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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Are you ready for change?

ready for change adhd

 

Deciding on any lifestyle change is a commitment. That change may include what you eat, what habits you have or what you organize. Others around you are offering lots of advice on how to change. What does it mean when you are ready for change?  How do you know you are ready for change?

How you know you are NOT ready for change.

  • You are not ready to change when others are coercing you.  You are being pushed in a direction to make change.  You’re using the word should or ought to to describe the change.
  • You know in your mind that change is good, but you are procrastinating on getting started.  You have underlying fears, a lack of skills or have not truly created buy in on your part.
  • You don’t have a great reason why to change.

 

 

You are ready for change when

  • More than just acknowledging that life is not going smoothly, you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  You remember the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome,”  and know what that means.  Despite how difficult it might be, you are ready to do something different.
  • You are researching how to get help to make the change and hone in on who can help.  It may take time to know who is the best to help and you are ready to talk to that person, start that program or attend a group meeting.
  • You are energized to create something or be something new. You have time, energy and focus to break out of what’s holding you back and start on a new path.
  • You have a compelling reason to create a new habit.

How do I know when I am ready for change?

I think about a compelling reason for the change.  Some of my biggest changes have come from what I think are really outstanding reasons to make a change.  From there I break that into a baby step of baby steps.   I am ready for change because I find a small way to get started on a big thing.  I encourage you to write your own list of ways you know you are ready to change.

 

 

when you have the why you can create the how

The path to change is not easy. It can be moved forward with inspiration and tenacity.  What’s your way of knowing you are ready for change?

 

Minimalism, Essentialism and Simplicity

 

minimalism, essentialism and simplicity

 

Have you heard the buzz about minimalism?  The concept started just after World War II and has exploded in the 21st century.  Minimalism is paring down to a minimum and living with less. It’s no surprise that according to a 2011 study, 90% of Americans admit that unorganized clutter at home or at work has a negative impact on their life. There are major benefits to living with less.  However, there is more to this concept.  Maybe you are not about living with the least you can, but about living with what’s essential or living simply.   While you are creating a new awareness of how much you really need, you can align with decluttering and organizing cultural concepts. There are several ways to create a less encumbered lifestyle and these choices might be minimalism, essentialism or simplicity.

 

Minimalism

Do you embrace a life where experiences are key and stuff bogs you down?  Are you a person who owns less for the sake of owning less?  When there is too much around you, do you feel anxious?  You may be a minimalist at heart.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus , well known as The Minimalists, are bloggers who focus on the minimalist lifestyle.  Their personal experiences about owning too much shape their writing.  Their writing includes information about stuff, finances, debt and more.

 

Essentialism

Do you embrace a life where your essential needs are met and the stuff you own is only what is essential?  Perhaps you purchase and keep only the essential items required for your daily living. You might keep only your essential items on the kitchen counter to use daily. You may be part of the essentialism movement.

 

Greg Mckeon, author of Essentialism shares his perspective about time and space.  It’s the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’.   In applying criteria and prioritizing, we can choose what we want and what we want to do with regard to our core values.

 

Simplicity

Do you want to make life simpler?  Are you okay with a few basic items out but keep what’s used less frequently in the cabinet? Are you feeling overwhelmed by too many meaningless activities that you used to love? You may just want to simplify your space and time.

 

My core belief and what we share at  Professional-Organizer.com is to “keep it simple sweetie.”  Our lives are enhanced by making decisions with simple choices.  We are often drawn to complexity in our work and home so by stepping back and choosing simplicity, we can find happiness and balance.

 

It’s small distinctions that set apart minimalism, essentialism and simplicity.  This granular evaluation of living the life you want can help you keep away from clutter and over-commitment.   Your commitment to the lifestyle of your choice depends on where you are on the minimalism continuum.

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How taking a vacation makes you more productive

productivity

 

Look around at kids in your home or neighborhood on vacation!  The joy of longer days to swim, the fun of time off, and time to do whatever they want spontaneously keeps their spirits and energy high.  We can have that too! We can be healthier, happier and more productive with a vacation and time off.  Although it seems counter intuitive, there’s lots of reasons what taking a vacation helps improve productive.

 

 A vacation energizes you

Working to declutter and organize requires energy.  In our day to day busy lives, we are giving a lot of energy to what is required. We seldom have energy to get done what is required of us in a day.  After a vacation, being refreshed, you are ready to take on decluttering and organizing. You are ready to make decisions and let go of what you don’t need.

 

Take a vacation and do your organizing

Some times we take a vacation and do the tasks we seldom get to during our typical time at home.  Some of us enjoy organizing but seldom have the time to get organized.  It may be that your vacation is a gift to yourself to get your organizing done.  It makes sense to take a vacation and get your organizing done in order to create balance and serenity.

 

Open ended time helps you improve productively

When you are away from work, you are more open to fresh ideas.  Your brain refreshes just like when you sleep.  Your time away is taking care of you. It’s a wellness break that is required for you to be your best. “Getting away from a familiar environment help gain clarity on life,” says Adam Galinsky, professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

 

This year my family will be taking a vacation that helps us all get away. Not only will it improve productivity, it will increase our connectivity.  Share where you will be heading off to on vacation this summer!

 

More tips on being more organized this year? Join my newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

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