Get Organized with Contacts, Email and Snail Mail Addresses

organize your contacts, information and addresses

 

No one remembers your 7 – 10 digit phone number or your Venmo account name. Happily this is all automated for us now.  Your contact list is a combination of your closest connections and lots of possible vendors and business people. Keeping your list up to date makes it easier to work together and also saves you time trying to find information. Here’s how to organize this area to make it easy and seamless for you.

 

Consolidate

You want your information in one place. Currently it could be in many different locations such as icloud, gmail, or any other email system. This might be the hardest part of this project. Where do you want to keep your contacts? If you have used Outlook, it’s often the easiest place to keep this information.  Google and gmail are a good choice if you use gmail as your native email account. Google syncs with all phones and transfers easily.

 

Name

Consistent naming helps you remember who and what to look up in your phone. You might be storing contacts for a new roof or doctor. Or you could have met a contact at a recent event and want to connect later. Having a consistent practice for entering information into your contacts helps!  Decide if you want to enter Name, Business (business name and what that business does).  That would be Ellen Delap, Professional-Organizer.com, paper organizing. Keeping consistent also helps you keep the clutter in your contacts to a minimum.

 

Edit

Editing is a tedious job, so it’s a task we can do while sitting in a carpool line, waiting on a prescription or when we are low energy. Look through contacts and delete those that are not used or you can’t remember when you last contacted that person.

 

Update

When it comes to updating, it is best to take a minute and update as soon as you see new information. It’s easier to do this right away because your contacts are always current.

 

Backlog

Before you add new contacts from business cards or other scraps of paper, be sure you review first. Adding names and businesses just in case will not help you.

 

Power up

According to SalesForce, “Contact management is the process of recording contacts’ details and tracking their interactions with a business. Such systems have gradually evolved into an aspect of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which allow businesses to improve sales and service levels leveraging a wider range of data.”  If you are overwhelmed with contacts in your small business, it’s time to power up to a CRM to help you with contacts and leverage this information.

2022 Word of the Year: Strategic

 

word of the year strategic

 

For many year’s now, I have chosen a word of the year as a guide for my intentions and purpose. A word of the year keeps me grounded and committed to a big thought for the year.

 

Why a word instead of a goal

I am a big fan of SMART goals and tracking data. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. You can accomplish your goals with milestones, accountability with tracking, and time lines to prioritize what to do and when to do it. According to Essentialism’s Greg, Mckeown, if you empower your goals by connecting to your core beliefs, its more likely you will be successful. Tie your “why” to your goals to ensure success.

 

I chose a different route over the last few years. As my friend Janice Simon says, the word of the year sets an intention rather than a goal. That intention guides you to stay true to your values and focus decision making. Our word of the year influences our mindset at home and at work, keeping us on track. It is a holistic way to shape the year.

 

How to choose a word of the year

Take time to reflect on what you want more of or less of in your life this year. Some years it is more about my professional rather than personal needs. I typically begin thinking in December of my word and wrap up in early January. Give yourself time to choose your word.

  • Pay attention to what you are paying attention to, says Adam Grant and John Green. What have you been saying to yourself that you need to do more or less of? Where have you been spending time or need to spend time?
  • According to Inc writer Minda Zetlin, ask yourself these questions: What do I need, not want, but need? What’s in my way? What has to go? What needs to be done in me and through me
  • Narrow your list of possibilities that have meaning to you. I usually narrow down to 2 or 3 words, then to my one word.

Once chosen, place your word where you can see it regularly to reflect on it and use it. That might be in your planner, on your bathroom mirror or your computer desktop. Use it in your weekly planning as you review your tasks and week ahead.

 

For 2022, I chose the word strategic. Strategic is defined as carefully designed or planned to serve a particular purpose or advantage and of great importance within an integrated whole or to a planned effect. This year I want to view my personal and professional life with an advantageous overview.

 

Previous Word of the Year

2021. Niche. Moving specifically to a tighter focus.

2020. Expand. Expand my horizons.

2019. Shift. A slight shift in direction can bring more opportunities.

2018. Possibilities. What’s possible?

2017. Thrive. Thrive in all ways.

2016. Momentum. Keep going.

2015. Fifteen. Fifteen years in professional organizing and productivity

2014. Flourish. Flourish in life.

2013. Fabulous. Fit, fabulous and fun!

 

What is your word of the year?  I look forward to hearing from you!

Starting the Year with Self Care

Start the year with time for self care

No matter how busy you are, time for self care is an important priority.  It is easy to overlook and requires scheduling and routines. Make this intentional care taking that ensures you are at your best.

 

There are five types of self care to consider. Keep in mind your physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual care. We must take care of our bodies to stay well. Keeping connected is important to our well being. Being mentally sharp and our mental perspective influence our psychological well-being. Nurturing our spirit through spirituality keeps us connected to purpose and meaning. Maintaining and cultivating coping skills  to deal with the many emotions we experience are part of our emotional self care. Think about these many types and where you fit on the continuum of each. Assess your needs and determine small steps to move forward in one of these areas.

 

Self care tips for those with ADHD

  • Start with a great night’s rest. Neurodiverse brains work best with adequate rest. Don’t compromise your well being for an hour of television, games or TikTok.
  • Food is fuel. Protein is important for energy and productivity. Include protein in every meal.
  • Partner with a buddy for exercise. That includes a class, a walk or youtube.
  • Intentionally set a daily time for self care. You may feel too busy to do this, however this is what keeps you productive and your best self.
  • Write a list of what self care is to you and post it where you can see it. You are reinforcing this intention.

Get started with these easy self care routines for those with ADHD.

  • Automate your meal prep by tapping into meal kits like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron or HEB Meal Simple. Order on the same day each week and prep on Sunday.
  • Keep a list with a variety of ways to exercise each week. Exercise is more interesting with variety.
  • Find activities to stimulate your interest and your brain including crossword puzzles, Sudoku or puzzles.
  • Create connection by sending texts or written notes to friends. Small gestures are important touch points.
  • Find a coach or counselor to help you process emotions and experiences.

 

With these self care tips, determine which areas of your life need more or less of something. As we experience uncertainty and go through life changes. these needs change too.

 

Have a Holly Jolly Holiday (With Holiday Self Care)

 

 

 

have a holly jolly holiday with self care

 

The holiday season is filled to the brim with activities and time together.  There’s lots of excitement, not to mention lots of organizing and things to do. Your planning often is about taking care of others and insuring everyone’s happiness. This year we need to practice packing some extra self care with our holiday bags. Check out these ideas to add self care to your holiday planning.

 

Schedule time for self care

It is easy to think, with so much extra to do, when do I have time for self care? Self care is more important during busy times because it is the fuel that keeps you going.  Create self care routines at the same time daily. These priorities can be at the beginning of the day to give you a strong start to each day or at the end of the day to ensure your rest.

 

Keep your gratitude practice going strong

Appreciating the blessings in your life remind us of all that is good and positive.  Whether it is writing a text to a friend, writing in your journal or a note to yourself, keep your practice intact during the holiday season.

 

Acknowledge emotions

During the holidays we experience a range of emotions.  Whether happy, sad, overwhelmed or frenzied, it is good to  name emotions. We can acknowledge what we are experiencing and process this. Give yourself time to pause. Check in with your feelings, acknowledge and sort through the reasons behind these. Manage your expectations and keep these in line with what you can physically and emotionally manage.

 

Keep a list of self care options

When we start down a negative path, we want to have options to make a change. Make your own list of relaxation activities. This can include taking a walk to see holiday lights, sitting down with a hot cup of cocoa, putting on fuzzy slippers for the rest of the day, or any number of soothing activities.

 

Well being first

We all know that our physical wellbeing is critical.  Be sure you keep your health routines like sleep and diet as much as you can. While there are times for a late night and special treats, keeping to your regular bedtime and meals with protein give you the energy and emotional stability you need.

 

It will be a holly jolly holiday in all ways when you take time for your self care.

 

 

 

Hybrid Work Productivity Strategies for ADHD

hybrid work strategies for adhd

 

The only things we can count on right now is change at home and at work. That is the current situation with working from home and working at the office.  There is an evolving hybrid work plan in most companies with days at home and days in the office.  As the uncertainty continues, start planning now for your organizing and productivity in  hybrid work spaces.

 

Tools of the trade

Start with trusted tools for your work, at home, office or hybrid. Your access to these tools ensures your success regardless of the location. Good organization makes it easy to transition between work spaces.

  • Pick a planner that works for you. You may choose digital as the way to go with planners and documents.  Thanks to Microsoft we can access Outlook in the cloud and on multiple devices. It’s easy to access online wherever you are and have alerts pop up on your devices as reminders. With Google and gmail, there is a suite of options available to assist you with planning your time and managing your resources.  If a paper planner is what is best for you, the Planner Pad gives you options for yearly, monthly, and weekly scheduling. There is space for notes and strategies for list making. You can add a TUL notebook for extra notes.
  • Create multiple sets of organizing supplies needed for work. That includes cords, chargers, pencils or any other supply you use frequently. Having these in both work spaces eliminates frustration and helps you get started on your work. A well established set up helps you get started on work.  If you need an additional set in your car that can help too!
  • Choose a work bag with compartments. One compartment is dedicated to your device, another to supplies, another to cords and chargers. Keep it compact and easy to carry. Use your setting up time as a an initiation strategy for work. Be sure to pack you bag each night in preparation for your transition to the office.

Managing projects

If you have lists of lists, it is time to think about a project management tool. Whatever the tool, it has to be easy to capture and categorize tasks. There are strategies like Getting Things Done with categorized lists or Kanban with To Do, Doing and Done. Asana, Trello and Click Up are digital tools to create and categorize tasks.  Whichever tool you choose, your frequency of use and agility with the tool make the difference.

 

 

Managing time and energy

The more you use your planner, the more productive you will be. It is your guide for work. Add every event consistently and use your Weekly Planning Time effectively.  Use your weekly planning time to assess in what space you will be most productive given the work that week. The variety of spaces can be a bonus in productivity. Add a 30 minute recap time each evening to be sure you have added dates and information that came via email, text and other communication.

It seems like the amount of time we have and the speed at which things are happening are changing. This change feels unsettling. Have you notice how everything, from school drop off to meeting times, take longer?  Take this information and add extra time for this and transition time into your schedule.  Be sure you have accounted for the extra steps that we don’t remember like parking your car and walking to the office.

 

Managing communications

There is a greater need for empathy as hybrid work unfolds. Everyone is “going through something” right now and that empathy will help support you and those around you. Take extra steps to share how things are today, since every day is very different right now. Expect that some days you are going to need Plan B and C to feel productive.

Your home and office teams are going to need more support with general communication. Now is the time that family meetings are especially valuable. As things change so do responsibilities at home. Be sure your home team works well together by creating partnerships. Take extra steps to communicate goals and deadlines with easy to use visual tools such as charts. Be sure to include deliverables, responsible parties and deadlines.  Share these frequently to help your colleagues  manage deadlines and work in chunks.

 

Incorporating self care

Transitions create evolving self care. The bandwidth you have depends on the self care you do. Continued self care will help you through this transition and other changes that are coming daily.  Be sure to calendar in the time you end the day and the days you will take off for vacation.  If possible, give yourself the gift of one day to have no plan or time line.

 

Your mobility is a positive for energy and productivity. Your agility is an asset as you move between spaces to use the energy of that space to get work done. Being organized helps with high energy, positivity and productivity. It is all a work in progress as we transition, find patterns and look at new ways to be productive in multiple environments.  Most importantly give yourself time to adjust and ample self care.

Healthy ADHD Habits and Exercise Routines

healthy adhd habits and exercise routines

 

Research has long shown that exercise and physical activity have a strong positive impact on the brain and for areas related to ADHD.  Exercise boosts executive function, attention and working memory.  So what is it that keeps us from regular exercise?  It is getting organized and creating better habits to incorporate exercise and movement into our daily lives. Creating new habits can be daunting. The consistency of habits are the most difficult. Think of all the ways to incorporate exercise that can engage you in multiple positive ways. Check out these many ways to incorporate exercise habits.

Use transition time for self care

Early in the day or early evening can be good times for self care. These are when other transitions occur, such as dropping off kids at school or coming home from work. Use this existing transition as a time for exercise.

 

Creating rules that reinforce goals

You can start exercising with small changes to what you already do. Make rules that enforce your commitment. These rules can be park farther away from the store to walk a longer distance when shopping.  Take the stairs when possible instead of an elevator. Walk to the farther bathroom in your home and office.  Any of these strategies accomplish the goal of walking more steps in a day.

 

Track your success

Our devices have built in trackers for us to acknowledge our success. You can see how many steps you walk in a day on any of these devices. Make it a goal to walk 10k a day from just your usual activities. Look each evening at your step count before you place your devices in the common charging area. Aim to improve rather than set a lofty goal.

 

Make it fun

Have you longed to go kayaking or play pickleball? Start a new exercise routine that includes competitive sports or games. This is especially valuable for brain health as you are learning a new skill and physical activity.

 

Buddy up

Work out as a family, join a Pilates class, or join a fitness group. There are many ways that people are partnering to get more exercise and create connections. As hybrid work continues, there are exercises groups continuing that started during the pandemic.

 

Start or continue with a challenging sport

Technically difficult sports have technical movements that include an array of brain areas that control balance, timing, sequencing, and concentration. These sports include ballet, martial arts, white water rafting, and gymnastics. As an athlete of a challenging sport, you are both overcoming symptoms of ADHD and building coordination.

 

Mix it up

Make exercise more engaging by having a variety of options. If you belong to a YMCA, you can try a variety of classes. At home you can play basketball or football with your kids, take a walk with your partner, or have a family dance party.  Variety keeps you going, especially if you decide you are tired of one type of exercise.

 

Make the commitment

The moment you realize that you are missing something in your day, you know you are committed to exercise. It’s a game changer for how you feel about your work and your day.

 

Remember its good to experiment

Looking at a variety of options helps you commit to exercise. The habit you are building is the habit of lifetime exercise rather than the rote activity. It’s not that you must be perfect at the routine, you are aiming for small daily commitment to exercise.

 

What is my exercise strategy?  I love my weekly Pilates and my class, as well as my daily walks listening to podcasts. On weekends I hop on my bike with my husband and check out the greenbelts in my neighborhood. When you look forward to this self care time, you love to exercise and work hard to never miss a day.

Healthy ADHD Habits and Gratitude Practices

healthy adhd habits and gratitude

October is National ADHD Awareness Month.

To “celebrate” this month, I am sharing 4 very important habits for living your best life with ADHD

in 4 blog posts throughout the month.

Throughout these uncertain times, gratitude has improved our quality of life and general well being. When we are grateful we are energized and connected. Gratitude strengthens relationships, a part of our personal and business lives.

 

The Value of the Habit of Gratitude

Everyone wants to experience more joy in their lives.  Gratitude predicts hope and happiness. Grateful people are happier overall, have a more positive outlook on life and feel more connected to others. Gratitude elevates your mood, increases optimism, and improves your well being.

 

We’ve been growing in our knowledge about gratitude and habits. Science shows we can train ourselves to experience thankfulness by intentionally being aware of the differences in our lives. The practice of acknowledging abundance and connections can help us experience happiness. Practicing gratitude is a skill and a routine that we can add to our daily lives.

 

Practice of gratitude is especially important for those with ADHD. People with ADHD can think negatively about themselves and their experiences.  They are critical of their themselves in terms of achievements and lack perspective on all the positive accolades. Practicing gratitude is like practicing self care.  Gratitude will focus your thoughts on specific parts of your day and life that are going well currently and in the past. In addition, gratitude helps with sleep in pushing negative and anxious thoughts back. A better night’s rest helps your executive function.

 

Habits can be difficult.

Habits require consistency, which is one of the most difficult actions for people with ADHD. You might get off track or change the plan after a short time despite the intention and goals. If you miss a day of the routine, negative thoughts creep in with discouragement.  Finally it is easy to give up too soon on a habit. The key is to be intentional about follow through and knowledgeable about how long it takes to create a habit.  Research shows that creating a new habit can take from three to eight weeks. Track your success, allow yourself an occasional “oops,” and remind yourself why the habit is important.

Commit to a gratitude practice.

Life is ramping back up and it may be hard to find a time for your gratitude practice. Researcher Brene Brown says that more than feeling gratitude, we must have a practice that shows this. Here are several times throughout the day you can spend time in gratitude. To start a gratitude routine, choose one of these times to be intentional about your gratitude practice.

  • As you start your day during a time of meditation
  • During your morning or evening shower
  • Waiting in traffic
  • Waiting in the car pool line
  • As a prayer before a meal
  • Before bed with your family

Starting your gratitude practice can be a joyful action. Here are eight ways you can intermittently share your gratitude for yourself and with others. Just like a smile is “contagious,” so it gratitude.

  • Write a thank you note to someone who made a difference for you and mail it.
  • Write a note to a family member in your home sharing what you appreciate about something they helped you to complete.
  • Volunteer at a local philanthropy to share your skills and acknowledge your gratitude for that option for people in need.
  • Take a 5 minute walk and acknowledge the beauty of the greenery and scenery around you.
  • Write in a gratitude journal each evening.
  • Write a note of gratitude and place it in a gratitude jar.
  • Create a photo album in your phone named Grateful. Add photos to it each day.

 

Start to notice how gratitude is impacting your life in creating joy and cultivating resilience.

Back to School Routines for Empty Nesters

Back to School Tips for Empty Nesters

As much as we love Summer, Back to School is the time we all use to reset whether we have school age kids or not. We all need a little structure and that comes from establishing routines for self care and priorities. Our self care and priorities are part of the big picture of purpose and meaning. Back to School can be a time of reflecting, learning and boundary setting.

 

Resetting Self Care

Summer might have meant more fast food dining. It could have been too hot for outside exercise. AND maybe you have been staying up much later because it is light so late into the evening. Resetting your priorities is often resetting your self care. Take baby steps to get back to your daily routines of hydration, exercise and nutrition. First, reset your bedtime to mirror what is best for work from home or work in the office. If bedtime is a continuous struggle, look at your routines before bed.  Keep your self care goals easy to accomplish and link existing successful routines to other routines.

 

Reflecting on Priorities

Back to school time feels a lot like new year. It can be a time where we evaluate and update our priorities, balance and connections. Our work life integration is where we have a balance between our professional life and personal life. Set aside a few minutes of reflection time to create a vision of balance. Priorities result with a clear decision on how you want to spend your time after work and where you work. Resetting priorities gives us the opportunity to find meaning and connection in our lives. This is also a great time for an annual summit for you, your family and your business.

 

Back to life long learning

Life long learning and curiosity go together. There is no age limit on learning so let Back To School prompt you to begin learning something new. Reading, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube, taking a course are all ways we grow in knowledge. It is also how we thrive. Learning new skills slows cognitive aging. Now this is a good reason to continue life long learning of all types.

 

Resetting boundaries

The best part of Back To School is setting boundaries.  Remember in school when time in one class was 50 minutes. That was a great boundary for work in that content area. Boundaries add structure to your time and connections helping you adhere to your goals and priorities. If it is a struggle to set boundaries, know why you are setting a boundary to get the most benefit.

 

Back to School for Empty Nesters is an optimal time to create new opportunities, let go of what has not served you well, and get back to routines. Seize the opportunity to overhaul and create time for what is important to you.

3 Tips to Maximize Your Vacation While You Are Away

 

3 tips to maximize your vacation while you are away

 

You finally are away on your well deserved vacation.  Congrats on prioritizing your self care in taking time away!  You prepped your colleagues at work and your pet sitter is managing the home front. Now is the time to maximize your time away. No matter where you go or what your plan is, your vacation should provide a change of daily life, a boost to your wellness and self care and a way to make a memory for yourself and your family to reflect on through the next year or beyond.

 

Start with a digital detox

We have been glued to our screens for a long while now. Every day seemed to bring new complex situations. This vacation could be the perfect time for a digital detox.  The reasons are clear that we need time to be present and in the moment with those with us on vacation, as well as time to just sit. Create a common charging spot for your devices and place them in this area each morning and night. Be intentional about your time on vacation. Choose activities that engage you and fulfill your spirit. In the evening set up card games or family games.  You will return to your job more productive.

 

Be intentional and organized about time away

Break your trip into segments that work for your energy level.  There are options for everyone during vacation.

  • New experiences, new connections and learning are exciting and engaging. Decide what kind of experience you want to have while you are on vacation.  Think about hobbies and interests you may not have time for at home.  Consider finding local adventures like zip lining or mindfulness opportunities like yoga. You can find cooking lessons or try new cuisine while away.  Choosing something out of your every day experience that brings you energy and joy.
  • Choose the time you spend with family. We are excited to see family that we have not seen in a while. It can be exhilarating and exhausting. When you feel ready to take a break, spend the time on your own regrouping. Set aside times during the day that you can be together and apart.
  • Maybe this year vacation is all about peace and quiet. Many of us are depleted of energy and motivation after this difficult year.  Intentionally choose to sit and relax. Choose a beautiful view to sit and be quiet. Take a walk in silence to start or end your day. Head to bed extra early while away to gain on your sleep schedule. Being on the go can leave you exhausted after your vacation.

Give yourself re-entry time

A rushed re-entry into real life can take away from your most relaxing vacation. Give yourself the opportunity to easy back into work and life.

  • Bring back a little keepsake, a photo or something to keep your vacation in mind all summer.  That photo can be placed where you see it daily, especially on your phone screen.
  • Get back earlier than you might think. This will give you time to catch up on laundry and meals at home.
  • Start by making a list of what needs to be done, prioritize your list and make a plan. Not everything needs to be done the first day or week back.
  • Allow for time at work for catching up on email. Share responses that acknowledge receipt and time to get back into work flow.
  • Give yourself breaks when you return to work. Conversations with colleagues when you start the day, a walk in the middle of the day, and a recap of productivity at the end of the day make it easier.

 

The pay off to your productivity is huge if you have truly spent your time away regrouping, resetting and refreshing.

Taking Time for Self Care Daily

 

taking time daily for self care

 

We’re coming out of a rough time for the past year or so. Looking through the many possible celebrations this summer, I saw these that made be smile. In the first week of June there are so many things to celebrate. Some of these include National Go Barefoot Day, National Leave The Office Early Day and National Doughnut Day.  That smile brought to mind how important our daily self care is, which could be celebrating each day by running in the yard barefoot or leaving work early from time to time. With all the good things and hope that is coming together, it’s time for us to take time for joy and to prioritize self care.

 

Creating a mindset of self care

We’ve been through some anxious times.  Starting, breaking up or ending your day with self care will help. It is going to be have to be intentional and prioritized.  That means, something else will not happen that is on your list and that you will have know that this is the best way to spend that time. It means that you are setting priorities and boundaries. Self care happens when we stay true to our priorities and block distractions.

What happens when those in your family or those you work with do not understand?  It can be uncomfortable for you and them to explain that this is not selfish.  Self care is about finding meaning and purpose in what you do, not just self indulgent need. Self care promotes personal energy which is required for emotional regulation and refueling. Thinking of yourself as a leader for those around you, especially if this is misunderstood.

 

Daily self care

Daily self care can look and feel like a lot of things. Use this list of simple suggestions and to accomplish self care.

  • A protein smoothie for breakfast (available frozen at Costco, purchased by online shopping, or shipped to your home via product provider)
  • Eating healthy snacks throughout the day (accomplished by ordering online.)
  • Exercising every day, like a short walk or yoga (available on YouTube or by placing your sneakers by your bed.)
  • An evening playlist for relaxing (available on Spotify, Pandora or Alexa.)
  • Routine, same time bedtime each week night (accomplished by charging your devices in a common charging spot.)

Prompt yourself by setting up the first step to do this action. Simple planning and preparation can help you every day.  Automate what you can to provide support for your daily self care.

Remember, every day is a new day to start your self care.

We are going to have days that were over-filled and there was no self care. We start fresh every day with self care. It is there for us all the time to restart.