Holiday Organizing Gifts

Holiday organizing gifts

 

If you are the practical, functional kind of gift giver, this post is for you!  Organizing gifts are the most cherished! These gifts give back to your recipient in so many ways.  Your gift gives a feeling of order, clarity in life, and an organized space.  Here’s five of my favorite holiday organizing gifts!

 

Chalkboard menu

Chalkboard menu

Every family loves to eat! Plan your weekly menu and share it with your family with a chalkboard menu in your kitchen.

Corkboard Cork board

Families have lots of reminders and invitations.  A family corkboard keeps everyone on track.

 

Hooks

Decorative hooks

Hooks help everywhere! Decorative hooks can be used in a hall for a landing strip, bathroom for towels, bedroom for bags and more! Amazon dot

Amazon Dot

Amazon Alexa helps you make lists, order groceries and much more!

 

Tile  Tile

Tile’s remote system helps you track the stuff you lose.

 

And that’s a wrap for the stuff!  I always encourage holiday gifts that are experiences instead off stuff. If you decide you must give stuff,  make it practical and functional this year!

Inside Secrets and Holiday Tips Used by this Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant

holiday tips

Holidays come around each year and each year we are looking forward to the real joy of the holiday. How do we professional organizers and productivity consultants make the holiday merry and bright? Here’s tried and true tips we use!

  • Organize as you decorate and undecorate.  Donate unused decorations right after the holiday. This way you are not storing decorations another year and you are keeping only what is most important and treasured.  Use an ornament organizer and mark your bins with specific contents to make decorating easier and more fun next year.
  • Start early if you decide to send holiday cards. Have your family photo ready by October.  As you receive cards, update your holiday card list.  If you decide to keep your cards for the next year, here’s a way to keep them year after year.
  • As you are going through the holiday season, make a note in your smart phone about what worked best in terms of holiday hacks. These are inside secrets you learned as the season progressed.  Here’s an example. Our Houston Zoo Lights are fabulous and you need to purchase tickets that morning in case of weather glitches and to be sure tickets are available that day.
  • With new and traditional recipes, make a note on the recipe what small changes you made.  Each year I make cream puffs and I have notes on what worked best with oven temperature and ingredients.
  • Keep your Christmas receipts together in a ziplock and ask for extra receipts for returns. You will eliminate hassle with returns.
  • Check in with your family on what family traditions to keep and what has gone by the wayside. Spending an evening relaxing at home and getting in bed early helps everyone enjoy the season.

Wishing you a very merry holiday season!

 

My Organizing Obsession: Holiday Ornament Organizer

my organizing obsession holiday ornament organizer

 

When the holidays are here, we love decorating our tree, our special ornaments from each year and enjoying the joy of the holiday. To keep our joy, holiday decorations need organizing or these get overwhelming.  Our precious holiday ornaments need careful storage. Their value is priceless as they are gifts, memories and traditions bound into one element.  I love holiday ornament organizers for this reason.

 

 

ornament storage holiday organizing

 

ornament organizing holiday organizing

 

 

Both of these organizers have individual sections for each ornament. The cardboard dividers can be used as needed depending on the size of the ornament.  The durable exterior keeps ornaments safe and clear during storage.

 

For your most precious ornaments, you can wrap the ornament in tissue and then store it in a center section of the organizing box.  Mark your box fragile so all those who help you store and carry know the value of the contents.

 

More of my organizing obsessions here!

 

 

Keeping Extra Organized and Productive throughout the Holiday Season

 


 

Holidays add extra to our lives.  Whether it’s extra fun, extra work, or extra time,  there’s much more to think about and do.  When you are running on extra everything, keeping extra organized and productive this holiday season are critical.

 

Extra rest

We don’t think of extra rest at this time of year.  How can you add extra rest with an earlier bedtime?  Perhaps it’s an extra nap that is needed?  Think first of how to add extra rejuvenation to your week.

 

Extra help

It’s as simple as buying the cookie tray rather than making a dozen cookies.  Get extra help this season in any way you can, from food prep, home cleaning and extra hugs.   You will appreciate having this bonus.

 

Extra planning time

Schedules get criss-crossed this time of year.  There are multiple simultaneous events.  Be sure you double and triple check your plans and planner.  You will be happy to know what is planned by capturing it on your device or on paper.

 

Extra spiritual time

Holidays are about a greater meaning.  Keep the joy of the season in more than sprit by devoting time to devotion.   That can be reading, prayer, or meditation time for you as you seek the meaning of this time of year.

 

Extra work scheduling

The end of the year may be a big wrap up time for projects.  Schedule extra time to do a solid wrap up of what you have worked on this year.  Take extra time to let go of extra drafts and extra paper.

 

Wishing you EXTRA joy this holiday season!

More Elves Please!

 

More elves please build a team

 

 

It’s the holidays that remind us of how much we need to have more help!  Just like Santa’s elves, and Mrs. Claus, there’s more to do than we have time to accomplish.  Look at what needs to be done and perhaps it’s time to build a team for the holidays.  Here’s some ideas on where to find elves not just at this time of year. It’s a prelude to building a bigger team all year long.

 

There’s some resistance to building a bigger team. If you are not sure what to start with, start with something super small.  You can delegate with supervision this way.  Or you can start with something you know you are not getting to.  If progress is made, that’s the bonus.

 

Retail elves

Services such as Shipt, Click, Target cartwheel and Amazon subscription are a start.   You can connect online to order and your goods come directly to your home.  Subscription automates this process for goods that you rely on regularly.  Not only does this save time, it saves money!

 

Tech elves

Every day new technology is being created to help us.  Amazon Alexa and Google Home have tons of tech tricks to help you day in and day out. Not only can Alexa play holiday music, she can also read “The Night Before Christmas”.   She can organize your holiday lists and remind you before your holiday cookies get too crispy.  Holiday cards are a special connection during the holiday season.  Send out beautiful invitations and holiday cards using PaperlessPost.  Holiday tech can help you delegate and automate.  

 

Community elves

Around us are people who have retired and want to do more, teens looking to earn money and freelancers.  A colleague posted an advertisement on Next Door and got 50 potential elves.  A retired tech guy talked to a friend of a friend and became a driver for a special needs family.  Mention to the universe the help you need and it’s going to show up.

 

Professional elves

That’s people like me! As your certifed professional organizer, I help people in many different ways depending on your needs, skills and goals.  Professional elves, like coaches, therapists, trainers and more help you achieve goals throughout the year.

 

Once you have your team in place, it’s important to keep communicating frequently. A weekly meeting, a text stream and a google doc can keep everyone up to date and on the same page.  Build a team for the holidays and going into the new year to help you accomplish more, feel more in control and keep all your plates spinning.

 

More ideas for team building and managing your team here!

Counting your blessings. Thankful. Grateful.

thankful. grateful

 

Each morning as I take my walk, it’s my time to be thankful and grateful. Time in nature gives me time to think about the blessings in my life, including the beauty of what’s around me, how my business and life have come together, and the blessings for those around me.  As I return home, I feel positive. I am ready to start my day with purpose and focus.

 

Why keep your Thankful.Grateful. list organized

Those of us who are thankful enjoy a more positive, vital and optimistic life.  We have lower levels of depression and stress.  We support others with our kindness, compassion and feel good about helping others.  Our focus is on people and relationships rather than stuff.  We feel we are tracking and progressing towards our personal and professional goals.

 

How to create your Thankful.Grateful. list

There are many ways to count your blessings.

  • A journal is a capture tool that keeps your thoughts in one place. A nightly writing time gives you a wrap up to your day and a great night’s rest.
  • A blessings jar, placing slips of paper with a note, in a jar all year, keeps your blessings together to share on a holiday.
  • Share with another who you are thankful.grateful for her/his part in your life.  Openly write a thank you note, send a text, or ask to meet to share your thankfulness.
  •  Express gratitude for those who serve and help you. Go to the manager of your local shop and share how an employee has gone the extra mile for you.  Complete a survey online and mention the employee by name.
  • Kick off your meeting with a thank you to one of your employees or members.
  • Thank volunteers in your association or group with a small gift card and note expressing for what you are grateful.
  • Keep a list of  your top 25 items in an app in your phone.  All year long populate this list to reflect on what you are grateful for all year.
  • More than any way to make this list, it’s most important to start your list.

My Thankful.Grateful list

It’s just a start for me. These are my overall items on my list, empcompassing how I live my life. I keep this in my Notes app on my phone.  I love referring to it when I want to remember why I do what I do.

  1. Family near and far
  2. Meaningful work with purpose
  3. My clients. Brilliant, creative, resourceful, trusting
  4. Kingwood (my city)
  5. Education
  6. Opportunities to be lead an amazing association
  7. Opportunities to be a contributor in my community
  8. Life experiences with concerts and travel

I hope you will share your list with me. I love knowing what we are all thankful. grateful.

Week Before Thanksgiving To Do Lists

thanksgiving organizing

 

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and there’s much to do!  Pies to bake, turkey to baste and a table to set are just a few of your responsibilities this week. Setting up a list of lists will make your next week run smoothly. That’s what lists do: get ideas out of your head, get stuff done, help you have more fun and help you stay in the moment with your guest that day. Here are the lists that you need the week before Thanksgiving. These To Do lists will not only help you stay on track, these will also help you have your most organized Thanksgiving!

 

 

Finalize your guest list

Who will you be sitting with during your holiday feast?  It’s time to finalize your guest list and connect with all your guests.  Your guests may request to bring items for your meal so have a list prepared just in case they would like to bring a dish.

 

Gather your gear

Do you need extra linens or will you be eating on eco-friendly plates? Is this the year you will cook your turkey on the grill? Now is the time to purchase what’s needed for your feast. Set out your plates, silverware and other table scape items to be sure you are ready to set the table.

 

Create your shopping list

What’s needed for your feast and the week ahead? What breakfast, lunch and leftovers do you have planned for feeding your guests? Are your guests vegan, gluten free or vegetarian? Nows the time to check special dietary requests.  Checking your list early means you can check on sales at various shops and save money.

 

Beverages and bar options

Even before your big meal, will you be serving special beverages? Research festive holiday drinks and kiddo drinks for your meal.  Be ready with a family friendly punch or adult cocktail station set up before the meal begins.

 

Create a cooking plan

In order to have all your dishes ready at the same time, write a list of when you will prepare, cook and bake your holiday dishes.  Review your recipes to be organized about when to start cooking. Assign cooking responsibilities to friends and family who arrive early that day.

 

Purchase your turkey

Turkeys come in fresh and frozen, big and little. Be ready for your feast by purchasing your turkey ahead of time and holding it in the coldest part of your refrigerator.  Turkey tips are available to be sure your bird is delicious.

 

Thanksgiving Day List

You got this! Stick to your list of lists and you will enjoy your day.  It’s time to put your friends and family in the mix to share the fun in cooking and preparing.

 

More Thanksgiving ideas here!

 

ADHD Guide to Happier Holidays

adhdholidayguide adhd

 

Time is not your friend during the holidays. There’s so much more to do. If you have ADHD, time challenges are part of what you face during the year.  Here’s a simple guide to a happier holiday for you and your family.

 

Keep self care at the top of your list

Holidays are the season of lists, with lists having lists.  Top off your list with holiday self care. This is the time to keep your exercise, medication, meditation and sleep schedules without disruption.  Keeping these routines on track will help you stay energized and positive.

 

Set your budget early and keep on track

Finances are a major part of all holidays. There’s gifts to buy, food to purchase and always last minute unplanned expenses.  Set up your budget early, with specific names and dollar amounts. Leave a little wiggle room for last minute purchases.  There’s apps for that too! Spendee, Mint and EveryDollar help you track your funds. Even before you set out to shop, open up all the Amazon boxes and make a list of all the gifts you purchased throughout the year. The power of a small, thoughtful, handmade gift can make a big impact if your funds are small. A donation to a meaningful charity in the family’s name shows thoughtfulness.  Simple gifts are profound and from the heart.

 

Meet to know what’s most meaningful

By far the most important and valued time of the holiday season is time spent together.  Get your family calendar together in early November.  Invitations, school plays, church gatherings and other celebrations will start soon! With your family, decide what’s most important and meaningful to each family member. Be ready to prioritize and then capture on your calendar these dates early.  When double bookings arise, take a few minutes to send a gracious thank you and proceed as planned.

 

Team work makes holidays easier

Make a list of what you have to do this holiday season. Now write a name next to the responsibilities where another person, team or tech can do this work.  Delegating is the way to have extra time to get the most complete. Create partnerships for work that can be done by more than one person. A partnership means that there will be laughing and fun, not just work to get done.  Look for community members to be a part of your team too, like teens who babysit, wrap or add extra hands when needed.  There’s lots of ways to add help in the holiday season.

 

Holiday are not all perfection all the time.  Take time this holiday season to find ways to make your holiday happier, and not perfect. The most imperfect holiday is often the most memorable.

 

Choosing Time Management Tools

Time management tools

 

Say the words time management and we say how can be manage time?  We can’t really. What we can do is track how we use time, understand how long a tasks takes, and prioritize what we spend out time on.   Time management tools help us track and record how we spent our time.   By tracking and recording our tasks and how much time each takes, we can be more productive about how we use our time.  These basic, elementary tools also empower us to be more productive.

 

Capture tools: planner and task list

A planner is where you place dates and appointments. It’s also where you can create a plan for your work by breaking tasks and projects into smaller units. Planners come in a variety of formats so choose what works for you.

 

A task list is where you record all the details. It’s the spot for all ideas, whether actionable or not.  The task list evolves into the 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs). Those the tasks that are assigned by date and recorded on your panner. These capture tools can include a simple notebook to the online tool Trello.

 

Both capture tools are essential for productivity. Knowing the high priority tasks, choosing which to schedule when, then you can use your planner.  Your planner is your every day map for getting stuff done.

Focus tools

These tools help you stay on track with your plan and ensure productivity.

 

A timer can help you start, finish and stay on task. Setting a timer helps make the shift into action.  It’s set to help you with the duration of the task. Using the Pomodoro technique, you can break up your work into chunks too.

 

An analog clock can help you gauge the beginning of a task.  Placing an analog clock where you can see time elapsing is beneficial in that you can assess how much time has passed and when to move onto the next step.

 

There are many apps that create more awareness about your own productivity.  RescueTime is a a digital tool to assess where you have spent your time.  This time management software helps you stay on track knowing that your time is being assessed. TimeDoctor give you tools for analysis for you and your team.  Trello helps you set up an online tracking tool.  Check out of one these on one of your devices.  Use these focus tools together to help you keep to your plan.

 

Time management concepts

Time management concepts provide the perspective of how to use your tools.

 

The Power of One highlights how important a single capture tool can be for you.  Capture your tasks and assigments in one place. It’s easier to know what you have to do and when you are doing this tasks.

 

Chunk your  work into segments that work for you. If you are someone who likes long time periods to work, create theme days to do this work. If you work for an hour at a time, break your work into these units.  Chunking is a powerful way to be sure you are accomplishing and not procrastinating.

 

 

Now you have the tools. It’s time to put them to use!  Be sure to have your planner, task list, clock and timer at your side at all times.  Put them to work today as you start your work day.

 

More time management tips here! Join my newsletter!

 

 

 

Automated Tools for Home, Work and Life

Automated tools for home work and life

 

Without a doubt, technology has changed our home, work and life. The smart tools in our home include security, light bulbs, coffee makers and fans. In the last year, even more so has life changed with the popularity of Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home. It’s easy to automate and delegate some of the little things that can make life and work even easier. Here’s a list of the tools and tasks that can delight you as automated toolsfor home, work and life.

 

Tools to use

Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home are easy to use and cost about the same amount depending on which product you purchase.  Here’s the differences that you should look for.  Amazon Echo has more commands (Skills) while Google Home can best answer diverse questions.   Amazon Echo has more smart home commands to control such as smart light bulbs or security.

 

Commands to use

These devices can play music, tell you the time, give you this week’s weather and give you the traffice report.  There’s more though! Keep up your productivity with these commands.

Calendar

  • OK, Google, tell me about my day”
  • OK, Google, good morning.” (This includes a personalized greeting, info on weather, traffic, reminders, calendar entries, flight status and curated news stories.)
  • OK, Google, add my 9 am appointment to my calendar.
  • Ok, Google, remind me to purchase my airline tickets.

To-do lists

  • Alexa, create a to-do list
  • Alexa, I need to make a doctor appointment
  • Alexa, buy bathroom tissue
  • Alexa, reorder pens
  • Alexa, track my order

Reminders and timers

  • Alexa, set a repeating alarm for weekdays at 7 a.m.
  • Set a timer: “Alexa, timer” or “Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes.”
  • Create a named timer: “Alexa, set a pizza timer for 20 minutes.”
  • Set multiple timers: “Alexa, set a second timer for 5 minute

Self care

  • Alexa, ask Random Workout to pick a workout.
  • Alexa, ask Random Workout to pick an exercise.
  • Alexa open Sleep Sounds.
  • Alexa ask Sleep Sounds to play Thunderstorm.

What’s my most surprising task for Alexa? It’s remember things! We all want a fail safe spot to remember stuff.  Alexa can do that too!

You don’t have to be a big techie to enjoy the advantages of this small addition to your tech collection.  Adding these small devices can make a big difference for you as we add automated tools for home, work and life to our everyday spaces.