Seize the moment! Summer Organizing and Productivity

summer organizing and productivity

 

You have waited all year for this! It’s Summer and perhaps you have just a bit more time.  Your lighter load makes it possible to do what you have put on the back burner this year.  It’s time to seize the moment for summer organizing and productivity!

 

Now’s the time to organize!

Kids’s stuff

Kids’ rooms are overflowing with papers, games and more. It’s time to make a major overhaul of what has built up over the school year.  Start with a trash bag and fill it to the brim. Then go through the space thinking about what is not being used, what could be donated and what should be returned to someone else.  Your kids can be a part of this project. However if you want to work solo, put the items in a black garbage bag in a low traffic area and see what is requested before donating.

 

Reading pile

That pile of books. magazines and catalogs that have been flowing in are ready for review.  You may be waiting to take these out to the pool or on a trip with you. Review your pile, make decisions and let go of what is not going to be read this summer.  It’s also a bonus for when you return to have less paper.

 

Your Closet

It’s been an unusually cool spring here in Houston and throughout the country. It’s time to switch over your clothes and let go of winter items that were not worn. (This year we had one of our coldest winters.)  Turn your hangers around as you wear clothes to learn what is not being worn.  Let go of shoes that are uncomfortable or too disheveled.

 

Now is the time to be more productive!

 

Learn new tech

Have you been waiting to learn Quickbooks, view Google analytics, or use Trello? It’s time to add that to your action list for the summer. You will have more time to practice and learn. You will be ahead of the curve when fall comes and you have to use this tool efficiently.

 

Construct a new routine

Productivity often looks like a more automated approach. Routines are the way we automate our time, with either a sequence of small tasks or assigning a day of the week for a specific project. What ways can you create an improved or easy routine for tasks you dislike either at home or work?  By fall you will be solidly using this new routine.

 

Create solid self care

What does self care have to do with productivity? Everything! A great night’s rest leads to improved brain power.  Start an exercise plan this summer because an exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, clear thinking and more energetic. When you think of the benefits of self care, the return on investment is huge!

 

Seize the moment now to take advantage of the bits of available time, resources and energy.  Get started this week on your organizing and productivity projects!

How to take a Real Vacation

 

How to take a real vacation

Remember when summer vacation meant long breaks with little to do. It was a simpler time with no email and less paperwork.  At work and at home, we feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. It’s hard to prioritize a real vacation and even harder to make that happen. More than just getting organized to take your trip, here’s now to take a real vacation.

 

Why make sure you take your vacation

Knowing why to take your vacation is the push to do so because it has the most compelling reasons. There’s the benefit of creativity.  (Did you know Hamilton was written during a vacation?) Daily stress can take a physical toll and vacations give us the time to relax our body and our brains.  Taking a vacation is a complete reset.

 

How to time off from digital distractions

We all fear that avalanche of email when we return to work.  It’s what stalls our best attempts at relaxing.   However, you can set boundaries with this.  Checking email once a day, using your out of office response and coming back a day early to work on email are all ways to combat the need to check in.

  • Check email each evening to prevent hourly email check ins. You can add a line to your signature line or your out of office response to alert who to contact and response times.
  • To get the full benefit of time away, think about returning earlier. This can be earlier in the day or a day early.  Knowing you are setting aside time to get back into the groove can make a big difference during your vacation.
  • Take your time on social media seriously.  If you are checking in mindlessly, it’s time to put down your device and get back to enjoying your vacation and the people you are with.   We tend to gravitate to social media when there is a lull in action.  Spring back into vacation instead.

Add in your tech tools for fun

There’s a few tools to use that make vacationing more fun! There’s online tools you will love.

  • Device chargers to keep you up and running.
  • Great headphones to listen to your music or a movie.
  • Portable speaker to play your music
  • Apps for meditation, relaxation or promote sleeping
  • Apps for sightseeing

Be sure you don’t stray into dangerous email territory while having fun.

Get your planner out today to set a date for your vacation and take a real vacation this year.

Taking Care of Business

Taking care of business

 

When it gets down to it, we all want to take care of business. That means getting stuff done!  Whether it’s at home or at work, the day ends and we wonder what we did accomplish.  Here’s a few essential elements to taking care of business.

 

Taking care of paperwork

Paperwork comes in at a pace that overwhelms us. It’s essential to have a specific spot annd a specific time to work on because it’s just going to build up.  Take care of business by creating an unprocessed paper spot, where paper is placed each day.  Create a command center to triage your paper and spend 5 minutes a day doing your triage.  Set aside adminstrative time to work on those paper work details that need attention.

 

Taking care of multiple projects

There’s always many different hats we wear and many simultaneous projects occuring.  It’s keeping all the plates spinning that keep our lives and businesses thriving.  There’s several steps to be sure everything moves forward.  Start by alloting time on your calendar, whether it’s a day of the week or a time each day.   Theme days, as MIke Vardy talks about, gives you the opporunity to work solely on a certain project or part.  Giving yourself a specific time to work on a project gives you freedom to focus on it creatively and as a whole without distractions.

 

Taking automation and delegation to the next level

We can’t do it all and neither should we. You may have already automated your bill pay.  Can you automate purchasing with a click or add a new member of your team?  When we add automation and delegation, we add hours to our day, add new ideas and also spend time on what is most important.

 

Take time for the future

Whether you call it foresight or planning ahead, taking time to see where your business and industry are headed creates longevity for your work and at home.  There are many transitions  for businesses.  Change is every present.  Taking time for strategic planning keeps your business and your life moving forward.

 

Taking care of business also means taking care of you.  Self care is an essential for you and your business.  With exercise, vacation, sleep and nutrition, your taking care of your bigggest asset for your business, yourself!

 

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What to do with Meeting Agendas?

 

What to do with meeting agendas?

 

If you are like most, meetings are an necessary evil of work life and volunteering.  Each meeting you are either given a paper agenda or a link online.  A well run meeting requires an agenda. It’s about preparation and communication.  But what to do with meeting agendas after the meeting has finished?

 

Meeting agenda general plan

If you meet routinely, a meeting agenda helps you keep a structure for the goals of the group.  Your agenda is the place keeper of your accomplishments, your tasks and next steps.  Having a specific file, file drawer or notebook to keep your meeting agenda, labelled with the meeting name, is generally a good idea for the duration of the project.  Be sure you create a spot to easily drop the agenda in when you return from the meeting.

 

Meeting agenda notes

If you are like most of us, your meeting agenda has next action steps noted on it.  You want to consolidate these action steps on a general capture tool, such as a notebook, task list or digital list to be sure to do the next steps before the next meeting.  Adding the actions to your actionable spot makes sense so that the meeting agenda can be stored away and you can accomplish your tasks.

 

Meeting agenda when you are the meeting leader

There’s a time line to preparing a meeting agenda before the next meeting. You will want to recap what has been accomplished, lead your meeting onto the next steps and be sure your attendees are prepared at your next meeting.  Having a digital template to save as a new meeting agenda keeps you moving forward.  You will want to share this agenda at least 24 hours in advance of the next meeting.

 

What’s best practices for your template?  Here’s what I include: name of committee meeting, date of meeting, call in or other contact information, and who is attending the meeting.  The agenda can be a simple, prioritized list of what you want to accomplish.  Be sure to begin your meeting on time and end within an hour.  Efficient meetings are where best work is accomplished.

 

What about when your comittee concludes?

There’s a definitely happiness to ending a well run, successful project!  At that time, sort through, declutter and eliminate the agendas. You might keep one of the last agendas to finalize the project and move the file to an archive location.

 

You might be wondering, does this apply to conference materials as well?  Conference materials are becoming more digital, rather than paper based.  Generally it’s a best practice to pull the materials you will use to save in either paper files or electronically by topic.  I suggest keeping these materials for 2 years to see if you use the materials.  After this, it’s time to delete or recyle.

 

More ideas on paper management here!

4 Strategies to Increase Productivity

 

There are strategies that can help you increase productivity. These are handy acronyms and mantras that help you remember what to do to be more productive.  It’s remembering and applying these strategies that help you get more done.

 

WSD Write stuff down

The most productive person is the one who uses a calendar and a list.  It’s in capturing this information, writing stuff down, that we know what to do and what is the deadline. Capture tools can be analog or digital, in a notebook, in Evernote or on a dry erase board. Regardless of your tool, wrtie stuff down to be more productive.

Plan your work and work your plan

With your planner and list, set aside a weekly planning time to plan your work and work your plan.  When I say plan your work, that’s when you add times and actions to your calendar. It’s more than just meeting dates, it’s work periods.  Let’s say you have taxes to complete. You set up 9 – 10 am on Monday through Thursday to work on chunks of your taxes.  You work your plan by staying true to the plan you set up.   For every task or project you want to complete, you have set a time to do the work.  Even if you don’t know how long a task or project will take, you set an amount of time to work on it.

 

FOCUS Follow One Course Until Successful

There’s compelling research for single focus.  With focus, you work on only one task at a time. Your success depends on it.

 

MITs Most important tasks

There’s lots to do and never enough time to complete all your tasks. That’s why prioritizing is critical.  That’s where MITs come into play.  Set up your Most Important Tasks each day, week and month so that you prioritize deadlines and importance.  Working on an unimportant task can be productive procastination, however delays your success.

 

These four handy sayings will carry you forward with productivity. If you need a reset for productivity, start with a great night’s sleep, a 5 minute stretch and be ready to hydrate.  These essential basics will hold you in good stead!

 

More productivity tips here!

Too much to do

too much to do time management for the overwhelmed

 

We greet each other daily with how are you and the common response is busy. Too often we find ourselves too busy with too much to do.  At times we underestimate how much time a task will take, how many responsibilities we have and generally overwhelmed.  Here are some first steps to take to move from from too much to do.

 

Triage first

When we are overwhelmed, we are often paralyzed. This means that we accomplish nothing. Start first with deep breaths to physically respond with more oxygen.  Take a minute to get a drink of water or walk for a few minutes. Then start with triage.  Triage is sorting the most important and most urgent from the general.  If there’s a looming deadline, your taxes are due,  you have a speech tomorrow, you can tell immediately that these need attention.  What you don’t want to do is check out facebook, go through email to check off the easy responses, or sit staring into space.  Triage and make a list of what is most important. Keep your list to 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs)

 

Focus on one thing

It’s tempting to multi task to get more done. Research shows how ineffective this can be.  Clear everything off your desk and leave just the one task you are focusing on to work.  Be ruthless about the electronic distractions, like the computer, phone or device, and stay on target with your one task.  Keep on target and set a timer for when you are going to switch to your next task.

 

Take time to simplify

The real solution for simplifying your schedule is to prioritize and evaluation. There are many good reasons to participate in an activity, solutions to challenges and connections for us to make. Find the best reasons and the best connections for yourself.  It may be difficult to let go when you have already found something or someone new.  Set aside time for yourself to know what is most important, learn to say no, and let go.

 

Think about gratitude, being in the moment and self care

When you are overcommitted with too much to do, you feel stressed. Over the long haul this builds and builds.  You are resentful, unhappy, and tired.  Let your gratitude and self care be the prompt for letting go of too much to do.  As you think of the joy you feel when you are at home more, getting in bed early, taking care of your responsibilites without rushing. you will quicky see the bonus of saying no and letting go.  What you are you letting go of today and not have too much to do?

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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18 ADHD Routines for 2018

 

Adhd routines

Reliable routines are the structure that create easy, productive, organized lives.  The routines that support those with ADHD help them manage their time, be productive, stay organized and keeps life running smoothly.  Start with baby steps this year with these 18 ways to create routines in you and your ADHD family.

 

Routines for a cohesive family

ADHD families crave organization. That is space and time organization.

1. Host a family declutter time each week. Make letting go of stuff a priority by letting go of some items each week.

2. Family meetings are part communication, part coordination and  part fun. Everyone adds to the family calendar so everyone knows this week’s plan.  It’s time to acknowledge successes, talk about family values and have some fun too.

3. Spend time with each of your kids by yourself with just one kid.  Daddy -Daughter Dates, Girls Days, and Boy Bonding times are all times that are one on one special dates for your kids.

4. Keep a family calendar everyone can access. It can be google calendar or a paper month at a glance calendar. Update it daily and during your family meeting. Everyone appreciates knowing what’s coming up.

 

Routines that create a team

Working as a team is one of the best ways to support ADHD for yourself and your family.

  1. Know your strengths.  Look at what you and your family members do best. Find team members in your family and routinely acknowledge what they do best.
  2. Partner with family members to accomplish family responsibilities.  Write up a family chore chart to assign and remind family of who does what when. Be specific on your chart on deadlines and outcomes.  If it’s dishes, then “dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher by 9 pm.”  This way everyone knows how to complete the responsibility.
  3. Look for additional team members. Who can be a part of your extended team?  Can you add on a homework helper? Are there  church youth groups or a women’s support group that you and your family can be a part of? The additional energy of a new teams or team members can have positive benefits in terms of skill and perspectives.

Routines to ask for help

Asking for help means you are seeking out what you need. It’s an asset to be able to ask for help, knowing there are many ways to accomplish a task.  When you have run out of tools, it’s always good to ask for help.

1. Identify how you ask for help routinely. Do you find an answer online, ask a friend or refer to online resources like Houzz?  Knowing what your “go to” source for information builds a routine for you to use regularly.

2. Notice indicators that you are redy to ask for help.  You may feel worn down physically, feeling emotionally drained or have brain fog.  In knowing and acknowleding when you are ready for help, you are creating a routine and indicator for yourself.

3. When you are ready to ask for help, have a limit to define what lengths you will go to in order to find assistance. You can search endlessly for the help you need. My personal example is the number of inquries, that being 3 inquiries for a need I am having. I find 3 ways that I can get the help I need, interview and get started.

4. Find team members at work who you collaborate well with and. trust their judgement. Team work at work helps you start and finish a project and brings synergy and an improved end product.

 

Routines for delegating

Regular delegating requires practice.  It starts with knowing what baby steps you can delegate and then communicating with all parties.  The best delegating includes what you don’t like to do, since often it’s not being accomplished currently.

1. Delegate household tasks like lawn mowing and house cleaning starting with outside help once a month.  Just the once a month boost from these outside helpers gives you time to accomplish tasks only you can do.

2. If you don’t like to cook, delegate dinner to a routine with healthy options.  Dinner can be certain foods for certain days like Takeout Taco Tuesdays.  It can be prepared by assigning the protein to a grilling partner,  your husband.  Delegate the chopping by picking up salad at the salad bar in the grocery store.

3. Hire a laundry helper for certain days of the week.

4. Delegate at work by assigning a small part of a project to your assistant.  Have a check in every other day while you are practicing delegating.  The more you create trust and communication while delegating, the easier it gets.

 

Routines to maintain self care

Self care can be the first routine that lapses. We are not always good about taking care of ourselves because it may feel unnatural, it may be difficult to jusify or because it simply falls off our radar.

1. Keep the same bedtime night after night. Your sleep schedule and routine keep you going day after day with a great night’s rest.

2. Schedule in protected time for yourself. Parents need time together to nurture their relationship.  You need time away to rest your brain, gather your thoughts and generally regenerate.  This weekly routine can include quiet time in whatever form you prefer.

3.  Find fun. Creative brains need fun too!  It’s hard to get away from the idea you may not have accomplished all your tasks, however it’s important to get aside fun time for you, your family and your partner to spend time together.

 

Routines are hard to establish and even hard to be consistent once established.  Take the first steps by creating the routines, then setting up solid reminders that help you. Those reminders can be alarms, timers, check lists or any fun way you can keep your routines as consistent as possible.  A day or two may slip by on your routine, however jump back in as soon as you can.

 

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