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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2018 Word of the Year: Possibilities

Possibilities

 

Each year I choose a word as my reference for what my intentions are.  Other’s choose SMART goals or consistent habits.  It’s a guide that has been my stead for some time.  The guide word, also known as your one word or your word of the year, is catching on as a way to create change in your life.

 

This year my word is possibilities 

I am inspired by my clients who think about possibiltities.  What is possible this year? What can be a possibility that I should think about as I work or play?  What would be the options if there were fewer or no limits?

 

I chose my word possibilities as I thought of entering a new decade.  (Yes, this year my age ends in a 0.)  As a professional organizer and productivity consultant, I am a believer in limits, guides, structure and all that is established and set. This limit setting is intrinsic to every fiber in me. It’s who I am.   It came to mind that perhaps I have this year an opportunity to take ideas further by opening myself to possibilities.

 

What’s your new year beginnings?

I’d love to know your new year goals, new habits or word of the year!

How Does Being Organized Benefit Your Productivity?

organizing and productivity

 

Over the years, the start of the new year has signaled goal setting, self-improvement and change.  One of the top New Year’s goals has been getting organized.  Since 2003, NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, has celebrated Get Organized month. This year NAPO is adding “Be Productive” to our theme as well.  There’s a link between organizing and productivity. Being organized benefits you and leads to greater productivity.

Link between organizing and productivity

NAPO clients know the value of being organized. Organization relieves stress, saves you money, and gives you time. Having more time, working at your highest level and being more efficient are linked to increased productivity. Statistics show the connection between organization and productivity.  According to Forbes, the typical executive today wastes almost one month a year searching for lost information.  According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced articles.  There’s a long list of  organizing habits related to productivity, including clearing your desk and making a work plan.  Not surprisingly, being organized helps everyone accomplish more.

 

Connecting organizing and productivity

My clients crave organization and productivity!  In our first session together, clients ask, “how do I get more done?” Conscious of this, my clients’ goals in getting organized are specifically to be more productive.  With an organized, decluttered desk top, my clients work at an efficient desk where they operate without distractions.  When a client’s electronic documents are organized, they work without losing time searching their computer. At home when there are specific spots for keys and an organized closet, my client gets out of the house quickly. When we work to create family calendars, routines and responsibilities, families happily gather together for dinner at home in the evening. Living an organized life, my clients see themselves as more productive and happier. Being organized enables you to accomplish more. In my clients quest for organization, they strive to be productive with important tasks for their work and their families.

 

This new year, begin with taking baby steps to accomplish your productivity goals.  Focus on one area at a time to organize to create a more productive lifestyle or work space.  With laser focus on that one new habit, using your strengths, it will be the start of your most productive year ever!

 

Change what you imagine, change your reality

Change what you imagine, change your reality

 

 

“Our entire experience on this planet is determined by how we chooses to perceive our reality” – Jen Sincero, author of You are a Badass

 

Change what you imagine, change your reality.

 

Have you written a “story” about your productivity? Does your story sound like this?

I never….

I should….

I can’t….

Are you feeling paralyzed, unproductive, and stuck? The stories we tell ourselves are what we hear from past experiences or other’s neagativity.  Are you ready for a new story?

 

Writing your new story

I am a believer in new perspectives and alternative endings.

 

The adage, glass half full, comes to mind.  It’s how we perceive our reality that helps us rewrite our story.  The glass half full starts with gratitude.  Be grateful for the tiniest of things.  Rewrite your story first by thinking about gratitude.

 

Essential to your new story is support.  Support that helps you find your new perspective with clarity.  Surround yourself with people who think like  you do.  These are the people who understand that new stories come from learning, bigger picture thinking, and whole hearted bravery.

 

There’s learning here.  Where did you get stuck?  Dig deep then. What’s behind being stuck? It comes from many different perspectives, including perfectionism, fear and negativity. Lock into the perspective that held you back. Identifying obstacles clears your path.

 

Use your strengths. Think about how you process information and record what you have completed? By assessing, you are building in a knowledge base for yourself.

 

Here’s your new story

Here are new perspectives giving you hope. Be tenacious and move forward inch by inch. Surround yourself with support of a team who believe in you and your work.  It isn’t easy, and learning comes along the way.  You will accomplish your work.  You wrote your new story.

 

I’m here to partner, support and help you write your new story!  Let me know when you are ready to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

Sharpen Your Saw Productivity

sharpen the saw aka be more productive

 

Have you heard the Abraham Lincoln’s tale of the woodcutter and his axe?  It’s the story of how important keeping your skills, tools, and technology current. It’s a good reminder for us all that to do our best work and be productive, we need to keep ourselves sharp.  What’s best to keep sharp?

Organize your desk top and minimize clutter

The slide into a cluttered space happens every day as we work.  Paper piles up on our desk.  An uncluttered space helps you stay on track and manage your time effectively. When you are organized, you can find what you need quickly and save time.  You are undistracted and more focused on your work.  Solutions to create a more organized space include having only specific items out on your desk that you use daily, minimizing desk top clutter. You can set up a file drawer that contains “drop slots” for big picture weekly priority actions such as finances, clients, and vendors at work or bills, family and receipts for home. It’s most important to use a planner that capture your goals, projects, and tasks written in yearly, quarterly, weekly and daily. Set up a little time daily, just 15 minutes, to keep your desk clear and ready to use.

 

Learn new technology

Technology changes all the time. There are new tools to use and our time tested tools upgrade. It takes time to learn new technology and it can be a struggle for some of us. There’s value in researching new technology that can improve your efficiency and effectiveness. Look for tech gurus who help you learn what  you need and how to use it. It’s best to learn the tool before you need it in order to save time at a crucial project point.

 

Jump start your routines

Routines are smooth running processes that help us be productive.  When put in place, all the nitty gritty gets completed.  Each week, host your own one hour productivity meeting. It’s you, your calendar, your lists, and a beverage.  During your one hour productivity meeting, you review your lists, review your goals, assign tasks, break down projects into manageable tasks, and calendar all your activities.  In one well timed hour you are in control of your plans.  What about distractions and other interruptions? Leave time in your plan for these with some flexibility. Overscheduling can lead to discouraging results.  Each day, write down your 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs). First off, know what is most important with ongoing effort, not just an approaching deadline. Stretch out your efforts over several days to achieve results you are proud to own.  As you practice with MITs and your productivity meeting, your weeks will run more smoothly.

 

Faithfully check, add to and review your planner

Everyone needs a planner.  You wrote it all down in your planner or on your digital calendar, and then what happened? It’s not magic to think you will remember it all.  Set your planner so you can see it daily and add audio reminders if needed. Your productivity road map is only as good as your use of it.  Take a minute when you think of a task or project to record it right away.

 

BONUS: Sharpening your saw depends on your self care

How we approach our efforts depends in part on how we take care of ourselves. The best first step to sharpening your saw is a night’s rest, nutrition and exercise. Your brain requires sleep, protein and exercise.  Insuring that you are getting sleep, eating properly and taking a walk are the best ways to be sure you are using all your tools, tips and tricks.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that healthy adults get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, with an overall range of between seven to eight hours. Protein is a main factor for your brain. Exercise increases productivity too.   If you can start with just one of these, start with getting 7 hours of sleep a night.  Your brain and body will be refreshed and ready to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Walk Every Morning

why walk every morning

 

As an organizer coach, I write about routines, self care and productivity. As one who “walks the walk,”  each morning I literally walk.  I get up at the same time (another routine like walking) to make time to start each day with a walk.  My morning is a productive and organized start to my day.

 

Morning is a glorious time of day.

The birds are singing and the sky is blue. I am grateful for the smell of wet grass.  Being a morning person, this is when I do my best thinking about life, work, family and health.  Taking a morning walk is the best start to my day.  All the sights, sounds and smells remind me of all I am grateful for each day.  My morning walk brings a smile to my face and starts the day off with jubilantly.

 

Setting my priorities

My health is a priority. I want to live a strong, healthy life. I have walked my neighborhood for nearly 30 years.  With the emphasis on walking 10,000 steps a day, I typically get in 5,000 steps in the morning.  It’s an easy way to boost my energy and strength. Not surprising, walking is a brain boost too. Research shows, “One year of walking increased functional connectivity between aspects of the frontal, posterior, and temporal cortices,” thereby reducing brain dysfunction in aging.  Walking enhances brain health.

 

Finding support

I walk alone or with a friend.  I appreciate my time alone to reflect, find new perspectives and gather my thoughts. I reflect on many different goals, like connections with other, my work and When I walk with a friend, I assess, set new goals, and laugh at life. Sometimes I call a friend or catch up with a mastermind partner where we together help each other. You can reach your goal with support, whether the support is a team effort, a teacher, or a friend.

 

What is your morning like? Is it a chaotic rush to get out of the house? A crabby, frustrated start to the day? Here’s how to make your start to the day what you want it to be.

  • Decide what makes your day “work.”  That means, what gets you started and what gets  you ready for a positive and productive day.  Spiritual reading, practicing meditation, and doing yoga are all ideas that I frequently hear from friends and clients as how they WISH they started their days.  Make a commitment to yourself to start your day in the best possible way.
  • Set your bedtime and adhere to it.  Too often the best morning is derailed  by a late bedtime.  Get in bed at a time that gives you ample rest to be ready to start your day refreshed.
  • Commit to keeping a morning schedule that works for you.
  • Set your goal and work out the steps and the process to make your goal happen.
  • A productive and organized start to my day leads to a productive and organized day.

 

I look forward to my morning walk and feel like something is missing if my day starts without a walk. I know you will find that one thing that makes for your best start of your day too! You will find that a productive and organized start to your day makes a difference.

One ADHD Family, Five Planners

 

1 adhd family 5 planners

Back to school means back to planners.  Planners are what keep families and individuals sane during the school year. It’s where we keep dates, deadlines, meetings and ideas. With ADHD, having a great planner is a must.  When I work with families, one of my first ways to make a difference is to recommend a planner.  In one family I work with, all the members know the value and are excited about using their planners.  Here’s the story of one ADHD family, five planners.

 

Mom’s traditional planner

Mom uses a traditional, month at a glance calendar.  She is working 2 part time out of the home jobs and her “family manager” mom job.  Mom loves to quilt and is a member of a quilt guild too.  Her calendar keeps her on track with where she should be on what day.  Mom like the month at a glance view to keep from being overwhelmed.

 

Big sister’s creative calendar

Big sister is starting an advanced degree. Her schedule includes a part time job and part time school.  Big sister’s calendar is customized for her routines, like cleaning her apartment, and self care, like hydration.  Big sister has a combination, daily, weekly and monthly calendar system bound together in a spiral.  She loves that all her priorities are in one place.

 

Little sister’s  Agendio planner

Little sister is starting her final college years, works a busy part time job and attends college full time.  She found a daily planner overwhelming and uses a template in Agendio to create a weekly/monthly planner.  She keeps her syllabus in her planner, as we as uses time blocking to keep up with her schedule.

 

Little brother Academic Planner

Little brother is beginning college.  While not a big fan of planners, Little sister has highy recommended this as a crticial element for colleg success.  Little brother uses order out of chaos academic planner because it’s big blocks to enter information.

 

Dad and his digital planner

Dad keeps all his information digitally.  He views it at wor on Outlook and checks his phone at home.

 

The big take away from this family is:  Use a planner that works for you and be productive!

Productivity Quotes I Love

 

 

 

Choosing Priorities and Most Important Tasks

Choosing Priorities 3 Most Important Tasks

 

Every day is busy and each project, task and appointment seem equally important to complete.  When we get too busy, it’s hard to prioritize.  As a result, it’s harder to make sure we are focused on our priorities. Does it seem like a vicious cycle?  I am here to help with a simple idea and a download to help you each day set priorities and keep up with your goals.

 

 

The problem: are you focusing on the priorities?

We get a lot done! But are you getting the right things done?  Some tasks take care of themselves and some need focus. It seems the tasks that are easy to us get done.  However, the tasks with extra steps, those that take longer or there is an element of fear, these don’t get attention.  These tasks can be laundry, meal preparation, a report for work or taxes. We may never be without underwear, but we might have that nagging feeling there is something we are missing.

 

The solution: Your 3 Most Important Tasks

As Zen Habits notes, put purpose in your day with your 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs).  The idea is that the 3 tasks must get done today, no matter.  If additional tasks are accomplished, that’s a productivity bonus.  Your most important tasks are individual to you and your goals.  “What are the three most important things that I could do today that will help move me closer to my goals?”  The goals could be about relationships, spirituality, productivity, work, or exercise.  A task is one small step of advancing to your goal.

 

Start your 3MITs here.

Let’s move into action with your 3 MITs.  This download is a way to set your MITs, remind you of your goals, and set a time to accomplish your MITs.  Set a time each day, at the end or beginning of your day, to write these down.  Think about your day and when is the best time for your work on each task.

 

ChoosingPrioritiesDownload

 

Most people find that the end of the day is the best time to work on the MITs.  When you start your day it’s already focused.  If you write your MITs in the morning, get an early start so you can not only write but start your day on time.  Creating this system for MITs helps you knock out your tasks early in the day too.

Your MITs will help you get the most important tasks done more consistently.  That’s the whole idea behind productivity!

 

 

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