidying video and create a Spotify list for tidying.  Serve a treat! Announce ahead of time the tidying rewards for your family! Set up Google Home or Alexa routines to help you stay on track. Ask your kids to help you make this more collaborative and fun.  Keep tidying to a short time with a timer set for 15 minutes. Everyone wants to get this job done.

 

Create routines for tidying

Routines are the hardest part of keeping tidy.  Families lose momentum and all of a sudden everyone is overwhelmed.  If you can tidy daily in the same work flow, that is the best. Everyone eats dinner, and then it is time to tidy.  If not, be sure to tidy as frequently as possible.  The intention to tidy daily may not happen, and it may be only 2 days a week, however this way you have some control.  If you find you are not tidying at the same time daily, tidy when you can daily.  The best way to keep routines going is to tie these to another task that is firmly set.  Use automated reminders like Siri, Google Home and Alexa to signal the start of tidying time.

 

Virtual Workshop and Support Group Conquer Your Planner

 

 

Conquer Your Planner

Virtual Workshop and Support Group for Individuals with ADHD

 

Have you purchased multiple planners and are not sure what works best for you? Might you have missed an event because you did not look at your planner? Do you want to learn to use your planner more effectively?

Planner choices can be overwhelming because these come in a variety of styles in either digital or paper format. There are routines to implement to use your planner effectively.

 

Join us in April for Professional-Organizer.com’s Virtual Workshop and Support Group for Individuals with ADHD. This fee-based group is the starting point for creating solutions for successfully using your planner and making lists.

  • The Virtual Workshop and Support Group meets for three one-hour weekly sessions to learn planner skills and get support for organizing your time and tasks.
  • We will meet in a small group setting by logging into Zoom on your device.
  • At each weekly meeting there will be skill building instruction and personal organizing time. I will share skills and concepts. You will bring your planner to capture all information, enter dates and times, use lists to assign tasks, and plan ahead for projects and goals.

 

Meeting Logistics

  • Meetings are held online through Zoom link. You can join from a smart phone, smart device or computer. Simply click on the link to join.
  • Meeting dates are Mondays, April 12, 19 and 26.
  • Meeting times are 7- 8 pm central time.
  • Bring your existing planner. If you are looking for a planner, I will share recommendations.
  • Cost is $75 for the three sessions.
  • Group size is limited to 10 attendees. Join today!

 

Register by April 8, 2021.
For information and to register, call 281.360.3928 or email edelap@professional-organizer.com

Accountability When You Work From Home

 

 

For a short while, work from home included yoga pants and intermittent runs to change laundry and dinner prep.  As the pandemic has gone on, and with close to 90% of the work force working from home, we have found a real need for accountability and focus. There is gap in getting done what is required, doing what we intend to do, and prioritizing getting things done. Add to that, if you have ADHD, there is the inability to make yourself do what you know you should do. Now you are looking to accountability as a solution.

 

External Accountability through Routines and Organization

We have all set alarms only to ignore these. External accountability can be more than a sound. It can include powerful routines that give us reason to do our important work. Determine your best start to the day, whether that is a morning run or meditation. Giving yourself time to warm up to your work with an intentional “star your work day” plan.  That might be jotting bullets at the end of a work session to prepare where you left off or reviewing notes from the previous work session to catch up. Planning a warm up that is part of your work plunges you into your work.

 

Do you remember that it was harder to work in your dorm than the library?  Create your work space as a dedicated, organized spot to be accountable to your work. That is a streamlined space with few distractions, good light, an ergonomic chair and little else.  Get in the zone with quiet or headphones. Organize your space to get your work day started and declutter each evening.  These steps can be a warm up and a wind down for work.

 

External accountability with a team

If you are struggling with being accountable, a team approach helps. A colleague, assistant or virtual assistant is an asset in keeping you accountable for deadlines, next steps and moving forward with purpose. A mutally supportive, open minded and understanding discussion leads to success.  This can be a coaching conversation to start this connection. In your conversation you create agreements that honor the way you want to interact going forward. Similar values, work and life priorities, and understanding your strengths make for accountability.

 

Coaching conversations during these meetings take many forms. Curiousity and clarity help focus the solutions and drive the conversation forward.  Championing successes and diving into why that success happened creates a learning opportunity.  End these conversations with a realistic deadline and set the next meeting date.

 

If you want a body double, someone to work parallel to you, try using FocusMate.com.  This online tool matches you with a partner for each of you to work on your own projects simultaneously.

 

Accountability with data

Data and metrics drive our work. Set specific goals for your day, week and month to help your accoutability.  Power up those goals with written tracking, such as a chart, check list or graph.  Use your weekly planning time to prioritize and review next week. You will be excited to see all you have accomplished.  In this way, you are checking off more than tasks. You are gaining traction for your big picture goals. The key is finding the right partner to share values.

 

Wonder what this might look like for you? A simple excel sheet with tracking a project is useful.

Task Sub Task Primary

Responsibility

Additional Participants Description Time to Complete Deadline

Time blocking ensures accountability

Accountability and time blocking go together. Coordinating a time and a task help you be accountable to yourself and your work. It’s less stress because you know your assignment. You can fully engage in deep thinking because you have given yourself permission to work for the duration on one topic.  Be specific on what you are accomplishing during your time block and leave notes for yourself at the end of your time. Write in the next time you will be working on this content.

 

 

There are many ways to be more accountable including publicly sharing successes, posting on social media and using technology tools to track your work. Find what works for you to be sure you are doing your best work.

3 Organizing Skills for a More Productive Work Day

 

3 organizing skills for a more productive work day

 

Office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday.  Not because they aren’t smart, but because they were never taught organizing skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands according to the Wall Street Journal Report

Does your workday evaporate and suddenly it’s the end of the day? Do you think you lack skills to manage quickly multiplying projects? Does your day feel chaotic rather than organized? It all comes down to learning skills for prioritizing, organizing and planning to help you manage your work and your work load.

 

Prioritizing: learning the skill of knowing what to do

There are many good ideas for your work. Not every idea has equal benefit. Some times these ideas can be linear in implementation and some times these depend on preliminary successes. Start by gathering all these ideas together in a list.

This is strategic planning time where you create a big picture of what will move your business forward. This planning can be accomplished annually or monthly with an overview of goals for the year and specific actions assigned to a month. Without this planning, you may be working on tasks that keep you from bigger accomplishments and increased revenue. With this planning you are prepared for the weeks, months and quarters ahead that yield the results you want to see.

On your planner, schedule this time on a mid-month morning for a monthly overview. You can use a dashboard with data to drive your assessment of successes and next steps for planning. This dashboard can be consolidated data from customer information, income and expenses and marketing information. By assessing your successes, you are celebrating and setting plans for next steps.

Intuitively you may know the priorities and may be ready to list these. However, an additional professional tip is that you may need to talk through your priorities to set these.  Having a list may not be enough to help you strategize. Partner up with a trusted colleague or advisor to help you sort through and sequence your list.

 

Organizing: learning the skill of when to do

Drill down to the specific tactics to gain traction on your plan.  Week by week specific tasks will accomplish this.  Set aside weekly planning time to be prepared for the weeks, months and quarters ahead. That weekly planning time should occur at the same time every week. Use time blocking during your weekly planning time to schedule these tasks.

With the best plan, limiting distractions is key.  Set a time in your day to check email and update information received by text or other communication. These distractions take time and energy away from your actual work.  If you find yourself low in energy, drink water or take a short walk outside or around the office.  At times a “warm up” is needed to move into a work flow.  Add time at the end of a work session to leave yourself notes on where you ended to jump start your next session.

 

Organizing: learning the skill of how to access and categorize resources

This is the most frequent flaw for work.  With multiple projects, you want to have outstanding organizing to find what you need when you are ready to work. This organizing pertains to how to access and categorize your resources and materials to work.  You will have to organize your resources and documents digitally and on paper. Set up your resources by the name of the projects and the name of the client. Create digital files for the documents that parallel paper files. These can be on your device desktop digitally and should later move to document files. Paper files can be easily accessed in a file cart or a physical desk top sorter.

 

Planning: learning the skill of tracking

Next, keep this plan easy to see and accomplish. There are many ways to organize this information.  Digital planners and apps such as Asana and Trello help you schedule your work, consolidate the information and keep you accountable with reminders.  Paper planners such as Planner Pad, Bullet Journal or Blue Sky week at a glance planners offer you visual support for your plan.  Write in and record as much as you can to keep you on track on your work. A professional tip is to color code your projects.  Color coding is instant recognition of a project. Use post it notes in colors that coordinate with each project or dry erase colored markers on a white board to keep your work easy to see.

 

Planning: learning how to manage multiple priorities and work as a team

Workloads are increasing exponentially. How we do keep going with more and more to do?

  • Collaboration with colleagues for a team approach. Your skills may not match the work requirements.  A colleague could help you learn a new skill and become more efficient.
  • Communication with your colleagues with real data on time allocation. Share the time it takes to accomplish a task so that those you work with know this information.
  • Delegation with an assistant can help you do the most important work.  Carefully delegate with small tasks leading to bigger tasks. Provide check points for your collaboration to ensure you are both on the same page.
  • Further planning to ensure your priorities are on track.

The skills of prioritizing, planning and organizing will all help you be more productive each day. In addition, remember to prioritize self-care to maximize your efficiency, your effectiveness and your productivity. It is most important to get a good night’s rest every night. By combining your new skills and priorities you will reap the benefits.

 

 

 

4 Ways to Build Structure and Boost Productivity while Working From Home

 

 

Many of us have transitioned to working from home in the past year.  Working from home affords us benefits like flexibility throughout the day and easier commute. However some of these benefits make being productive more difficult for those with ADHD.  It’s easier to be distracted, schedules are less stable, and colleagues feel more isolated.   In order to be productive, those with ADHD need structure in their day and in their space.

Structure your schedule.

Having a structured day with certain times assigned to work boosts productivity.  Since your work day can expand beyond traditional hours while working from home, begin by limiting your workday. Set hours for you to begin and end work that align with your family. With ADHD you may feel the need to work longer hours because you have not accomplished tasks within traditional hours. Challenge yourself to work within these boundaries and use this time as if a timer were set.  By structuring your schedule you are also prioritizing the time for self-care. Adding self-care to your schedule, such as setting a nightly bedtime, is an added bonus for productivity.

 

Create structure in your work flow.

In an office environment outside your home, the routine of the day creates an external structure that keeps you on track. Create that structure with an beginning of the day, beginning of the work day, end of the work day and end of the day routine. Start the work day with the most important tasks first so you know you can get these done.  By creating routines, you will feel the flow of the day more naturally.

 

Delineate your home office space.

It’s easy to move from space to space in your home, while at work you have an assigned spot. Your home office should be one or multiple assigned places. When you have a structured space, you also have easy access to your resources. Your home remains organized because your resources are not scattered among several places.  Delineate your home office space to create structure for your work.

 

Create connection times throughout the day.

Isolation creeps in when working from home and that keeps you from being productive. There are many ways to connect while not in the office. Create connection times with a zoom coffee break. Begin meetings with time to connect with a two word check-in that describe how you feel before you get down to business. Parallel work with a partner while working on a project by setting a beginning and end work time.  There are many ways to stay connected virtually.

 

Creating structure for your day helps you be more productive as well as prioritize self-care. Take advantage of one of these strategies this week and learn the benefits.

 

How to Make Decision Making Easier

how to make decision making easier

 

We hear a lot about decision fatigue right now. That is how many decisions we make each day and how we are overwhelmed by these. Make decision making easier with these key concepts. There are many ways to make this simpler and more effective.

 

Opinions matter

Making a decision comes from a variety of perspectives and opinions.  Getting opinions from a few others helps you make a decision easier with their help and thoughts. Encourage feedback especially if it is not in line with your original thoughts. Make sure you don’t overload your options and keep to 3 opinions to expedite your decision.

 

Small chunks and small steps

Big overwhelming decisions can be broken down into small chunks and small steps.  Break down the process into manageable steps that you can tackle over time. As you move forward with each decision, the next decision becomes clearer and clearer. It’s not always necessary to have a decision completely finalized.

 

Prioritize

Prioritize the energy and time for a decision. A breakfast decision is not the same priority level as business decision. Place time and energy where you get the most return for the most importance of the decision.

 

Limit choices

Too many options?  Begin by limiting these choices. The essence of a decision is choices. We avoid decisions when there are many choices.  Limiting choices can include having a rule about how many choices to have as options.

 

Trust your intuition

How are you feeling? What is your gut telling you? What is intuitive? These are the essence of trusting your intuition. That intuition can be your whole reasoning. Intuition affirms the decisions are make.

 

Go with truth and kindness

“Sometimes decisions are hard, not because one choice isn’t clearly better, but because the hard choice is also the right one, says Scott Young. The truth is always the best decision.  When decisions are complicated, often it is because we are avoiding a core value.  Remember we don’t have to like the best decision for it to be the right decision.

 

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.