Save Time and $$: Stop Running Errands (Over and over and over…)

Perhaps you love running errands.  Maybe you love shopping.  I love neither.

I detest errands and shopping.  The expense, hassle and time spent.  But, of course, there are items  – food, clothing, supplies, etc. – that I need for my family, our home and my business.  Errands and shopping are a necessary evil.

I have been pondering how to spend less time, money and hassle on running errands and shopping.  I’ve talked to a lot of people also working on the same challenge, and we’ve learned a lot from each other!

Why Change Your Shopping and Errand Running Ways?  Here are a few examples of why:

  • I want to make more client time available in my schedule which means streamlining some recurring errands and tasks.
  • A friend travels for work, and is looking to streamline the household errands and shopping to spend more time together with family on weekends.
  • A client has chronic health problems that make shopping or running errands difficult, and lugging supplies into the house nearly impossible.

How to Change Your Ways:

  1. Answer the questions:  What tasks / errands do you regularly run?
    Grocery or groceries, cleaners, coffee, bakery, post office, bank, pharmacy?
  2. Pay Attention:  For a week, take note of Where Your time Goes.
    Are you running off to the same place multiple times in a week?  A couple of grocery runs, dropping off cleaning, a handful to trips to the ATM or bank?
  3. Which of those tasks / errands / places could you complete less often?  Just once weekly, or even monthly?
  4. If you HAVE to run errands, bundle what you can.  I bundle the Errands I absolutely have to run onto one morning per week. I don’t need to run them more than once a week.  These may include: the cleaners to drop off and pick up; gas up my van; drop off donations for myself or for clients; or in-person banking if necessary.

More Importantly, what Errands could you eliminate entirely?  This week, I asked my FB community: “What is one regular errand you have been able to outsource or delete?”

 

Groceries / Household Supplies:

  • Scan-n-Go app for Sam’s club has been a major game changer. My husband and kids even come with me now that I don’t have to wait in that line! (KB)
  • Mariano’s click list I order my groceries online call them from the parking lot and they load my groceries in the trunk. They even give me 2 free cookies. (ND)
  • Love Peapod! Use them almost exclusively because I do not like grocery shopping. (KK)
  • InstaCart app (favorite groceries will deliver!) (BK/CK)
  • Amazon Fresh for groceries when I don’t have time to go. (MK, KB)
  • Amazon Prime Pantry for cleaning supplies, toiletries and paper products delivered monthly (NR, DCD, MK, LB)
  • Amazon for lots of little purchases, saving time, gas, and most importantly, aggravation. (LB)
  • Melaleuca.com, my first foray into home delivered household supplies!  (Me!!)

Gifts / Cards:

  • Gift giving. Sending an electronic gift card to out-of-town family saves me 1.) having to go to the store to search for a gift, and 2.) having to wrap and make a trip to the USPS to mail said gift. (JB)
  • Send out cards for sending g thank you cards and such. You can even attach gifts. (MK)

Errands:

  • I reserve my library books online. That way, despite having to go pick it up my reads at the library, they are at least waiting for me at the circulation desk, and I don’t need to search for them in the stacks. I guess true outsourcing for this would be using an e-book for reading on a Kindle or Nook. 
  • Mail-order prescriptions in 3-month supplies. No more long lines at the pharmacy! (MJS)
  • I have Chewy.com deliver my 30 lb bag of dog food every 5 weeks and I get great reminder emails when they are ready to ship the next box. I can move the auto ship out another week if they still have food or ship immediately if they are almost out. No more trips to the pet store to break my back on dog food. (AB)
  • Mobile banking is a big timesaver.  (LB) 
  • Chase quick pay and deposit (BO)
  • Auto pay for bills. (MK)
  • Stitch Fix (Me!!!):  I just received my third monthly Stitch Fix. This is an on-line styling and shopping website that sends me an great outfit every month based on my own preferences.  I can choose to keep as many of the items they send or none at all.  For this self-proclaimed non-shopper, this is GOLD!!
  • Target.com (Me!!) I shop at Target every other week for household items like paper goods, toiletries and cleaning supplies.  Amazon Pantry doesn’t carry a few of the items we regularly buy, so recently, I set up my on-line account at Target.com, paid with my Target Red Card credit card for free shipping, and received my first shipment.  They were delivered to my door.  It was beautiful.

So, in the interest of saving time, money and hassle, what errands are you willing to outsource or delete entirely?!  Let’s Go!

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.

I have an article half written for publication this week regarding great questions a client asked about menu planning.  But that is not the point of this post.

Fact is, my thoughts on the menu-planning article were pushed away this morning by the recurring mantra “If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes”.  (I googled this quote, to give it and it’s author proper credit, but it is unclear as to who actually coined the phrase.)

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

This phrase has been rolling around in my head since last night when I co-taught a class with my friend Mark at the Oak Lawn Public Library on Bullet Journaling.  Bullet Journaling is a great productivity tool, and I promised some of the class participants that I would publish more about it soon.  But that is not the point of this post.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

People don’t attend classes because they want everything in their lives to stay exactly the same. People choose to learn about new things because they want to think or do things differently.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

So, what do you want to change about your life, and what are you willing to do differently to create that change?  Some times, change happens to us from the outside.  Sometimes we are the catalyst for change from inside.  In this instance, I am asking YOU what YOU want to change or make better.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

Last Fall, I was asked to make a really big change, to take on a responsibility that would help my community.  One of my very wise sons asked me 3 questions:

  • “What will change, from day to day, if you take this on?”
    • The answer was “I will have to make room in my schedule for these new responsibilities, but I can and am willing to do make the necessary modifications, to let go of a few roles and responsibilities to make room for this new one.”
  • “What GOOD can you do?”
    • This was the more important question for me.  Yes, this big responsibility might be time consuming and a little intimidating, but the idea of the GOOD that could come from the change was enough to inspire me to act.
  • And, “What did Dad (my husband) say when you told him?”  That one made us both laugh!

Change is exciting and motivating and energizing.  It can also be occasionally terrifying, uncomfortable and paralyzing.  Change can be difficult.

What if the change is the wrong change?

Yes, but what if it’s the right one?

What if change is awkward or hard or uncomfortable?

Yes, but what if it’s not?

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

There is an old adage that I read recently, “There are 7 frogs on a log, and one decided to jump. How many are frogs are on the log?”

The answer, of course, is 7.  Until that one frog actually jumps, there are still 7 frogs on the log.  Decision making is important, of course, but real change only comes from Action.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

So, think your thoughts, dream your dreams and make your plans. Then act.

Take that single small first step towards change on your own terms.  Jump off that log.  Because “If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

No, The First Step of Organizing is Not “Go Shopping”

Very often when we get the urge to organize, we start first with the urge to go and get more stuff!  “I need better containers!  New hangers!  Different bookshelves!  Cool new coat hooks, boxes, office supplies…”  well, the list goes on and on.  Lots of people go out and buy more stuff before they start actually organizing.
I understand this compulsion, friends.  I do.    Why do we want to shop first?
  • When faced with a cluttered space, of course it is more fun to think about the shiny new things in our “finished” space than to start with the hard choices, the heavy boxes, the dirty stuff!
  • Buying new things can lead to tangible improvement, something we can touch and point to and say “Look at how much better this space is now that we have xxxxx (fill in the blank).”
  • We may not know how to tackle our project, but we certainly know how to purchase things, either in a store or on-line.
  • If we already have clutter, it’s possible that “let’s go buy something new” is our usual response to a problem.
I recently worked with a lovely client in her laundry room. As we got started, she mentioned some great product ideas for shelving units and wall hooks for cleaning supplies, and I was all set to google those ideas on my phone, too, because Yes! That sounds waaaaaayyy more fun than tackling a pile of laundry!  HOWEVER… that is not how Organizing works.
 Here’s something to remember:  almost every organizing project requires at least some purging, some “letting go” of stuff.
The right organizing solution is almost never “Let’s bring more things into the space before we part with stuff!”
Instead:
  • Commit to the hard work, with a clear vision of how awesome your space will be when it’s organized!
  • Sort what you have.  Make decisions about what you want to keep and what needs to go away.  Actually bag up and get rid of the “go away” stuff.  Then figure out how to store what you have kept.  THEN you may want to shop.  However…
  • WAIT!! Get used to your newly organized space and stuff before you purchase something else!
  • Shop in your own stuff first – it’s very likely that you have what you need already.  As we organize, we may come across unused containers that we can re-purpose for our current project.   Or there are containers elsewhere in the house we can use.
  • Do your research, so you don’t end up contributing to your clutter.  Invest in good quality items, only as many as you need.  Keep receipts so that you can return items that don’t work in your space.
  • Do NOT buy new things that take up more space than the discarded items, or you will end up back in the same cluttered space you started in.
  • Look around your own space, or talk to friends and family before you spend the money!
  • If you like to shop, save the shopping as a perk for getting the hard work of sorting and purging done.
  • Keep a list of items you want to purchase or obtain.  Take the list with you when you shop, and stick with it!

 

So, let me be the little voice in your ear, your Jiminy Cricket encouraging you to do the right thing.   Do NOT shop first!  Do the hard work, then decide if you need to bring more stuff in to corral your stuff!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

When Our Morning Doesn’t Start As Planned…

I slept late this morning.  I woke early, as usual, but with a raging headache, not usual.  So I opted to stay in bed instead of taking a walk. I got another hour of sleep but woke up discombobulated.

We all may oversleep, or run late, or wake to find out that our 9 am meeting has been moved to 8 am instead.  And suddenly we need to get out the door as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here are a couple of strategies to try:

Read this post quickly and then put down the phone.
Or step away from the tablet, computer or TV.  Seriously.  You’re in a rush, why in the world are you looking at your screens? There is not time for that today.  Put down the tech (and make sure it’s charging if needed) and get moving.

For next time…
Use your technology for the tool it is.  Set alarms on your tech to ensure you wake up on time. Make sure your tech is charging before you hit the pillow.  Find apps for morning meditation or motivation, and create play lists to improve your morning routine.

Focus on NEEDS, not WANTS.
Focus on Survival tasks, not maintenance or progress.  Clothing, food, hygiene, shelter, safety.
Do you usually work out, exfoliate, meditate or phone a friend?  Nope, not today. Your choices flew out the window with your wake-up time. Catch up later, if your schedule allows, but for now, focus on Needs.  You need a shower, clothing, food.  Focus on those, then see what time you have left before you need to leave.

More importantly, for next time:
Pare down your morning routine so whether you’re on time or not, or its a work day or weekend, you don’t waste time or steps.  Take care of your needs (and your kids’, if applicable) first, and then move on to maintenance or progress steps.  Shower first, get dressed and grab some breakfast, THEN start a load of laundry or check your email.

Rely on a Uniform.
For the mornings when you’re in a rush, reach for a tried-and-true favorite.  Save creativity for another day when you’re not in a rush.  We pay more attention to what we wear than anyone else does anyway (except for that one co-worker….), so reach for an ensemble that you know works.

For next time…
Establish a handful of go-to  outfits.  Professionally speaking, I have an informal uniform for client appointments and some dressier ensembles for meetings and presentations.  If time allows, I stretch the fashion boundaries, but if I’m in a hurry, I know what works.

A client referred to her summer wardrobe as “The Uniform”.  I thought she was referring to her profession, but she said “The Mom Uniform – neutral shorts or skorts, a v-neck t-shirt in a range of colors, cute sandals or sneaks… you know, the mom uniform”.  I inspected my own dresser drawers and I realized she was right.  Looking around at a soccer game a few days later, sure enough – mom uniforms.  I consider this a good thing. I have found clothes that work and are fun, are easy to pick out every day and pack for a trip.  Find that combination for yourself and run with it.

A few more tips:

  • Select a go-to group of accessories, too.  I have a dish on my desk with my watch, standard earrings and a few favorite bracelets.  Which leads me to:
  • Have just one place for your essentials (phone, keys, wallet, etc.), and make a habit around keeping them there.
  • Stock up on healthy and portable breakfasts.
  • Keep your gas tank filled, to keep your morning commute moving.  Make your own coffee, for the same reason.

Don’t make a habit of these rushed mornings, but if you find yourself in a hurry, give these strategies a try!

When Reality Meets the To-Do List: It’s Time To Act!

Last week, I found myself on the phone actually agreeing to a Demolition Date for my kitchen.  

Demo Date.  That’s what it is called.

I arranged for a team of people to come in and disassemble our kitchen as we know it, so it can be reassembled with hardwood floors, new cabinets and appliances, paint and lighting.

I’m very excited about these improvements.  And terrified.  And just a wee bit overwhelmed (especially considering that now the demo date is now just hours away).

In conversation with a friend over the weekend, she mentioned that Saturday was the day “Reality meets the list”.  For a week, she had jotted down ideas, planned, imagined, strategized, categorized, prioritized, etc., but now it was time for action.

As I packed up the kitchen this afternoon, my Reality Met My List, too.  No more planning and lists and thinking.  Now it was time to open the cabinets and finish putting things in boxes and baskets for the next few weeks.

So, if you are working on projects, whether at home or at work, professionally or personally, there comes a moment when we need to implement our plan.  Commit.  Execute.  DO!

Don’t Act Too Early.  
I found myself saying “I leaped before I looked” to my son when I asked him to help me move something while my arms were full of stuff.  So, Act, but don’t Act Too Soon!

On the Other Hand…

Don’t Think Too Long.
Have you heard the term “The Paralysis of Analysis”?  We can overthink something for so long that opportunities pass or situations change before we ever get to act or travel or grow.  My Dad says “Do SOMETHING, even if it’s wrong!”.  I wouldn’t want to be wrong, but the point is to DO something.

See the paint shown to the right?  I want a dark color for the kitchen walls, but I’m a little nervous. So the best way to figure out if we will like it was to buy a sample and paint the wall.  I can wonder all I want, but to make a decision and make progress, we needed ACTION (and I like it!)!

Be Reasonable.
My to-list contains EVERYTHING I need to do, and sometimes I just use it as a dumping place for my ideas and tasks, which means the list for any given day can be ridiculously long and unrealistic.  Putting 28 hours worth of work or tasks on the list for a 24 hour period is dooming myself to failure.

Make the list, but also look at your day and week and month, and determine what you can reasonably get done.

Just Do It. Implementation is Key.
We can plan and discuss and research a topic until we are blue in the face, but without action, it remains just a topic.

And now… I need to go and pack!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

It’s May! Is Your Head Spinning, Too?

Hooooo boy, it’s May!

May seems like the busiest month of the year for us. Until a few years ago, I thought this was only my opinion, until a wise mom whose children are a little older than mine made the same observation to me.

May brings school picnics and field trips, weddings, graduations, concerts and end-of-the-school-year award events.  The school year is wrapping up, but we still have finals!  And as some activities wind down, others are gaining speed!
We have family members gearing up for house sales and moving.  We’re looking at camps and activities, and making summer travel plans with a college reunion, work conference, house guests, and weekends away.

And all this on top of – Oh Right! – the activities of daily living.

So, if you feel like your head is spinning this month, too – and it’s only the first week! – take a few moments today or tomorrow to make some plans, take care of business and set yourself up to have a great and busy May!

Here are a few ways to succeed:

  • Maintain your healthy habits.  When we are the busiest and want to skip our daily exercise,good night’s sleep or healthy eating is just when we need most to keep up!
  • Grab your calendar, pull up a seat and make a plan. Make sure all your events and responsibilities are listed.  Look ahead and take care of scheduling snags now instead of waiting until later!  (For example, 3 cars for 4 drivers and the teenager has job training this Thursday.  Time to get creative, now instead of Thursday!)
  • Pare Down. Review your To-Do list, and move everything that doesn’t absolutely have to be done right now to a different day, week or month .  Make notes for next month, when the schedule loosens up.
  • Review your upcoming events or responsibilities, and note the details and the other follow-up steps!  Jot down place and time of course, but the other steps, too!  For example, we received an invitation to a graduation party out of town and we will be unable to attend.  You and I know our job is not done when we RSVP – there is a card and gift to purchase and mail.  Add those shopping items and errands-to-run to the Master To-Do List so we don’t forget!
  • Run through the wardrobe options with EVERYONE!  Graduation? First Communion?  End of Year Concert?  Make sure NOW that the dress shoes still fit, the suit jacket isn’t stained, the favorite tie is back from the cleaner, etc.
  • Hooray, You Did It!” x 10!  Remember Christmas?  And how you have a few extra hostess gifts stashed, or generic greeting cards and gift cards?  Same idea, stock up on some gender neutral “Hooray, You Did It!” cards, gift cards, and bottles of wine for Just In Case.
  • Be Grateful, too.    In addition to the congratulations cards, grab a handful of Thank You Notes for teachers, car-pool buddies, coaches, etc.
  • Reach Out and Touch Someone.  Go ahead and make your appointments:  hair cuts, carpet cleaning, cholesterol screening, camp physical, summer dentist appointments – the list is endless.  Make the calls this week (before everyone else does), and note the events on your calendar.
  • Enjoy! The whole point of this super busy month is to celebrate all of life’s events!  Celebrate!

Put Stuff Away Before You Take Anything Else Out

Have you ever noticed?  When we are excited about an upcoming adventure / event / road trip, our first reaction is to jump in and start pulling things out to get ready.

Perhaps we are packing for a trip.  We’re leaving in the morning, so we run to the closet or dresser drawers, and start pulling out clothes and piling them on top of a potentially already cluttered dresser or bed.

Sometimes, we have a project for work that must be done right away, and we spread it out on top of the projects already on our desk or work space.

Maybe we’re famished and we need to start dinner, so we pull things out of the fridge to the already crowded counter and then wonder why cooking is such a hassle.

AHHHHH!!! Let me suggest a better way:

  • STOP!
  • Put your stuff away before you start pulling more things out.
  • Just 5 or 10 minutes of clearing out and cleaning up will help you find focus and clarity and a clear work space!
  • As you tidy up, craft your packing list or project plan in your mind.   Then, when your mind and space are de-cluttered, jump in to action!

Let’s go back to packing for that trip.  Take 5 minutes and hang up that pile of stuff on the dresser or bedpost (you know, THAT pile).  Locate and put away your clean laundry, pulling out items you want to take along with you.  Then pull out your suitcase or satchel and get packing!

Need to pack up more orders for shipment?  Finish the ones from yesterday and load them in the van.  THEN… start on the new ones.  A clear work space is always going to make the job go more smoothly!

Back to that new project for work?  Take the 5 minutes to clear up the old project, so the two don’t get mixed up.

Friends coming for dinner, and you just got home with all the groceries? Before you turn on the oven or open one package, take 5 minutes and put your groceries away, setting aside the supplies you need to make dinner on a tray or cookie sheet, and wipe clean the counter.  Just those few moments of putting away and getting ready will make your meal prep a lot easier!

I always encourage action instead of inaction, but we should also be taking the RIGHT action. So, clear and clean up before you leap in and give your next actions some thought.  Then go ahead and jump!

Your Stuff Needs an AWAY.

We all have stuff.  Stuff we need, stuff we use, stuff we love*.  Stuff.

(*if anyone can tell me who crafted the ‘Need, Use, Love’ criteria, I would love to know!)

Sometimes we have stuff we don’t need or use or love, and then our Stuff turns into Clutter.

 

Perhaps you have Stuff that you do need and use, but it is scattered around the house.  In the way, on surfaces, in bags, on top of other things. In this case, your Stuff becomes visual clutter.  We know we need to keep it, but it still drives us crazy.


Your Stuff needs an AWAY.
Once we determine what Stuff is needed and useful, we need to establish an AWAY, a spot or maybe multiple spots in our house for our Stuff to live.
Then we need to create and maintain the habit of actually putting our Stuff AWAY.
We put our Stuff AWAY…
  • to take good care of our Stuff so we don’t have to buy our Stuff again;
  • so we can find our Stuff again when we need it; and
  • to give our eyes a break and our homes a breath of clean and fresh air.
Ideas to consider:
  • If you have look around your home and notice piles of Stuff, we first ask – is that Stuff or Clutter?  If it’s Stuff, it needs an AWAY.  If it’s Clutter it needs to be purged.
  • We need to establish an AWAY for our Stuff that is convenient to where we use our Stuff. Obviously, we keep cooking and food items in the kitchen.  But we can be more specific, as in, keeping the coffee cups in the cabinet above the coffee maker which is also right next to the sink.
  • We also need to establish an AWAY that is convenient for the other related Stuff that goes with our Stuff.  So, in the coffee analogy, I might also keep the cream and sugar near the coffee maker and mugs, and the travel mugs nearby, too.
  • An AWAY for our stuff helps us decide about quantity.  For example: to me, one large dresser drawer full of t-shirts is a reasonable amount.  So, when I put my clean laundry AWAY and the drawer is too full (perhaps a recent shopping trip?), the boundaries of the drawer remind me of a reasonable t-shirt collection size, and I purge a few.
  • When we have a reliable AWAY and habit around putting our Stuff AWAY, we can check the AWAY location to determine if we need to buy more of our Stuff.  Again, using the coffee analogy, when the KCup holder (the AWAY) is empty, I know it is time to buy more KCups.  Imagine if I randomly stashed KCups all over the kitchen.  I wouldn’t know what I have, nor would I use it very well when I needed it.
  • Consider this idea from the other direction – If your stuff doesn’t have a home – an AWAY – it’s likely clutter.
Make the habit to put your Stuff AWAY.  Once a day, a couple times a week?  Put your Stuff Away, and enjoy the clutter-free space.  A clear space signals to your brain that you’re done, that work is complete, that the room is clean, etc.  A clear space can be both calming and energizing!
To sum up:
  • Decide what is Stuff and what is Clutter;
  • establish an AWAY for your Stuff;
  • establish good habits around putting your Stuff AWAY,
  • so you can take good care of your Stuff and enjoy a less cluttered home .
Have a great week!

Life’s Stormy Weather: Cleaning Up and Getting Ready

I presented to a church group last week, and as part of the meeting, they were reflecting on Proverbs 31:21, “She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows, because they are all dressed in warm clothes”.   As I pondered the verse, I realized that we all have Snow, we all have difficult seasons in our life.

This idea has been rolling around in my head these last few days, as friends and family struggle with life’s stormy weather, and the clean-up afterwards. Even we Klimczaks are cleaning up from especially busy days, and preparing for more busy times in the next few weeks.

We all have to endure “Snow” from the scripture, the stormy weather of life.  We have cold, dark, uncertain or tumultuous times:  big life events or small, personal hardships and tragedies, major work deadlines, illness or the death of a loved one.  If you are enduring ‘stormy weather’ right now, know that I am praying for you.

Here’s the toughest part, I think.  Regardless of our storms, no matter how vulnerable or maxed out we feel, the rest of the world just marches on.  And as hard as it seems, we have to catch up. Today, let’s talk about the after-storm clean up, and preparing for every day life plus the possibility of the next storm.

If you’re coming through your storm, you may feel tired, sad, drained, unmotivated.  Focus on Survival first: Food, clothing, shelter and safety.

  • Take a shower, get dressed, accomplish your usual morning routine.
  • Get something to eat and something to drink.  Take care of You.
  • Make the bed.  It’s amazing how accomplished we feel after such a simple task.
  • Open up the blinds and curtains.  Close your eyes and bask in the daylight for a moment or two. Maybe even crack a window open for some fresh air.  Breathe deeply.   If the day is dark and gloomy, turn on some soft lighting as you get moving.

Now, Maintenance tasks:

  • Grab a notebook.  I guarantee, as you move around your space today with your thoughts set on clearing “storm damage” and restoring order, ideas will occur to you that need to be noted!
  • Start a load of laundry.  Or fold a load.   Ah, laundry.  That never ending pursuit of clean clothes. Ours are clean but heaped in the big cart to be folded.  So this morning, I started a load and folded a couple.   This task took all of 5 minutes once I set out to complete it.
  • Clean the kitchen counter so you can make coffee, of course!, but also so you have some place to put the groceries you’re about to buy!
  • Craft a quick grocery list and head to the store.  This is not a 2-week buying extravaganza, this is the “let’s get through the next few days” trip.    And did you know there are flowers at the grocery?  Bought some tulips today.  Made me smile.  (There is also chocolate, specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, on sale right now.  Just sayin’…)
  • Take a coupe more deep breaths.
  • Put the groceries away, grabbing something for your self for lunch and leaving something out for dinner.
  • Feeling better yet?
  • Check the mail that has piled up, toss or recycle as much as possible, add the action items (add them to your list, of course, like “pay bills”, and “make appointment for car service”), and schedule time to complete those action.
  • Check the email, purging all but the essentials.  Add the action items to your to-do list.   Put out fires and flag emails for later, add those to your action list then move on.
  • Accept help.  A friend offers to drive the car pool, drop off a meal or run an errand?  YES! And remember, sometimes the storm is ours, and sometimes it is someone else’s, so be ready to help out when you can, too.

The challenge with life’s stormy weather is that we don’t usually know when the storms will hit.  So it behooves us to quickly recover from life’s ups and downs and get back to normal, so we’re better prepared when the next storm rolls around.

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
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National Organize Your Home Office Day: My High Tech Me Project

Did you know?  The second Tuesday in March is National Organize Your Home Office Day.

I’m entertained by the fact that, thanks to technology, I started this blog seated at my favorite satellite office, the Corner Bakery near my home.  Not to be confused with my favorite Conference Room, the Beverly Bakery, also near my home and where I take my breakfast meetings.  The real irony is that I’m avoiding baked goods, but I really love these places!  And now, I’m home in my actual office.

These “home office” musings remind me that my “Home Office”, or in my case, just my “Office”, is anywhere that I am at that moment, thanks to technology.  There is a dark side of tech, though:

I’ve been struggling with the myriad methods of communication available, and how to manage them all well.  For example, last summer, a friend asked “Did you get my message?”, so I went back to check my:

  • recent texts;recent voice mails on my mobile phone;
  • recent voice mails on our home phone;
  • FB messages on my personal page, and
  • FB messages on my business page;
  • professional email;
  • personal email;
  • at the time, cub scout pack email (as I was still Cubmaster and she is a scouting friend);
  • twitter; and
  • actual snail mail, and my really big white mail box because she lives down the street, and could have left something for me.

Ridiculous.  Not the message or the friend (she is lovely), but the number of places I had to check for communications.  Ugh.

Fast forward: I spent the first 7 weeks of 2017 working on what I called my High Tech Me project. My plan was to make the moving parts of my office experience work better together.  To organize my “office” and clear communication clutter, I organized my tech.  After assessing my needs, I (just to list a few steps):

  • streamlined my IPad and IPhone apps, and set up my laptop so all the devices communicate with each other;
  • set up my devices to update automatically overnight, and installed yet another external hard drive;
  • purchased a few more chargers and surge protectors for the places we all use them the most (and my chargers are pink as the only female in the house, to easily identify who swiped my stuff);
  • fully embraced Gmail for my personal email – it’s easy and has an app!, and I left behind our old email provider that doesn’t have an app and regularly froze up or kicked me out;
  • wi-fi enabled my new IPad (woot woot);
  • adjust my privacy and notification settings on all my social media and email accounts, to better manage my information;
  • explored Evernote, and now use it more fully to organize my thoughts and notes;
  • unsubscribed from dozens of retailers and email mailing lists; and
  • re-established a relationship with Siri on my apple devices, and while we still don’t always see eye to eye, we’re making progress (and Siri is now an Australian male voice and I refer to him as Nigel.  Whatever works.).

On this National Organize Your Office Day, remember these important points:

  • Technology is amazing and overwhelming, but it is just a tool.   It’s here to make our lives better, so set yours up to improve your life and not detract from it (and if you don’t know how, ask my web guru Claire and she will say – When in Doubt, Google it Out!)
  • BACK IT UP.  To the cloud, to a hard drive, to your lap top.  Back up your information. And get a case for your phone.  Yes, you,
  • Keep current on your device udpates, all the time.
  • De-Clutter or streamline what you can. Unsubscribe, send all your emails to one address, get rid of your home phone (we’re working on this one!), mirror your devices so you only have to remember one set-up, etc.
  • Make maintenance a habit.  I have actually added a line item to my daily routine to remind me to check different communication methods until it becomes a habit.