Creating a Landing and Launch Pad Where There Isn’t One

Many of our homes were built around the idea of “everyone uses the front door”.  Larger entrance, coat closet, etc.  However, many of us do not come and go from that front door.   Last week, a friend asked if I could help with her new homes’ back door / drop zone / launch pad.  In her words,

  • there is no place for coats and bags;
  • the space is small and hard to manage;
  • adding in winter accessories like glove and hats makes the problem worse;
  • taking coats to the bedrooms makes no sense;
  • everything gets dumped at the door, and is now spreading into the kitchen; and finally,
  • “I’m gonna lose my crackers!”

Picture this:

  • The back door is where all five family members exit and enter.  
  • For scale, when the back door is open, it spans the entire width of the space.
  • The back door leads directly into the dining area in the kitchen.
  • The back door landing is a step down from the kitchen, and is the landing for the stairs going down into the nicely finished basement.

The family is quite organized, and they have done a lot to maximize the space they have while settling into this new (new to them) home.  There is a small set of hooks next to the door for keys, umbrellas and the dog leash.  There is a counter a few feet from the door where family members can drop their bags as they come home.   But they lack coat / accessory / bag storage.

We all may have an organizing challenge like this….

Often-used space that occasionally drives us crazy!

Spaces that every family member uses!

Spaces that can make or break our daily routines and flow!

Spending a little time and energy organizing these spaces saves us hours of headache (and yelling) in the future!

Here’s How:

State your purpose for the space. For my client, the purpose of the back door space may be “An attractive space that helps with timely and stress-free arrivals and departures”.   Once you state your purpose, Pare Down what is in the space to only the items that feed your purpose. My friend’s back door / landing pad space should be

  • geared towards a quick and easy transition, typically exit;
  • aesthetically pleasing;
  • as clutter-free as possible.
  • If you look at something, and you feel yourself frowning as you wonder “Who’s is this? Why is it here?  What were they thinking?”, those are all good indicators that something doesn’t belong in the space you are working on!

Once you know the Purpose of the Space, Look up and down and all around for storage solutions!

Keep it Safe!

Since this space is a heavily traveled walk way – in and out of the house and also up and down the stairs  – safety is very important.  Storage solutions will need to keep the walk way and stairs clear.  I will recommend coat hooks as solutions, but only on one side of the stairwell, to keep it as clear as possible.

Shelves, shelves and more shelves.

  • Any empty walls can be considered storage space.  To keep the walk way clear, I may recommend shelves high on the walls for baskets of accessories or off-season items.
  • Shelves, too, near the ceiling could hold decorative baskets with extra accessories, if needed.
  • Add shallow shelves above the command center in the kitchen, and add baskets for extra sunglasses, charging cords, and maybe one for each family member.

That Door Has Potential!   Consider the door itself in the organizing solution.  

  • Invest in an over-the -door coat rack; and / or
  • invest in an over-the-door shoe rack, for shoes but also for accessories; and/ or
  • if the door is metal, purchase heavy duty magnetic hooks for coats, like these…

Install some – okay, maybe a lot of – hooks:

  • Everyone gets a couple of hooks for their own bags and coats.
  • Consider key hooks, especially if any one shares a car.
  • Command Hooks are a personal favorite, too, for this type of challenge.
  • Double deck your hooks:  Consider installing two lines of hooks – the upper set (at eye level)  for accessories and keys, and the lower set, installed 6-8 inches below the upper set, for coats, umbrellas or longer hanging items.
  • Since my kids were little (and would take off with my car keys!), my handbag has been hung on a high, heavy-duty hook near the back door, with my keys securely clipped to it.

Expect and embrace maintenance.

  • I really wish I could say that once we organize a space, it will stay organized forever.  However… that is not typically the case.
  • Once a week, clear everything and put it away.   The shoes and coats will slowly migrate back to the landing / launch, but at least once in a while, the space is clear.
  • Keep an empty storage bench at the bottom of the stairs, for that day when you have a house full of people and you just want the space cleared!
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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Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
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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.”

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!

Summer’s “New Normal”

     What is your “Normal”?   And, did your Normal choose you, or did you choose it?

      My wise, wonderful accountability partner asked me last week “What’s Your New Normal for Summer”?

     You see, she knows that summers are typically a struggle for me.  I’m thrown off by the very things I should be enjoying about summer: changes to my typical routines; alternate summer work and activity schedules for my kids;  motivation and focus leaking out the window with the sunshine and summer breeze; sporadic days or weekends away; and the list goes on and on.

Do you struggle with any of these, too?

In addition, lately it feels like my new “Normal” has chosen me, and I don’t particularly like it.  So it’s time for me to choose my even newer New Normal for myself!

Summer is a great time to rethink your “Normal”.  It’s time to be decisive and purposeful about how you will spend the next few months.  Relaxing with family?  Trying new adventures? Acquiring new skills or habits?  Just chilling out?  You choose!

  • Start with what you know.   Upon reflection this morning, I realized that while some of my details have changed summer’s arrival, a lot of my new normal is remarkably like my old normal.  I still get up at 5 and exercise, have some quiet time before heading out to work.  I will still work and travel and take care of business.  So, really, the new normal involves the shift of my daily schedule and the need for better communication, both of which are complete manageable.
  • Put everything on the calendar  – EVERYTHING!  And let the involved parties (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) in on the schedule.  For example, my 12 year old and I sat down yesterday, reviewed his band camp and scout camp schedule, and made sure he had all of his info in his calendar so there are no surprises later!
  • Take advantage of this opportunity to make changes to your Normal.  Make it on YOUR terms.  What do you want to do with your summer?  Projects, goals, new habits, old habits, things to learn?
  • Pare it Down. A friend and I were discussing the idea of pruning – cutting away non-producing parts of a plant to make the remaining parts more productive.  As I lingered over my second cup of coffee this morning instead of rushing off to drop someone at school, I appreciated my more simplified summer schedule.  What else can we do to simplify our responsibilities and routines?
  • Relax and enjoy.  I’ve had cranky thoughts, with the transition to summer and still navigating the chaos of a kitchen remodel. But as I watered my garden and enjoyed the beautiful new day, I reminded myself to appreciate all the parts – the good parts and the challenging ones –  of this time of transition.

 

So, this week, I challenge you to spend a little time crafting your own “New Normal” for summer. Be intentional, simplify and enjoy!

 

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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Please contact me.

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

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!

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.

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 reader 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.

Every.

Year.

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

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 many of us, 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 take a 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  on-going 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?”.
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

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!