Thankful. Grateful. Reflective.

 

 

be happy and be grateful

 

Like all of us, I am feeling anxious and unsure of what is ahead.  There is an enormous amount of sadness and grief, for loss of life, jobs and connections. At the same time there is a deep underlying sense of gratitude.  During this global crisis, I wanted to say how grateful I am and how gratitude shapes my daily life. Here is my list of what I am grateful for, despite our “new normal.”

  • My daily walks keep me in touch with nature and family. We are quarantined with our family and grateful to be engaging with them everyday through a morning walk.  There is a lot of joy in spending time together.  This would not occur in other times when we are all living our pre-virus life. I hope for you that you are also getting outside in the green space and feel supported in this time.
  • Each day I have the opportunity to cheer others on and serve others. Finding small ways to give back make this time meaningful and purposeful.
  • My home is a place of serenity. I am often asked how organized my home is. I am also doing my own decluttering and organizing. My home is where I find peace and rest. I hope you find that same in your space.
  • There is a pause for me to reflect. Life is busy. This is an opportunity for me to think about what I will apply moving forward.  I have been spending time thinking about who and what will be an every day part of my life after quarantine concludes. I want to surround myself with positive people, experiences and work.
  • This time has given more the opportunity to connect more. Every week I connect to clients to see how everyone is doing.  Every day I reach out to two friends. That brings so much joy to my day! I have laughed harder, smiled more and said I love you more than any other time.
  • My work brings me so much joy! I have worked on my YouTube channel as I planned this year. It is time to spend on learning more to help my clients. I realized that there is always a new opportunity to create a schedule I love every day.

 

I am here to encourage you. Find the positive in your time during COVID-19. I look forward to hearing what is “sparking joy” for you right now. I think many of us are thinking of the powerful positives that have come our way.

 

thankful. grateful.reflective

COVID-19 Four Essential Tips for Work From Home Success

 

With COVID-19 we are quickly navigating a new normal, that of working from home during a global crisis. It is not the same as working at home over the long haul or working from home during a traditional time.  There are 4 essential tips to ensure your success as you continue to work, home school and more in the same space daily. Follow these tips to keep your sanity and work success.

 

Start with great self care

The pandemic requires a lot of emotional and physical well being.  Start prioritizing self care.  That means creating an environment that supports you and your family.

  • Create a night time and bed time routine to support rest.  In times of transition, we rely on routines to help us. A productive day starts the night before.  End work in order to have dinner together, spend time together, and get in bed for 8  hours of rest.
  • Include time outside in your work and school routines. A family walk or bike ride in the middle of the day helps everyone clear their head and get re-energized.
  • Boundaries are necessary with social media.  It’s tempting to spend time checking social media when you are feeling drained and unsure of your next priority. Help everyone, most especially your teens, by modeling and setting expectations.

 

Set up your space

By now you have been spending time at home adjusting to your new space. You know what is not working for you and your homeschooling.

  • Declutter and create space in your office to do real work. It’s a reality check to clear out what is unnecessary and edit your stuff. You will be glad you did!
  • Set up multiple spaces for your kids to work.  It can be unconventional like a hammock in the back yard or a make shift tent in a family room. Separate spaces are great for everyone to work without distractions. It also gives everyone a little space to decompress and focus in on work.
  • Video meetings are a requirement of work and school life right now.  These are the social connections we have during the pandemic too. Think of this area as you video studio.  Be sure you have reviewed best practices for you and your kids at a family meeting.
  • Check in with appropriate attire for your work day. Dress for the meetings as you would in real life unless otherwise noted by your employer.

 

Communication

Over-communication during this transition keeps everyone connected, up to date, and sure of next steps.

  • Discuss work hours with your employer, especially to the start and end of your work day.
  • Clarify expectations about tasks and projects.  Will there be daily check in? How will priorities be discussed? What will be the success metrics? Be sure everyone agrees and has this in writing as well as verbally.
  • Resolve challenges with a phone call. It is easy to misinterpret information and tone with text and email. A phone call makes it easy to clarify what has happened and how to rectify the situation.
  • Create a system for sharing documents. Agree to one online system that everyone can use and share. Use what’s easiest to access and be sure there is password protection.

 

Work life integration

Now let’s add back in the rest of the story – those kiddos are home too.

  • If your kids’ assignments arrive on Monday at 9 am, plan around that time. Allocating time to get the kids started will allow you to work more productively.
  • Share responsibilities and tag team if possible. Parents can share shifts of homeschooling.
  • Manage expectations of yourself and your kids’ assignments.  You are all learning resilience as well as math and reading.

 

There is a lot of “life learning”going on at this time. Be aware of nuances in you and your family’s transition to work from home.  It’s a great opportunity to give your family kudos.

 

COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness for Your Papers, Passwords and More

emergency preparedness for papers and more

 

 

Emergency preparedness goes beyond organizing your stuff. It starts with a will, durable power of attorney and legal documents and moves to online passwords and your digital life.  We all have important documents that we need access to during our lifetime and that our loved ones might need access to in the future. With the time we have, it’s a great time to organize these papers and more.

 

Tools to get organized

In an emergency, the last thing that should be an obstacle is locating paperwork. We need easy access to health insurance details, medical information, and advance directives. Estate plans, financial and insurance information, property and business interests should be documented and organized. Your digital life and passwords are also key to ensuring that information can easily be accessed.

Clients have often asked me how to do this and what is easiest to accomplish what seems like an overwhelming accumulation of data.  There is a comprehensive system called My Life Packet (www.mylifepacket.com.) It is an organizational tool that walks you through what you need to collect, record, and share. (Note I have no financial gain from sharing this tool.)

In My Life Packet,  you can pace yourself to consolidate the documents you need.  By taking inventory of what documents you have and where they are located can save everyone time, money, and stress. It is about peace of mind to have all these documents ready.

 

Time to get organized

Like all projects, take a big picture on organizing your important papers.

  • What do you want the end to look like? Is this an electronic document or a binder with papers?
  • What do already have accumulated?
  • Can you spend an hour at a time assembling these documents?
  • Who else in your family will you share this?

 

Time to share your documents

Documents like these are a gift to yourself and your family.  Take this project on,  like all big projects, as a way to share important conversations. According to Real Simple, there are 4 important family meetings all families need. These include the “Senior Summit” to discuss life documents, care and more. Having a Senior Summit is for all ages, not just seniors.  It’s not a one and done conversation in that as decisions can change and be updated.  Set a date as a deadline to start your first conversation.

 

Here is a basic list of what you will be needing to get started.

 

COVID-19 Why your Family Meeting Matters Now More than Ever

covid-19 family meetings

 

Family together has taken on a whole new meaning.   Families are together 24/7 with home schooling and work at home.  How does that impact family communication? Is a family meeting necessary if we are all together all the time?  What’s important to share at a family meeting?  Using your Family Meeting to connect and communicate remains an important resource during this time.

 

Family Meeting Basics

Family meetings are a part of great communication. Meeting once a week gets everyone on the same page with calendars, family activities and ongoing family planning. It’s also a great way to discuss important topics like your family values.  In this time, there are many responsibilities being communicated that are new and different. Home schooling with learning menus and Zoom calls are new additions to family life.  Your family calendar can look busy even with most activities canceled.

  •  Keep your calendaring going for you and your kids. Add dates and information ongoing each every day.  Your Family Meeting is where you can capture more information weekly.
  • Plan some family work parties and family fun! Have each person make a list of things they want to do (board games, tell stories, watch movie) and things that could be done (clean house, organize closet, wipe baseboards and doors). Prioritize the list, assign dates and voila! Both responsibilities and fun happen.
  • Be sure you meet regularly to keep momentum and information flowing.

 

Family Meeting Tricks and Tips

Like all meetings, there are some small tricks and tips that help.

  • Keep it short. Boredom sets in quickly.  If you see distractions coming up, walk and talk.
  • Get buy in.  Buy in can come from many different strategies. Always serve a snack. Everyone loves to eat!
  • Have an agenda. Be consistent in your agenda.
    • Update calendars
    • Talk about an upcoming event or discuss a family value
    • Set time for next meeting
    • Have fun

 

Family meeting visual aids and reminders

Now let’s share what we know with each other to keep up to date all the time.

Dry erase boards are the most popular way to share Family Meetings agendas. You can pair two calendar dry erase boards and a blank dry erase as a complete command center for your family.

Family Dry Erase Calendar Wayfair

dry erase calendars

Family Dry Erase Calendar The Container Store

 

Family Dry Erase Board Blank Wayfair

 

 

Smead justik dry erase

Smead justik dry erase

 

 

 

 

If your calendar is digital, you can share the calendar on your devices for everyone to view.

Google calendar printed for Family View. Post in a common space.

Each of us has our favorite reminder app on your devices. Set these to maximize the actions you determined at your meeting.  You can include multiple family members with some reminder apps too.

 

 

Your family meeting is the time to support and nurture your family. Bring out the best in each of your family members by addressing concerns, sharing important information. and being available together.  At the most anxious of times, setting aside a specific time to address routines and new information makes a difference for everyone in your family.

 

Search COVID-19 for all my Professional-Organizer.com posts on my blog.

ADHD Friendly Ways to Clear Clutter and Organize Your House

 

adhd friendly ways to clear clutter and organize your home

 

 

Here is a 15 minute tutorial for ADHD Friendly Ways to Clear Your Clutter and Organize Your House.  

Please print this handout before you begin the tutorial.

ADHD Friendly Ways to Clear Clutter and Organize Your Home

(Handout)

 

 

Getting started

  • Start Small
  • Plan your time
  • Challenges of Perfectionism and procrastination
  • Emotional attachments
  • Financial attachments

 

Organizing strategies for your stuff

  • Plan your work and work your plan
  • Letting go (consignment, Facebook Marketplace, philanthropies)
  • Categorizing and organizing
  • A “Home” for your items
  • Organizing products
  • Working your plan and keeping organized

 

 

Tips for Getting and Staying Organized

  • Create routines for you and your home (Admin Day, Decluttering appointments)
  • Tricks and tips of labelling
  • Strategic work zones in your home
  • Finding a partner with a clutter buddy, body double, or paper partner
  • Make it fun with a playlist or reward

 

 

Resources

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

The Magic of Tidying Up

Professional-Organizer.com Ellen’s Blog

 

Decluttering questions to ask yourself

 

Questions about use

  • Questions about use help you determine how often you use an item and if so, whether to keep it.
  • Do I love it or use it?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • If it is less than $20 and it takes less than 20 minutes to get it again, can I let it go?
  • If you could fit in this right now, would you wear it?

 

Questions about quantity

  • Questions about quantity help you let go of excess.
  • How many of these do I need?
  • Would I buy this again today?
  • Where do I store it to find it again?

 

Questions for lifestyle

  • Questions about lifestyle help you acknowledge your feelings about an item.
  • Does this help me be my best self?
  • Will my future self use this?
  • Is this holding me back?

 

Questions about emotional attachment

  • Questions about emotional attachment define whether to keep an item or let it go.
  • Is this something that makes me sad or reminds me of a sad time?
  • Does this make me smile?
  • Do I honor it as a keepsake?

 

Questions about finances

  • Does this have value greater than $50?
  • Should I sell this or donate it?
  • Can it be a blessing to others who have great need?

 

 

 

ADHD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Papers

adhd friendly ways to organize paper

 

Join me for a 15 minute presentation on organizing your papers.

Please print this handout before you begin the presentation.

ADHD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Papers

(Handout)

 

 

Start big

 

  • Move from overwhelmed to informed
  • Keep the end in mind
  • Know what to keep and for how long

 

 

Organizing strategies for your papers

  • Your Command Center for actionable paper
  • Your Files for reference papers
  • Archive Files for long term storage
  • Organizing options

 

 

Going digital

  • Device options (photo, Genius Scan, Scanners)
  • Fundamentals
  • Organizing options

 

Staying organized

  • Triage time
  • Admin time
  • Back log

 

 

Home and Office Paper and Digital Organizing Categories

 

Home

 

  • House and Auto
    • Auto purchase
    • Home Major Purchases
    • Home Repair/Maintenance
    • House inventory
    • Insurance
  • Financial (anything to do with money)
    • Banking
    • Credit Cards
    • Investment
    • Retirement
    • Property Taxes
    • Life Insurance
    • Mortgage
  • Personal (anything to do with people or pets)
    • Medical Benefits
    • Medical History
    • Medical Explanation of Benefits
    • Medical Paid bills
    • School/University
    • (Interests such as parenting, decorating, collections, etc.)
  • Work
    • Work history
    • CV or resume

 

Office

    • Clients
    • Resources
    • Vendors
    • Projects
    • HR or Employees
    • Financials 20XX
    • Expenses

 

Resources

ABCs of Important Papers (Oprah.com)

My Life Packet

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

 

COVID-19 Bingo Fun!

We are all taking this COVID-19 health situation seriously with the world wide pandemic.  It’s a scary time for us all. Research shows that laughter is the best medicine when it comes to difficult times. Not only does laughter help, being busy and productive helps too.  When we are productive, we know we are making a difference in our home and work.  With that in mind, download these free Bingo cards.

 

Self Care Bingo

The Self Care Bingo helps us keep perspective on what is most important; that being putting our own oxygen mask on first.  Self care is what makes the difference for immunity too.  According to Good Housekeeping research, following self care strategies improves your overall well being.

 

self care bingo

 

Declutter Bingo

The most common challenge to decluttering and organizing is time. We never have enough time to declutter. Because we think it will take a lot of time, we don’t get started decluttering. Now is the time.  Use this Declutter Bingo card to help you get started on closet, computers and small spaces.

 

declutter bingo

 

 

Enjoy these bingo games to help you feel accomplished and well taken care of during this tough time. These can be printed to use at home and keep you moving forward.

COVID-19 How to Establish Schedules for Home, School and Work

covid-19 schedules for home, school and work

 

We have been at home for a few weeks now, settling in after COVID-19 news that staying home is important.  While the first week or so may have felt like snow days, it’s time to settle into schedules that help you stay productive and positive.  Schedules are repeated patterns that we use to empower our priorities.  Right now our priorities can be simple. We can embrace our new normal by patterning our days.

Basic concepts

Setting up your own schedule can be baffling to some. It is creating structure for yourself, which you may not be comfortable with or skilled at.  For some it’s natural to do. These basic concepts can help you craft your schedule.

  • Prioritize what is most important first. Right now that is simple, that being you have work and your kids have school. First this in first to your schedule. Depending on your own work and your kids’ schools, this may set your schedule directly.
  • Know your own personal strengths. Are you a morning person or not?  Take this quiz on The Power of When to know what works best. Most of us know this from all our personal experiences. Use your best time of the day to do your most important work.
  • Be sure to include self care, exercise, meals, bedtimes and reset time in your schedule. These routines help us be our best selves.
  • We tend to be overly ambitious about our schedules. Choose time blocks that help you keep focused and productive.  Too many time blocks and too much transition deter productivity. Use time blocking to help you create a schedule that works well. For example, choose a morning and afternoon 2 hour block rather than two one hour blocks each morning and afternoon.
  • Post your schedule for everyone to know the plan for the day.  Talk about your schedule at your family meeting, emphasize the value, and keep everyone on track with clocks and timers.

 

 

Sample School for a Morning Person

Monday – Friday Schedule  Morning Person Sample Schedule
6:00 AM Wake up

Reflection time or Meditation

6:30 AM Shower and dress
7:00 AM Wake kids
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM Daily exercise/Listen to a podcast
8:30 AM
9:00 AM Work and School start
9:30 AM
10:00 AM
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Work and school continue
11:30 AM
12:00 PM Lunch and Break
12:30 PM
1:00 PM Outside time
1:30 PM Work and school continue
2:00 PM
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
3:30 PM
4:00 PM Outside time
4:30 PM
5:00 PM Dinner
5:30 PM
6:00 PM
6:30 PM
7:00 PM Family time
7:30 PM Prep kids for bed
8:00 PM
8:30 PM Kids’ bedtime
9:00 PM
9:30 PM
10:00 PM Parent’s bedtime

 

Sample Schedule for Not a Morning Person

Monday – Friday Not a Morning Person Sample Schedule
8:00 AM Wake up

Reflection time or Meditation

8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Shower and Dress
9:30 AM
10:00 AM Work and School begin
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
11:30 AM
12:00 PM Lunch and Break
12:30 PM Outside time
1:00 PM Work and School continue
1:30 PM
2:00 PM
2:30 PM Outside time and Break
3:00 PM Work and School continue
3:30 PM
4:00 PM
4:30 PM
5:00 PM Outside time
5:30 PM
6:00 PM Dinner
6:30 PM
7:00 PM Family time
7:30 PM
8:00 PM Prep kids for bed
8:30 PM Kids’ bedtime
9:00 PM
9:30 PM
10:00 PM Parent’s bedtime

More Resources

How to Work from Home with Your Kids

CHADD Suddenly Working from Home

ADDitudemag Learning from Home Schedule

ADDitudemag Are you Corona Schooling? 

Kids Activities Blog Free School Resources

Today Show How to Home School

 

 

schedule

Family Schedule for Home School

 

COVID-19 Home Schooling Resources for “Traditional School” Parents

 

 

CoviD-19 Home Schooling resources

 

“Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.” – Shandra Rhimes

 

School is in session in homes across America. Parents are overwhelmed and underprepared for their new roles.  They are managing their work at home and “teaching” their kiddos.  Here are ideas and resources to help you navigate this new challenge.

 

Establishing routines

In the first few weeks, teachers are setting up virtual classrooms and getting prepared. Right now parents need to establish routines that promote learning.  It’s most important to set up daily routines like bedtimes and getting ready for the day.  Keep to your usual times for both your kiddos and you.  You will be better prepared to manage the ups and downs that come with new challenges.  Your kiddos will be more resilient to this change.

Here are some resources to reinforce your ideas about routines.

Leslie Josel and Order out of Chaos

Ann Dolan and Keeping Your Kids in Study Mode

Corona Schooling

Preparing for Online Learning

 

Learning online

Learning at home is a whole new element to you and your child.  Online learning can be positive because of fewer distractions and easier focus. Kiddos are drawn to computers.

  • Set up an environment for your child to keep focused. Creating multiples spots to sit comfortably with a laptop (not in bed) will make learning happen.
  • Comfortable headphones help with focus. These can be earbuds, airpods, or headphones.
  • Online learning could be consolidated with a single calendar such as Schoology.  Be sure your kiddo is looking at it daily like traditional school to keep up with assignments.

 

Acknowledge your child’s strengths

Parents know their kids strengths and challenges. Teachers often send different choices to do similar concepts. Distinguish what is required and what has options. Offer alternatives to assignments that are real life experiences. Baking with measurement or playing the Game of Life and being the banker are ways to experience math.

 

Along these lines, children with special needs and special education plans may need more diverse learning.  In this interim time with schooling, check in with Additudemag.com, Understood.org and your child’s teacher to learn more ways to teach a skill.

 

Always include downtime

Your new schedule will include recess twice a day. Take advantage of outside time for your kiddo to run and play. As the teacher, take this time for yourself too.

Individual work time can be time to read a book, time to work with crafts or time to work independently on a school related online resource. Independent work sets your child up to know more about their own strengths too.

 

Adjusting your expectations

Take the pressure off yourself as a parent during the COVID-19 outbreak.  You have been your child’s first teacher and continue to be successful doing the work of nurturing, supporting and educating.  You are doing amazing work so keep it up!

 

 

COVID-19 Making Your Time at Home Productive and Peaceful

home productive and peaceful

 

With the self imposed or CDC required time at home, you are thinking you will be at home for a prolonged period of time.  We live day to day because there is so much information coming at us and there is not much that is certain right now.  Let’s take this time to take care of ourselves, those around us and our community.  Using our time at home wisely helps us feel positive and productive.

  • Think self care and putting your own oxygen mask on first.  That includes keeping your routines going well. That is going to bed early for rest, eating healthy, and exercising. Remember, if you are sick to stay home and take care of yourself.  Keep these routines going even after this crisis passes. It’s a jump start to what we all want for a healthy life. I am biking and walking daily to keep fit and keep calm.
  • Take time to relax and time to reset. There is a lot on our minds! We have long to do lists, anxiety about health and family and work, and many decisions to make each day.  Having time for prayer and meditation helps.  Spiritual reading or time for meditation daily helps you sort through what is on your mind and get a bigger picture. On your phone, you can check out Headspace or the Mindfulness app. Both are free for use on your devices. Research shows how stress affects our immunity to illness.
  • Organizing helps us love what we have and create serenity in our homes.  Start small with a spot in your home to declutter.  It might be your desk or a drawer in your home office where you are working from home.  I have been peeking into drawers and letting go of what is not necessary. If you are feeling ambitious, start sorting your digital photos.  It’s a project that will bring you joy.
  • Connecting makes a difference right now. Reach out by text, phone or email to say hello, thinking of you and check on your connections. Keep especially connected to our older friends and community members by reaching out and checking on them.  Drop off what they need and be of service.
  • Give your brain a boost. This is a great time to learn. There are learning opportunities everywhere from Coursera to podcasts.  Keeping cognitively active keeps us engaged and moving forward to our goals for this year.
  • Working from home and your kiddos are schooling at home? Set up times for work and breaks. Creating and posting a schedule helps everyone know the plan for the day.  Make it fun with a schedule that includes breaks for recess for everyone.
  • Allocate and adhere to screen time and social media time for yourself and your kiddos. Mindless surfing leads to negative emotions at times.  Keep a common charging spot where everyone charges during certain times.
  • Distract everyone with 60s style family fun. Host a family art day, family dance party and family game night.  Having a new way to engage with your family makes for tons of fun!  Our newest family games include charades and Sync Up
  • Remember Keep Calm and Carry On. We are a resilient, resourceful and smart community. Sharing that positivity and kindness are the hallmarks of these crisis.  We are all in this together.