How to Create More Work Life Integration

 

Work life integration

 

It’s often said no one wished they had worked more.  Living the life you imagine is about working smarter, playing harder and being with those who are most important.   As we assess just how to accomplish this, we seek solutions to creating more work life integration on a consistent basis.

 

Dig deep: prioritize what is a part of work and life

To start with, you have to cull priorities.  Everything just can’t be equally important. We can have times where priorities alternate, what I call “seasons”.  For each part of the year these priorities can change.  Most likely fall is about getting back to work and routines. Spring is about lightening up your work schedule. Summer is about having fun.  As we seek out priorities for our lives, keep these to your top 3.  That sounds small and insignificant, however it’s what can be accomplished.

 

Engage in weekly planning time

That endless list running in your head? It’s time to capture it and calendar it. Your list and your calendar are your best friends for truly engaging productively.  Meet with yourself on Sunday afternoon to Integrate all the work and life activities for the week.  It’s a well spent hour to assign realistically what you can accomplish.

Set boundaries into motion

Wow, it’s hard to set boundaries and keep them! These intentional boundaries include non-negotiable times that keep your work life in balance.  It’s getting to the gym routinely, setting times to gather with your family, and getting a good night’s rest regularly.

Here’s where interference plays a roll.  Set up boundaries for technology. That’s no tech in the bedroom, after 10 pm or at the dinner table. That rule applies to us all including parents.

 

Set aside time for fun

Fun is not going to happen accidentally in our busy lives.  Setting aside time for fun, game night with your kids, a Sunday bike ride, or knitting a scarf, are all what we can use weekly.  Laughing brings out some of our best qualities and feelings.

Repeat

Work life integration is far from a one and done activity. It’s a daily pursuit.  Give yourself the opportunity to feel good and do well at keeping important personal priorities aligned. It’s always a work in progress. That’s when you know that you are achieving work life integration.

2019 Word of the Year: Shift

word of the year

 

My Word of the Year has served me well!  Each year I choose a word that will guide me as I look at new opportunties, face challenges and focus my time and energy.   It’s become a tradition for my colleagues to share our Word of the Year.

 

Here’s what has been on my mind as the year begins.

Shift 

1. to (cause something or someone to) move or change from one position or direction to another, especially slightly

2. (of an idea, opinion, etc.) to change

 

The world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.

~ Ellen DeGeneres

Your best creative assets do not occur unless you do a mental shift. You have to be in a positive frame of mind because inspiration is fleeting. I walk to work for inspiration and to clear my mind.

~Ron Ben-Israel.

It’s been exciting to think of my word this year. It has been something I feel in the air and in the world.  I have learned that embracing a shift or change is what helps us thrive in all ways.  Shift is a word that shows a slight change and a slight new perspective.

 

I am looking at all the ways a shift will bring focus to my personal and professional life this year.  I am open to the next steps. I intend to shift my practice with more productivity.  This year I shift my leadership to NAPO Immediate Past President in May and focus on supporting our new President. I am shifting where I am volunteering  and what I am committed to and emphasize.

 

Knowing what not to shift is important too!  I am remaining constant in many ways as my core values as the same each and every year. I continue my practice with ADHD clients, learning more about ADHD and being a part of the ADHD community. It’s always family first for me!  And of course I continue prioritize my health with healthy eating, pilates and a great night’s rest.

 

What’s your word of the year? I am looking forward to you posting it here!

 

Previous Word of the Year

2018. Possibilities. What’s possible?

2017. Thrive.  Thrive in all ways.

2016. Momentum. Keep going.

2015. Fifteen years in professional organizing and productivity

2014. Flourish. Flourish in life.

2013.  Fabulous. Fit, fabulous and fun!

 

4 Ways to Celebrate Each Sunday

4 ways to celebrate Sunday

 

Sunday. Just the word brings to mind so many different ways to spend the day. There’s the spiritual side of Sunday, picnic in the park Sunday and get ready for the week Sunday.   Why not combine a bit of each type of day into your Sunday? Here’s 3 ways to celebrate each Sunday.

 

Spend time in spiritual thankfulness

The most rewarding lives are spent with gratitude.  Gratitude boosts the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and the hormone oxytocin, all associated with wellbeing and having a positive outlook on life. Your gratitude could be personal prayer, a gratitude journal or time spend in nature.  Positivity and well being are by products of recognizing our blessings and being thankful.

 

Spend time with renewal

Each of us thinks of renewal differently. Perhaps it is sitting alone, spending time with family and friends, being creative with a craft, or simply doing what we love just because.  Renewal brings us joy! It’s what gives us energy  and renews our core.  For me renewal is time to read the Sunday paper and magazines and linger over recipes.  What’s your source of renewal?

 

Spend time in self care

When’s the last time you gave yourself “permission” to sleep in, cook for yourself or exercise?  Sunday’s a day you can do all of these.  A busy week often precludes our best care. Don’t set the alarm on Sunday to sleep until you wake up naturally.  Gather some goodies and create a meal you love.  Take time to bike, walk or run in the outdoors.  Time spent in self care gives you clarity and perspective.

 

Spend time preparing

Plan ahead with a weekly planning time.  Your time might include a family meeting, reviewing your personal and business calendars, creating a meal plan for the week and preparing your attire. By being proactive, there are no surprises and your weekly is more productive.  Just an hour in preparing and you are ready to conquer your week.

 

 

Check out this Sunday weekly checklist!

 

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3 Ways to Get Dinner on the Table

 

 

3 steps to get dinner on the table

 

There’s nothing more exciting than getting home and smelling yummy dinner!  Whether you are the parents and kids, living with roommates, or living alone, getting dinner on the table makes a difference every day. It’s about self care and care for others.   Taking care of ourselves and our family, we nourish our bodies and our community with dinner together. How can we make getting dinner on the table easy? There’s lots of organizing steps to getting dinner ready.  There’s planning, shopping, preparing and clean up. Here’s some easy steps to short cut and dinner help is here.

 

Beginner’s guide to meal planning

Getting dinner on the table is no accident. It requires a plan.  A meal plan approach makes sure you have what you need, when you need it and with healthy options.  The plan starts with knowing how many meals you need to plan.  It also requires a balance of veggies, fruits, proteins and carbs.   The more colorful your plate, the healthier.  Having a plan means that you will have the ingredients on hand to prepare.

  • Start with just one of the food groups.  Start with proteins and work around this.  Pair the same protein with many different veggies or fruits.  When you start with only one food group it’s less overwhelming to create your dinner plan.
  • The family dinner list is a family friendly way to plan dinner. Your family shares with you 12 ideas that they will all eat for dinner. It can be super duper simple, like grilled cheese or baked potatoes, or taco bar. The idea is to have your family gather, share and then eat. Keep this list and the necessary ingredients handy when you shop.
  • The Family Dinner Project gets you started with the online dinner program, Food, Fun and Conversation: 4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners.   This guide helps you make family dinners a household staple in just four weeks. This free guide includes healthy recipes, dinner activities and loads of conversation starters.
  • Pantry staples and a freezer inventory make meal planning easier. What’s already here to use?
  • Short cut meal planning using a pre-set menus and prepped ingredients like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron or other meal kits. 

 

Ready, set, shop

Now it’s time to get the goods.  Create a list and shop by store. Make it digital so everyone who is out of the house can shop. Cozi, AnyList, and OurGroceries all have easy to use online lists that are accessible by you and your shopping buddy. Use online coupons from the stores you typically shop. A shopping trick that helps is to shop that same day every week. You can shop twice a week and always have milk. Belong to a  Automate non-perishable delivery with Amazon Subscription and your toilet paper arrives regularly.  Remember to:

  • Always bring a list.
  • Organize your list by aisle. The perimeter of the store is where essentials are purchased.
  • Stick to your list.

 

Quick and easy preparation

Can you make dinner in 15 minutes or less? Can you make a day of making dinner?  What’s your quick and easy hack to get dinner on the table?  Take help to get dinner on the table by partnering with your kids, partner, or those in the vicinity.  Use short cuts from the grocery store with prepped or frozen veggies.  Prep what you can one day a week and store in the plastic ware ready to use.  Just like other routines, getting dinner on the table requires thinking ahead.  Get your protein ready by defrosting the night before in the refrigerator.

  • Make a no- cook dinner that requires only assembly. Try cold foods, like sandwiches or salads for dinner.
  • Prep all the veggie on Sunday.
  • Early prep with a slow cooker for all day cooking.
  • Instapot cooking speeds up your dinner.
  • Prep and cook on a weekend.  Consolidating all the work of dinner makes for a quick evening dinner.
  • Have your partner cook the protein on one day. All you need is sides!

 

What’s your biggest take away from getting dinner on the table? Family dinner together! It’s the opportunity to review the day, learn what’s happening for each of you, and a time to connect. It’s time to cook dinner together and learn a new skill. It’s really not about the food. It’s about the time together!

 

More dinner ideas here! 

After the Flood Decluttering and Organizing

 

After the Flood decluttering and organizing

 

In the past few weeks we have seen decluttering and organizing in sad circumstances.  Families and businesses have suffered great losses due to flooding.  Families and businesses have reached out across the country to supply those in need with items they are letting go of.  The catastrophic circumstances have lead to an all time new attetion to decluttering and organizing.  In reflection, the response to life altering circumstances is letting go and decluttering.

 

Holding onto things

There have been lots of reasons in the past that we have been holding onto things.  There’s emotional attachment, unrealized value, and that “just in case” thinking.  When we see that our things have been ruined, we feel regret.  Several of my clients mentioned that although it was necessary to let go of items in their homes after the floods, it still was hard despite these being ruined. Despite, the blessings of help during the flood, it was still difficult to bag up clothes and home goods.  There’s an art to letting go.

 

Emergencies don’t give us time to process holding onto things and why. In a quick decision, regrets occur.  Let’s remember that grief is a part of holding onto things and that grief can resurface later despite the most awful of circumstances.  It takes time for perspectives to shift in holding onto things.

 

Letting go of things

“When natural disasters of this magnitude strike, they bring out the best impulses in many of us. We feel empathy for the victims and an urge to reach out and help them in any way we can, ” according to Psychology Today.  We want to help by giving.  Most encouraging has been the financial donations for those in need.  There are many local and national agencies to give donations for these emergencies.

 

It’s also a reminder to ourselves that disaster can happen to anyone and anywhere.  When we see that our friends, neighbors and families have suffered through the loss, we know that we could be experiencing the same.  It’s a prompting to us to use this new awareness in a positive light and let go of our own things too.

 

Difficult times take time to process. Whether you experienced flooding as either a helper or a victim, take time to tell your story, share your experience and reflect on the new perspectives after the flood.

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.

Intentional, organized living

intentional living is key to all of us

 

 

“Intentionality is the linchpin to living well.” – St Francis de Sales

 

When I work with clients, it’s their intentions that we set as goals.  We are finding ways to make the future what they intend. The future that my clients hope for is uncluttered, productive and intentional. They want to live the life they imagined, free from clutter and distraction.  How do you turn that intention into your lifestyle?

Compelling reasons to act

There’s lots of good reasons, but do you have a compelling reason?  Intentional living requires the most compelling of reasons. It’s the reason to postpone a reward now, for your future self.  Adults and kids struggle with this.  (Have you heard of the Marshmellow experiment?)  Your personal compelling reason, the reason that stops  you from purchasing more, helps you let go of more and keeps your goal front and center is key.  People who believe their actions affect their destiny have a higher motivation.

 

Moving into action

To create the life they imagined, it’s moving from intention into action.  The decisions and choices my clients face are what we all often struggle with. Its different questions.  What do I do now to have the greatest impact on the future?  As you step back and take in the big picture of your intention to live well, what do you see and what would you like that to look like? What is a baby step you can take to move in the direction of your intention?  Choose one of these, or your own question, to help you get started.

 

When intentional living gets the most difficult

True integrity is doing the things that are harder in the moment. How do you stay on track?  Prevention with self care is the first step.  Self care includes eating healthy, getting good rest and exercising.  These self care steps build us up.   It’s easier to stay on target when you have gotten a good night’s rest.

 

Keep your intentional living upper most with small reminders each day.  To keep mindful, a mantra or saying, a medallion or disk you can hold, or a post it note can keep you on track with your intentions.

Spring Forward

Spring forward spring organizing

 

Each morning I am noticing the sun rising earlier, indicating it’s almost time for us to Spring Forward with a time change. While not something easy to embrace, the extra sunshine at the end of the day is a bonus.   What ways can we use that daylight hour to Spring Forward take better care of ourselves as well?  Here’s a few ideas I have.

Sunny, happy times

Research shows the value of sunshine on our emotional well being. Longer days mean more sunshine.  Sunlight cues seratonin, boosting your mood, helping you be calm and helping you stay focused.  Getting 15 minutes of sunshine boosts Vitamin D which helps bone health.

 

Time for exercise

Studies show that walking 10,000 steps in a day helps us keep active both physically and mentally.  With busy days that start early, the sunny evening time is great for a walk. Walking with your partner and kids is a bonus time for communication and sharing what’s happened that day.

 

Time for dinner

Longer daylight hours give us extra time to prepare dinner. Sitting down to dinner during daylight energizes you and your family.  The Family Dinner project shares ways to include easy meals to help you get dinner on the table.

 

Routines that make the most of extra daylight

  • End your day with meditation with the Headspace app.
  • Create a checklist for routines with dinner, including family members cooking and cleaning together.
  • Plan time for exercise with a family walk or bike ride.
  • Create a good sleep routine by stopping technology an hour before bedtime, keeping your bedtime the same, and keeping clutter out of your bedroom.
  • Spend 15 minutes with spring organizing at the end of your day.  Daylight will keep you energized.

 

By embracing this change, like all other changes, you will find more order and productivity in your day.

 

 

 

How to use the 80/20 rule at home and work

80/20 rule

 

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  It’s also known as the Pareto principle.  The concept is that  roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s seen as a short cut to being more focused, more organized and more productive. Here’s some statistics that show the 80/20 rule.

  • At home, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.
  • At work, 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers
  • When you volunteer, 20% of the volunteers do 80% of the effort.
  • What’s the benefit you can find in the Pareto Principle?

Pare down 80% of your clothes.

Our closets are jammed and we have nothing to wear.  It’s time to  use the hanger trick where you turn your hangers around of the clothes you wear. It’s a study in what you truly wear.  Once you see this, you are ready to let go of your unworn clothes.

Spend 80% of your time on the most important 20%.

Prioritize the most important projects for work and home. It might seem like everything is equally important, however it’s not possible.  Drill down what’s your most important and schedule work for this at your high energy times.  Scheduling your work both at home and at your job ensures success.

 

File and scan documents using the 80/20.

Have you created files and never went back to these?  Where can you find the information, when you need it, most easily?  Know what to keep and keep what you need.  You might be keeping 80% more than you need so pare down ruthlessly.

 

Rethink 80% of your activities and find the 20% you are committed to

We are busy! We find ourselves in many different groups, joining more than one Bunco group or book club.  We are taking our kids to many activities.  It’s time to rethink 80% of your activities.  You will find that you are less stressed. You will enjoy your activities more because you have fewer.

 

You will find that the 80/20 rule will be one of your most referenced math equations once you see how it applies to your life.

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Live the Life You Imagined

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.

 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

 

This quote by Henry David Thoreau may be the start of something amazing for you!  Have you thought of how your stuff may be holding you back?  Have you thought about how with less you can start a project of your dreams? Could you be a more mindful and present person? Perhaps you may have a dream to pursue and letting go of you stuff can help you live the life you imagined.

 

How much do we need to live a life we have imagined?

A corporate person moves to a new city to start her dream job.  In her move, she decided her dream jobs might not be long term and more in a sequence, so she may have to move frequently as she climbs the corporate ladder.  Because of this, it’s important for her to have less to take from city to city.  She lets go of her possessions to be more nimble.  Her work takes most of her waking hours so she will not be home to enjoy her space.  As she envisions where her new assignments might take her, she wants to be less burdened by stuff to carry along with her.

 

A client marries and blends her belongings with her new partner. She lived a single life for quite a while and  has been filling her closet with shoes and clothes.  Letting go of her stuff makes the transition smoother.  It is not about her stuff vs. his stuff.  It is about living a life together in a small space but with great love and respect.  Their lives will be about their connection, not their stuff.

 

A friend begins a mission trip that she has imagined for many years. She begins her preparations to move 6 months before her trip began.  She whittles away  at her furniture, clothing, books and papers. She moves most of her information to online resources.  In the end, she  has 3 larges suitcases for her 2 year stay.  She begins to live the life she imagined by her bravery and commitment.

 

It’s hard to imagine how important and compelling these journeys  are.  These dreams require letting go.  It’s deep and meaningful commitments to what you can imagine.

 

How do we start?

Your dreams are waiting for you.  Start with your dream and the simplest first step.  It’s possible to achieve your dream with a plan.  Start with letting go of what’s easy and move to what’s more difficult.  In paring down not only do we decide what’s essential, we also find what’s most vital.  We can find out what’s the one most important thing for us to use or take with us on our journey.  I would love to hear more from you on your journey to live the life you imagined.

 

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