You’re Smart. And Smart People Make SMART Goals

Make goals ACHIEVABLE.
  • Make sure that the goal you set out to achieve is actually do able.  I can change the world, it’s true.  However… I probably can’t grow a foot taller, join a professional sports team or run a marathon in the next week.
  • Remember, too, that achievement requires action.  We can’t just sit there and expect things to happen.  Goals go nowhere without action.  Create an action plan to achieve your goals.
  • Let’s take a moment here to remember:  we can only make goals for ourselves; and we cannot force goals on others. Our goals may be in conjunction with another person’s goal, like a business plan with a business partner, or a healthy living plan for the whole family.
  • Break down your goals to make them achievable.  Big goals are a  series of small goals, or, broken down even further, a series of tasks or steps.  Set a big goal, then break it into bite-size actionable steps.
  • Make your goals achievable, but also use them to stretch you as a person! Don’t make your goals too small!

Make goals TIMELY.

  • Set a time frame for your goals.  A SMART Goal needs to be timely, time specific.  “I will achieve xyz goal by March 1st” or “next Tuesday.”
  • Every goal needs a deadline, or else its just a wish.  Set a deadline, and then make mid-goal benchmarks to check your progress.  Make the goal time-frame long enough but not too long!

National Clean Off Your Desk Day: Whadda YOU looking at?

No, really, what do you see?

This time every year, we have a chance to review, refresh and de-clutter our work space with National Clean Off Your Desk Day, celebrated annually on the second Monday in January.

I’ve published many articles about organizing your work surface, but today I suggest you lift your eyes, and organize your visual work space (your view).

Look up from your desk for this one.  What do you see? Look straight ahead, side to side. Order or chaos?  Positive messages or nagging responsibilities?  Simple beautiful things, or old and outdated things?  We are all influenced by our visual fields, but we can also become overwhelmed with visual clutter.

Let’s make it better!  Think about this statement:  “I want to see that which I want to attract.” For me, I want to look at a view that is simple, streamlined, functional and beautiful!

Spend some time cleaning off your desk space today (yes, you still need to do that!), and then Look Up! and apply the same steps (from Julie Morgenstern’s SPACE Method) to taking care of your view!


SORT your stuff into categories:
Clear the stuff off that message board or wall in front of you.   Yes, all of it.

Then, sort the stuff into categories, for example:  Photos, memos, messages, task reminders (bills on paperclips to send in or pay, post it notes with “call Bob”, or “order baby shower gift”), decor / tchotchke / kitsch, things to go elsewhere or to other people, etc.


Ok, friends. Time to get real.  Let’s go back to the statement “I want to see that which I want to attract.” Keep only the items that encourage, nourish and support your work.  Put away the rest, or purge it completely.

If you are not ready to part with all the stuff, consider a seasonal visual work space / view: swapping out your photos or inspirational messages every week / month or season.

(I like my Chrome extension Momentum: every day I’m provided a new beautiful photo, an inspirational quote and a space to jot down my intention for the day.  Then I see it whenever I sit down to work at my computer.)

A few words about… Post-It Notes.  I have a love/hate relationship with Post-It Notes. Post-Its are meant to be momentary reminders.  However, when we use Post-Its a lot, we start to look past them.  When I ask clients about the notes all over their work space, I’ll hear “Oh, they’ve been there so long, I don’t even see them anymore.”  Then WHY ARE THEY THERE?

So, jot a note on a Post-It Note, and then do something with it.  An event reminder?  Put it in your calendar.  A phone number?  Enter it into your contacts.  A task reminder or creative idea?  Add the task to your to do list, or the idea to your idea file.  AND THEN TOSS THE NOTE!!



When assigning a home and containerizing the stuff in our field of vision, consider keeping only those things that are useful and beautiful.  Keep pictures that make you smile (only a few), inspirational messages (only a few), and a handful of little items that evoke positive memories or creativity.  Add a plant, if you’d like!

Consider boundaries – limit your visual clutter to a small space in your line of sight or just one shelf or tray for kitschy items.

We want a nice view, but not too nice!  Have nice things to look at, but not so nice that they pull your focus from your work.  I love my vision board (thanks, MTO!), but if I look at it all the time, I take it for granted.  It’s more inspiring for me to intentionally look at it, and then set is aside and move on to my tasks.

Now, set a reminder to do this again every few months, to keep your View looking good!

OK, daylight’s wasting! Get on with cleaning off that Desk!

You Can Change the World in 17 Minutes (or less)

Big progress and big changes can be made in little pieces.

Too often, we believe that great progress towards a goal can only be made with a great investment of time and effort.   We get stuck in perfectionist thinking, believing that we can only make progress or work on a project if we have a bunch of uninterrupted hours all together (that doesn’t sound like my typical day or week, how about you?).

However, maintenance and progress towards goals really can happen in bits and pieces of time, in 5 or 10 or 15 minute increments, fit in around all the other tasks and responsibilities we take care of  on a regular basis.

For example, consider the 7th game of the 2016 World Series.  

I would love to know what was said to the Chicago Cubs team during the 17 minute rain delay in the 7th game of the World Series back in November.

If you were watching the game that night (as myself, my family and most of the cities of Chicago and Cleveland plus millions of others were), you may remember the rain delay.  

It was a late night with an extra inning, so when the rain delay was called, I decided to go to bed.  In those 17 minutes, I plugged in my phone to charge, brushed my teeth, put on my PJs and hit the pillow.

As I drifted off, I heard my husband and sons start to chat again and I figured (correctly) that the delay was over  and the game had resumed.  So Of Course I got up and watched the fantastic end.

17 minutes.  The team all said how important and pivotal the talk in the weight room was, how simple and moving words made the difference.

17 Minutes.

And here we are, in 2017.  Let’s appreciate that symmetry.  As we begin 2017, what can we learn from the 17 minute rain delay?

Do not underestimate the power and potential and progress that can be found in small bits of time.  5, 10, 15 minutes?  17 Minutes?  I’m just sayin’!

So, what can we do in 17 minutes (or less) that can help us have a better, healthier, kinder, more productive, more organized 2017?

  • Take our vitamins; 
  • Take a power nap; 
  • Take a shower; 
  • Make our bed; 
  • Run an errand; 
  • Text or call a friend when we think of them; 
  • Pay a bill, either in person or on-line; 
  • Pray; 
  • Respond to an email ( I just booked a presentation for April.  2 minutes.  done!); 
  • Delete a bunch of emails; 
  • Unsubscribe from a catalog or retailer; 
  • Steep a cup of tea; 
  • Clean out the fridge; or 
  • Fold a couple loads of laundry, and put it all away.

And per my awesome friends and readers:

  • Reorganize our purse or bag (receipts; discard or file, update or toss notes/ lists, change, bills in place;
  • Clean that pile of mail off the printer;
  • Clean out junk mail (both physical and email), as well as
  • Empty the recycling bin (virtual and physical);
  • Throw out the garbage in the car (No, C., no judgement here!);
  • 10 minute pick ups in each room;
  • Take 5 min when you use the bathroom to wipe it all down;
  • 10 min quick clean up of my desk;
  • Gather dishes(coffee cups!) from various reading spots and put in dishwasher;
  • Empty and reload dishwasher, makes a huge difference;
  • Go through the house, gather shoes, put in correct bedrooms;
  • Do a once thru the house to pick up items and put them where they BELONG; and
  • Stash a bag on every floor for donations, add to the bag as you come across things to purge!

Imagine with me, friends.  If we were open to taking little steps instead of waiting to take great strides to our goals.  We could feel the rush of accomplishment in a steady glow, stay motivated, makes changes mid-stride. Let’s think about 2017, and all the great progress we can make in 17 minute-or-less pieces!

Here’s to a great 2017!


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
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Did You Start That Other List Yet? The After-Christmas List?

As I write this, I have tea and cinnamon muffins next to me and Christmas carols on the speaker.  We shopped today, went out to lunch and I even caught a short winter’s nap.

And I started my After-Christmas list.

This is not your “Resolutions List”, this is the “hey, here is a great idea but I won’t have time to act on it until after the Holidays” list.

You see, I have ideas all the time about new ways to do things or make things better, but I don’t always have time to act on those ideas.  And time is an even more scarce and precious commodity during the holiday season, especially this last week before Christmas.

So, as I deck the halls and wrap the gifts and do my daily tasks and work with clients, I also make notes of things I want to do but NOT RIGHT NOW.

For example, current tasks and projects on the After-Christmas List include but are not limited to:

  • Move all my personal emails from my old email address to the new gmail address (I expect this to take a while!!);
  • Unsubscribe from almost every retailer email campaign;
  • Send out my business New Years Cards (don’t have to go out until next week!);
  • Review and cull my reading pile;
  • Reorganize the laundry room, after all the Christmas gifts are out of it!;
  • Wrap the gifts for my side of our extended family (we’re celebrating with them the end of the month); and
  • Teach my teenager how to do his laundry.

All of these ideas are really good ideas.  Important ideas.  Ideas I want to implement.  But NOT THIS WEEK.   This week, there are parties to attend, cookies to bake (and eat), White Christmas waiting for me on the DVR (I’ve never seen it!!!), and more fun, friends and family to appreciate.

So, this week, I challenge you to:

  • Focus on Christmas and your holidays, and not get distracted!;
  • Take note of the new ideas that occur to you; but
  • Prioritize your activities, taking care of the tasks that need to be done this week, and putting the other ones on your After-Christmas List!

Merry Christmas to All, and to all a good night.

Practice Good Elf-I-Mean-Self Management This Week


More, more, more, more, more, more.

This time of year, there is just More.

More events to attend, more pretty things to see, more fun to be had, more snacks and yummy things to eat, more service projects,  more items on the to-do lists, more stress and struggles.   More fun, sure, but also so many more expectations  for our time and energy and efforts.

But – wait!  We were already busy, even before there was More!  And now we are living our regular lives while trying to be great little Elves, bringing Christmas to our friends and family!  Aghhhh!!!!

Chances are, with this busy Christmas Season,  you are feeling a little maxed out, a little overwhelmed.  Chances are,  you are wearing your Elf-I-Mean-Self out.

If we are going to manage all those other things this week, first we need to manage our Elf-I-Mean-Self better.  This week, in the midst of all the MORE that you have… might I gently suggest that you spend a little time taking care of you?    (and I will try, too, I promise!)

Try these:

  • Grab a cup of hot cocoa, and take a few minutes to plan your day.
  • Collect all the stuff you need to take with you today into a tote, add a snack or two and a bottle of water, and go put it in the car right now while you are thinking about it.
  • Take a few more minutes, and look ahead at your week, and start smoothing out the bumps now!
  • Now, act!  I have to say, nothing saps my energy quicker than the mental nagging of those tasks that need to be completed.  Once you’ve made your plan for the day and week, implement it!
  • Embrace More short cuts.  Get More take-out? You bet.  Gift Cards and Gift Bags?  Yes, please. Send your Christmas Cards out the week after Christmas?  Go ahead.
  • Sing More Christmas carols.
  • Cut your Elf-I-Mean-Self some slack.
  • Take More deep breaths.
  • Drink More water.
  • Eat more actual food, and at regular intervals.
  • Take your vitamins.
  • Get More rest.
  • Accept More help.

And now, take care of your inner-Elf, wrap up this blog and go do something for You!

Right Now, What’s The Right Thing To Do? (a.k.a. Don’t aggravate your loved ones)

Last week in my newsletter, I stated:a755a998abbfc3e4597f01a9ba15e829

“Let me recommend – focus on the most used areas of your home.  For a Thanksgiving event, those areas would be:

  • the entryway / coat closet; 
  • kitchen; 
  • dining room; 
  • family rooms; and 
  • guest bathrooms. 

“Now is NOT the time to pull out everything from the attic, garage, or basement storage room.  Restore order and touch up those public spaces this week, and leave the other projects until after Thanksgiving!”


Apparently, this statement resonated with a number of my readers, thanks for your comments.  One readers specifically asked if I had grown up in her home, as her dad would take the day off before Thanksgiving every year to “help”, and would instead start a huge and messy project , driving her mother crazy.



We all want to help, we all want to act.  But we all need Priorities, Focus, Big-Picture planning and we don’t always have it!

My to-do list is long.  I may never complete it,  since I add more tasks all the time.  But since I always have tasks and to-dos to complete, I have to decide   “RIGHT NOW, What’s The Right Thing To Do?”

I think this happens to us all, to some extent.  We have so many tasks and to-dos and ideas that we want to act upon, we could ACT all day but still not get to our important work.

So here’s how to figure out What’s The Right Thing to Do Right Now.

Write Things Down!  Write down, either on paper or digitally, ideas and tasks and to-dos.  Don’t edit them, just write them down.  Your busy brain will thank you.

Not All Actions Are Created Equal.  It’s often difficult to know what the next step is.  Sometimes we feel like we should be doing SOMETHING, but we don’t want to think through the process, so we just dive into a project or task and end up making a bigger mess.  THINK first, and Act Well.

Often, it’s the simplest thing.  We tend to over-think things.  Sometimes the best thing to do is to shower, put some clothes on, get a drink of water, make a phone call, make dinner, leave the house, send the email.

Pick Today’s List.  Look at the to-do list, and choose.  Last week, a client asked if we could come up with a plan for our 3 hours together and talk through the planning process.  So, on her dry erase board, we:

  • wrote down all the tasks that were on her mind to complete that day;
  • asked how long each task typically takes, and how long to allot for it (finish tagging files – 20 minutes; file receipts – 30 minutes; hang art in home office – 45 minutes, etc.);
  • determined if any of them were attached to a specific time (like a 3 o’clock conference call, or starting the crock pot to warm dinner 2 hours before dinner time);
  • and finally, ordered the list by attaching a number to each item (#1, #2, #3, etc., and moved a few things to the next day’s list).
  • This was an interesting exercise.  We ended up adding other tasks in, and we ran over a few time estimates, but we certainly learned a lot about the process and the client.

Group Similar Tasks.  
A class participant explained how her home seemed to be full of distractions and asked me how to keep focus.  We talked about a couple of strategies, and she chose “set aside a half an hour for house tasks, then a half an hour for paying bills, a half an hour for cooking and cleaning up the kitchen” etc., instead of hopping from task to task without ever feeling like she had completed a project.

What tasks on your list only need elapsed time?
 Start the laundry, start the crock pot, send out the emails and ask for responses by a certain day this week.  And then ignore the results until the next time you need to check in.

Ask.  Communicate with the folks around you, whether at home or at work.  
You may feel some tasks and your part of the overall plan are high priority, but some one else may see other tasks and other parts as higher priority.  You both may be correct, but communication will help everyone get the right things done.

Make an “After Thanksgiving” or “January” list now.
 Looking at all the tasks and to-dos on the Master list, determine which ones can wait.   Today, I was reminded that I need to make an annual doctor appointment for February or March, but I waiting until January to make that call. I wrote it down, so I won’t forget, and will worry about it later.
Manage your time and yourself better by asking often “Right Now, What’s The Right Thing To Do?”.

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
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Tech and Back To School: Update your Home, Habits and Devices

c89201_usb_phone_pakGetting your Tech and Home organized for family productivity is a great idea any time,  but especially for Back To School! Read on for 11 tips for getting your Tech and Home in order!

Update Your Home for Tech.

  • Centralize your office supplies and printers.  Have you noticed?  As our capacity to work anywhere in the house has expanded, so has the spread of office supplies and clutter. Establish one printer space and a wireless network for printing.  Then, collect all the supplies stashed all over the house, and create office supply (pens, papers, post-its, etc.) storage near the printer.  This will: save time searching for items; save money when we can find what we need and don’t have to buy more (I found lots of new items that we can use for back-to-school); and cut stress when we don’t have cabinets in every room dedicated to half-used notebooks or derelict writing supplies.
  • Work Stations Are Good. Consider your favorite library or coffee house – flat work space, no storage.  Have specific spots available for family members to work – home office, kitchen counter, traditional desks –  and let folks be flexible and share the spaces.  At these specific spots, make sure there is good lighting, access to an outlet, a comfortable chair (or make it a standing work station, also awesome!).   Keeping specific work stations makes it easier to find that rogue charging cord or book left behind.51L838PvfDL._AC_US200_
  • Desks are Bad.  Have you also noticed? New desks have changed a lot.  New desks (more likely to be called a Work Station) don’t offer drawers these day, and that’s a good thing (see the centralized supplies idea above!).  Traditional desks with multiple drawers full of paper and supplies and clutter are just waiting to drive us crazy!
  • Establish a Charging Station.  Find a convenient-to-everyone counter or shelf, NOT on your surge protector with usbkitchen counter where you need to make dinner; add storage for cords not being used; and a surge protector (new ones include USB ports).  We mounted ours on the wall, to cut down on counter clutter.  And here’s an idea – if your cords “wander off” sometimes, like mine, label the chargers and cords with a sharpie or label maker, or choose a color per person (once I started buying pink earphones and cords, they stopped disappearing.  Go figure!).



Update your Habits.

  • Pick Your Battles.  In recent history, I have advocated for keeping tech and charging out of bedrooms.  The light of technology devices disrupts our sleep signals, texting and notifications can occur 24/7, and even the fields generated by electronics can disrupt sleep in some sensitive folks.
         However, slowly the chargers have moved into the bedrooms, which aggravates me, but my 16 and 18 year old offer solid arguments, and need to learn to manage themselves.  I am reminded often that the world they are growing up in looks a lot different than the one I grew up in.  So, I have stopped pushing so hard on that, though I still encourage screen-free time and getting enough sleep.
  • Using your cool new charging station, make charging your devices a habit, part of your routine.  We have extra charging cords stashed in the car and at work, just in case!
  • Use On-Line Portals for School. Most schools have on-line parent / student portals these days, and some teachers have websites for their classrooms, where students can access homework and educational resources.  Make checking on things part of your habits (for example, I have a item on my daily to-do list to remind me to check the on-line announcement page for the high school).
  • Passwords and Log-Ins. Keep a page for each child’s passwords and login info for their student portals and on-line resources (these often go missing in our house!).


Update your Devices.

  • Buy the warranty.  Since our tech devices go with us everywhere, chances increase that something bad may happen to them.
  • Stay up to date!  Automate your device or computer udpates, or add “check updates” etc. to your weekly routine.41DGbXhN5zL._AC_US160_
  • Keep the college laptop safe.  (Love these, thanks MJS!) College students should invest in and use a lock to tether a laptop to a desk at the library or in a dorm room.  Also, buy an extra long charging cord in case your student is on the top bunk.
Save yourself hassle later, and invest time a little time and energy this week getting your home, tech stuff and tech habits ready for Back-To-School.

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
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO
Via LinkedIn, M. Colleen Klimczak, CPO

Sticky Habits

The topic of habits came up repeatedly with clients last week.

We can all agree that bad habits can be tough to break, but we also need to recognize that good habits may be tough to establish, requiring consistent time and energy and intention.  Research says that a new habit needs 3 weeks of adherence before it is likely to stick.

Yet, to get and stay organized, we need to make those Good Habits stick.

We set out with the best intentions to get organized.  We analyze our process, spend hours purging clutter, buy the right containers, and organize our lives and brains and homes.  But if we don’t create habits around maintaining that organization, we’ve wasted a lot of energy, time and money.

Ooh, ouch.  Re-reading that last statement, I hope it doesn’t sound too harsh.  It is true, though, friends, harsh or not.

I recognize that the rush that accompanies a big success or a finished project is difficult to maintain for the long term.  And so we have to rely on other forms of motivation to keep us on the path to Good and Organized Habits.   What can we do about this?

Use technology.hand-apple-iphone-smartphone-large (1)

     Take advantage of the technology available. My smart phone helps me with my Wellness habits.  I love my Fitbit. It syncs with the Fitbit app on my phone, and tracks my exercise and how many steps I walk.  It sends me reminders to reach my 10,000 steps-a-day goal, and motivational boosts through the day.  I thought these reminders were silly at first, but they work!
      I have a couple of new apps that help me remember and reinforce other good habits, too.
     My Plant Nanny app (free), introduced by two wonderful friends (thanks PM and JM!), reminds me to drink water every hour during the day.  A sound accompanies the reminder, then I open the app and water my plant when I water me.  It may seem silly, but those little plants and the app make me smile and work really well!
     My newest app is called Habit List ($3.99). I list the habits I want to establish or maintain (Water the Garden Daily, and Post On Twitter Daily, for example), determine how often I want to complete the task (daily, every two days, etc.) and the time of day I want to receive a reminder.  Again, this app sends reminders, and tracks my progress.

    If I wanted to add home organizing tasks to the App, I could add habits like Take out the Recycling, Change the Bedding, Pay the Bills, etc. to the list, too., with dates and reminders attached.

You’re never too grown-up for a gold star.  

     A client, a retired educator, uses a star chart just like a student might, to track progress on circle_star_goldgood habits and keep her motivated to keep up the good work. A star for each day a certain task is completed, and a full week of stars on the chart earns a prize for the weekend (Special outing with a friend, fresh flowers for her home, perhaps a special snack or prize?).  This tried and true motivator works for kids AND adults!

Use reminders that play to your strengths.

post its     Are you or a loved one a visual learner?  As you establish new Good Habits, use visual reminders like lists, post-it notes, highlighters or REALLY BIG CLOCKS, or have your technology send you text messages.
     Are you an auditory learner?  I am.  I learn well by hearing things.  Hearing the chiming clock in the dining room ring on the hour and half hour helps me stay on track.  In addition, all the apps I mentioned earlier send me notifications with sounds, like the alerts to drink more water, check my Habit List, or alert me 15 minutes before an appointment so I’m more likely to be on time.  And if I’m struggling with focus, I can set timers or use other sounds, like a favorite playlist, to keep me on task.
     Do you learn by doing / touching / moving things around (kinesthetic)?  For you (or your family member), the physical act of writing and then checking off tasks or habits on a list may be useful, or using chore cards or magnets or other things that you can move around may help.

       Some of us learn by saying things out loud, too.  If this describes you or a family member, try describing your habits to others, or creating a mantra or single sentence to repeat to yourself to help you focus on your good habits.

Good Habits may take time and energy to create, but having them and sticking with them will serve you well for years to come.  Find ways to make those Good Habits stick!

Ways to Make Monday Mornings Less Icky

Sometimes, Mondays are rough. I get it.  There are simple things you can do to make them less icky, though.  Here are 6 common complaints, and some ideas to make them better!

“I always feel so frazzled on Monday morning!”

Invest an hour on Sunday to help you hit the ground running Monday.  Put the laundry away (or start a load), run the dishwasher, lay out your clothes for the morning, take out the trash, run the sweeper, pack your lunch for Monday.  60 minutes on Sunday will improve all 24 hours of Monday!

“Monday morning is a fog, and the day slips away before I get anything done.”

Before you leave work on Friday, or sometime over the weekend, take a glance at your schedule for  the week, and jot down some tasks and to-dos to help you be productive first thing Monday morning.  Map your plan for your Monday and for your week, to guide your actions.  Also, since the Monday morning email load can also be overwhelming, spend 5 minutes first thing Monday morning (or Sunday night) immediately and ruthlessly deleting anything  you don’t need to read, and flagging the important emails to find later for a response.

“The weekend is over, and the next one is 5 whole days away!”

Yes, I know.  I can’t help you too much with this one.  Two tips:

  • Let me channel my inner Dread Pirate Roberts and say “get used to disappointment”.  This happens  EVERY week, so the best thing you can do is stop being sad about it.dread pirate robers
  • Spend a few minutes on Monday planning something fun for next weekend, to look forward to throughout the week!

“I’m so tired…  I didn’t sleep very well last night.”

Stick to your usual waking time over the weekend, within an hour or so.  If you usually wake up at 5:30 on a weekday, set your alarm for no later than 6:30 on the weekend.  And as delicious as a weekend nap is, keep it to 30 minutes.  Both of these ideas help keep Sunday Night Insomnia (yes, that’s really a thing) away.  Sunday Night Insomnia happens when we’re stressed about the week to come, plus we have stayed up and slept late for two days, messing up our sleep hygiene (yes, that also really is a thing).

“I’m not feeling very well, maybe I’m coming down with something.”

Um, or, maybe not.  Don’t go crazy with specialty foods or beverages.  Indulge a bit, of course, at family parties or special dinners or out at the bars with friends, but don’t go too crazy or you will start your week feeling sluggish or even a little ill.  I know folks who follow strict diets during the week and save their “cheat” days for the weekend, and then wonder why they feel crummy Monday morning.

“Ugh, Monday.  I just feel blah…”

In addition to good sleep hygiene and a healthy diet, maintain other healthy habits on the weekend, too.  If you exercise all week, exercise on the weekends, too – maybe even changing it up, with a hike or bike ride with friends.  Take your vitamins, meditate, stay hydrated – whatever it is that you do to get through a week, do it on the weekend, too.

Like anything in life, we can take what we have and make a rough situation better, just by making better choices!  How else can you improve your Monday?

Shhh! (Anything Can Become Clutter, Even Sound)

Working out of my satellite office (Corner Bakery) last week, I thought I was losing my mind.

There was a beeping, a burble, a… Something.  And it drove me buggy.


 I checked my phone for notifications and closed the apps.  That wasn’t it.

Checked my laptop and ended up turning the whole thing off.

Still, the sound continued.  Checked my IPad, nope – not that either.

Finally, I determined I was hearing the woman working behind me, on either her laptop / phone / tablet, etc, and her devices were REALLY LOUD.

My hearing and listening skills are a strength.  I’m good at hearing sounds and nuances that others may miss.

  • I can tell if something is wrong with my car based on how it sounds (occasionally);
  • As a musician, I notice if an instrument or vocalist is sharp or flat (and it occasionally causes me to wince);
  • I still have mom-ears at night, able to respond to sounds in my house and from my kids out of a sound sleep; and
  • In coaching, I can perceive a lot by what a person says and also how it is said, and also what isn’t said.

But…..Sometimes I hear too much or too well.  Some days, or in some situations, I become overwhelmed by too much sound, and then it becomes noise!

We aren’t always aware of sound, and certainly not aware of auditory clutter and the effects it can have on us.  If we’re overwhelmed or stressed, or struggling to focus or find clarity,  sound clutter (or NOISE!!) might be part of the problem!

Sometimes, to get organized and be productive, we need to clear our auditory clutter, just like clearing physical or visual clutter.
How do we clear sound clutter?
  • Be intentional with your listening.  I listened to inspirational and organizing pod-casts on a road trip this past weekend, a positive use of my time.
  • Step away from your devices once in a while!
  • Turn. It. Off.   Some folks leave the TV or talk radio on for “background” noise or for company.  But when the content is negative, inflammatory or petty, ask yourself if that’s the company you really want. The media streams news (good or bad, but usually bad) 24-7, but we don’t have to listen or engage.
  • Be intentional with your TV viewing.  A class participant mentioned that the DVRs a upbeat and informational Sunday morning news show and watches it during the week when he has the time, a much more positive choice for TV viewing than ‘whatever is on’.
  • Bring music into your life.  Craft your own own playlists on your devices (smartphone, Google Play, Pandora, Spotify, etc.), and be intentional with what you hear.
  • Be aware of the sounds around you.  Turn off everything, then sit quietly.  What else do you hear?  Wind? Quiet motor noise (like a ceiling fan)? White noise? Or whistles, ticking, humming or other sounds that we might not notice consciously but that our brains are still processing unconsciously?
  • Appreciate the sounds of nature.  These can become noise, just like anything else (birds chirping at 4 am?), but they typically create positive feelings, to calm or energize us, too.
  • Close your eyes (where applicable).  Cutting off one sense gives your other senses a chance to make sense of things.  I often close my eyes when I am listening intently (while listening to music or to other people speak) so that I don’t get distracted with visual clutter.


Some sounds are amazing!  But in the same way that some stuff can become clutter, so, too, some sounds can become clutter.   Open up your ears, be aware of the sounds around you and be intentional about your listening!