A Great Morning Starts the Night Before, 2.0 Edition (Not Just For Kids!)

Back in 2011, I wrote “A GREAT MORNING STARTS THE NIGHT BEFORE!” for a Back-to-School newsletter.   The original article, found here, is still pertinent and useful for kids and families!

I’ve learned a lot since I published that article!  And I still find myself re-considering how to tweak my routines.  Our days are complicated lately!  While I work on un-complicating them,  I still have to get to bed at a reasonable hour, get up and out of bed in the morning, and complete a handful of tasks before I leave the house every day!

I am older and wiser (as are my kids!), so today, let’s take another look at “A Great Morning Starts the Night Before”!

  • Look Ahead. 
    • In my original article, this was a solitary step for me as Mom to take. These days, the teenagers and I all need to check in with each other and with the upcoming calendar.
    • Part of parenting is to foster planning and self-management skills in our young adults (and working on that for ourselves, too!). Some days, there are scheduling challenges or car usage juggling!
    • I look at the calendar for the next few hours, days and weeks, and ask the important questions of myself and my sons to move us forward.  I may jot down those questions on a dry erase board, in case our schedules don’t synchronize.  (For example, “Where is the grade report from last Friday”, “Does your tux jacket need dry cleaned after last week’s concert?”, etc.)  They can start working on answering these questions in my absence!
  • Meal Planning:  I’m the only person who packs a lunch anymore, so lunch making isn’t as important as it used to be.
    • However, ensuring we have portable breakfast foods on hand has become more important, as has dinner meal planning to make sure I have a meal planned that works with the next day’s schedule.
    • Instead of assigning a specific meal to every day, I may list 5-7 quick and favorite meals on a note near the fridge, and make sure we have the ingredients on hand for each.
    • Then I can choose a really quick meal on days we’re strapped for time, or a more involved meal if I have a little extra time.
  • “Lay out clothes for tomorrow, for you and your children” was the statement in the original article.  However, as we and our kids grow and evolve, we know this gets a little tougher!
    • Laundry maintenance.  The success of this step relies on maintaining the laundry process (and yes, I have started a load of laundry as I’ve been writing this).  By “maintaining the process”, I mean – keep the laundry moving along and don’t let your wardrobe options pile up! For example, start a load every evening, and toss it in the dryer every morning while you get ready for your day.
    • Another key to success in this area is to have a standard ensemble to wear for your typical day.  I am NOT the person to give fashion advice, but I am the person to offer suggestions that will save you time and aggravation.  Spend an hour some evening, and put together a handful of outfits you can easily when you’re strapped for time.
  • “Pack Your Bag the Night Before”.  This piece of advice never grows old.  I had an early morning breakfast meeting today, so last night, I made sure my notes were in my bag.  We still stumble, as the completed forms I laid on the middle-schooler’s backpack for him to take back to school today are still laying on his dresser…  but tomorrow is another opportunity to turn stuff in!
  • Go to bed.  Good sleep hygiene is vital to success, for all of us.  A reasonable and consistent bedtime and calming night-time routines, including planning and prep for the next day, help ensure good sleep and a better morning tomorrow!
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Change The Habit or Change The House?

Working with a client this morning, I was reminded  of an article I recently read on ApartmentTherapy.com.

In the comments for an article about creating an entry way in a small space, a reader asked if the solution to the problem was to “Change the habit or the house?”.

This is a powerful and useful question as we get organized!  And… what does that mean?

Let’s say I notice that, when I walk in the door every day, I consistently put my keys on the same side table and toss my coat over the same chair or the back of the sofa.

Leaving my keys and coat exactly there makes the space look cluttered or disorganized, so I could elect to try and change my HABIT and come in a different door, or walk down the hallway and hang things up in a closet, etc.   However, since I am consistent about where these items fall, I can find them in an instant and be out the door efficiently.

So the HABIT is a good one, but the entry way of the HOUSE doesn’t support the HABIT well.   I could change the house to support the habit by adding a decorative bowl in the entry way for keys and phone, setting a chair in the entry way for our coat and bag, or perhaps adding a coat tree or some wall hooks.

Another example.  This morning’s client has 2 school aged daughters, and they both consistently drop their school backpacks and sport bags in the same places in the living room / dining room.  This can drive a parent crazy, let me tell you!

Yes, the piles in these living spaces are unsightly.  However, these students have good and consistent habits that helps them keep track of their school work and team uniforms.  So, the question we asked this morning was “Is it easier to change the habit or the house?”

My client didn’t actually mind the location of the piles, merely the appearance of them.  So, de- cluttering the pile contents and adding attractive large wicker baskets to hold the bags and gear in the habitual drop zones seems a better solution than trying to establish new habits and drop zones elsewhere.

Years ago, I organized with a real estate agent who had a lovely home office, but she didn’t really like to work in there.  She preferred to work in her kitchen – it was warm and cozy, had great light plus coffee!  So, instead of trying to change her preferred habit of working happily in the kitchen, we instead set up a work space in the kitchen and reserved the home office for meetings with clients, and file and supply storage.  We helped her home better fit her good work habit.

Again, the question: Do I need to change my house or change my habit?

Is there is a space in your home or office that regularly causes you frustration?  A place that has just never seemed to “work” right for you?

If your habit is a problem – you drop stuff where it becomes unsafe, you neglect client files, you are inconsistent with your stuff and the habits around it – then consider changing your habits.

If, however, your habits are sound but the space doesn’t support the habit, consider what you can do to Support the Good Habit and Change the house around it!

Thanks for reading!

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4 Tips to Organize Your Bill Paying for Financial Wellness Month

January is National Financial Wellness Month. 

A great place to start your path to Financial Wellness is with organized and consistent Bill Paying!  Try these 4 tips to Streamline Your Process!

Set An Appointment.  

Client Study:  A client I first met many years ago admitted that deadlines and due dates would often slip past her and her husband, costing lots of money in late fees, not to mention frustration! She did not have a set time to regularly sit down and pay her bills, so as life got busy, they would both forget to pay bills.

Tip: Set aside time every week or every other week to pay your bills.  For example, if you get paid every other Friday, make an appointment with your computer / check book for every other Thursday evening to pay your bills and manage your money.  If it’s on the calendar, it’s more likely to happen!

 

Do the Job Until It’s Done.   

Client Study:  I worked with a couple, and I could tell that the husband was very nervous about having an organizer in the house! He was very happy when I told him I wanted him to spend LESS time on his papers every week!

Here is the rest of that statement: “Carve out an hour every week (they chose Saturday morning) to open all the mail, pay all the bills, respond to any other correspondence and shred / recycle whatever needed to go.”  They agreed an hour should be enough. They could worry less throughout the week, but they had to tackle all their money management tasks, start to finish, when they DID work on their bills.

Tip: Spend less time on your bill paying, but complete the job from start to finish when you sit down.

 

Dedicate Space for Paying Bills.

Client Study: I worked with a lovely couple just last week.  They took turns explaining how they used their shared work space.  One person had a place to always tuck the bills to be paid. The other person had no idea that was the system in place!

Just that one piece of information, a dedicated place to put the Bills-To-Pay, made a huge difference in how each uses the space!

If you pay bills on line, consider creating an email subfolder or maybe even an email account just for bill-paying and financial information, and make sure everyone who needs to know about it has access!

In addition, set yourself up to succeed with your necessary supplies in that space (pens, notepad, post its, computer if you pay on-line, envelopes and stamps, etc.).

Tip: Dedicate Space for bill-paying, and let all involved parties know the plan!

 

Make  Filing Easier, Too!

Client Study: Me.  For both our personal and my business bill paying, we have done away with individual vendor files and just have monthly folders for all income and banking info.  Any paid bills, receipts, bank statements, etc., get added to those monthly files.  Finding info is so easy, as is filing!

Tip: Create Monthly Folders for all things Income / Banking related and make filing easy!

Pick a Tip, and Give it a Try!
To:

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Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
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Call / text 708.790.1940
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Creating Productive Work-From-Home Space: National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Last week, I heard from a newly minted college graduate.  She is very excited to start her first  professional position with a national company, working from home.

Hmmm… “Working From Home”.   A quick glance at wikipedia revealed related terms like “telecommuting”, “remote work” or “teleworking”.  This is a growing trend, with many of us working at least some of the time from non-traditional work space.

According to this recent New York Times article,  “More American employees are working remotely, and they are doing so for longer periods… Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.”

With this conversation in mind and National Clean Off Your Desk Day (second Monday of January) here again, let’s talk about Organizing Your Work Space for Working-From-Home.  Let’s look at solutions to common Work-From-Home Challenges!

Be Professional and Productive While Working From Home

There are habits we can create to feel professional and productive, no matter where we work.

  • Create a morning routine – get up, work out, eat a healthy breakfast, get clean, etc. – even if your commute is the 10 feet between your living room and office.

    My Company Wellness Program 🙂

  • We all benefit from the clear definition of a start and end to our work day.  If you need separation in your day between personal time and work, go for a run, for Mass, for coffee, or to drop off the kids at school.  Then, come home and boot up!
  • Dress professionally, even if you don’t see another person all day.  No PJs for productivity!
  • We need to minimize distractions (more on this later) working from home, but the opposite is also true.  Remember to walk around and take breaks!

My Company Cafeteria (a.k.a. my kitchen counter!)

 

Stay Connected:

  • A common challenge of working from home is feeling isolated.  Remember, Community comes in many forms.
  • Check with your company!  If your company has teleworking opportunities, they probably also have strategies in place to help employees stay connected.
  • Find a mentor or accountability partner within your company.   You can also ask the professional association attached to your industry, or even just someone you really respect.
  • Join networking or FB groups within your chosen field or geographical community. My FB and networking groups are amazing resources for me as I navigate my day!

Physical Workspace:

  • If you are clear on the Work of your Work, you can probably work from anywhere!
  • No one needs to know where you work!  Some days saying “working from home” doesn’t feel professional, so I might say I’m working “remotely” or “virtually”, whether I’m at a client’s office, my own home office or Starbucks!
  • Your Actual Work Space:
    • If you skype, or have video conference calls, invest in a back drop or standing screen that looks more professional than your family room or basement!
    • Organize your work space, especially if you need to switch from student focus to work focus, like my young friend.  A clean desk helps you focus.  My accountability partner mentioned just last week how much more creative she feels when her work space is organized and clutter free.
  • Need Professional Space for a change of pace or a group project?  Perhaps your team is coming into town for training?  Many communities have available shared professional spaces or  business centers.  For a fee, these centers may offer work spaces, office services such as copiers or fax machines, conference rooms to rent by the hour or day, and even administrative help.   For example, I am a member of BAPA here on the South Side of Chicago, and their business center offers office equipment and conference room space free to paid members.

 

The “Home” part of Working-From-Home

  • Be clear with your house-mates what your tele-working will mean.  You may be home but still on the clock!  (The same goes for pets – one client closes the door and curtains to the back yard, to signal to her faithful furry companions that play time is over!)
  • A closed door can be an arranged signal that quiet time is needed, or that a conference call is in progress!

Consider these ideas when creating your productive work-from-home space!

Got Resolutions? Perhaps We Just Need to Get Back To Normal!

On New Year’s Eve, I was thinking about positive changes to make in 2018.

I found myself saying “Know what? Change is hard.”

Saying it out loud, though, I immediately realized that I was wrong.

No, change isn’t hard.

Sometimes, change is extremely easy.  For example, just a few weeks ago, I was exercising daily and making healthy food choices.  And … then… the holidays happened.  And it is -2 degrees as I type this.  So there are still too many cookies in the house, and our daily walks are on hold until the weather breaks or I get on the treadmill.

While it’s easy to believe the self defeating statement “Change is Hard”, that is all it is – a self-defeating statement lacking truth.

We convince ourselves that “Change is Hard”, and then we set ourselves up for failure by:

  • setting unrealistic Resolutions;
  • starting a new journey without a map or plan;
  • setting the bar too high; 
  • pursuing goals that are not right for us right now;
  • not asking for help; or
  • expecting big change overnight.

But here is the good news – Change doesn’t have to be hard.  And for the New Year, just getting  back to what you are supposed to be doing can be a big step in the right direction.

Start with just getting back on track, whatever that looks like to you.  Let’s leave the bad holiday habits behind.  It’s time to:

  • Get to bed on time;
  • Clear that kitchen counter, and put the snacks out of sight;
  • Take that January list I suggested you make, and add action dates to it; 
  • Curb or stop spending money;
  • Unsubscribe from advertising emails;
  • Stop running around like a crazy person; or
  • Conversely, start moving again and be productive;
  • Clear holiday / all other clutter from surfaces;
  • Log into your on-line banking, and pay those bills;
  • Re-boot your morning meditation / routine / reading hours, etc.;
  • And From My Friends:
    • Use my little elliptical stepper in the evening (SM);
    • Go to the gym with my neighbor / Work out (JM/JH/LB);
    • Eat better (PB/LB);
    • Reduce sugar intake, decrease sugar / artificial sweeteners (LZ / MC);
    • Finding a planner I like and actually use it (LR);
    • Write 3 gratitudes each day, focusing on the positive; (PM)
    • Refocus on work, the Holidays allow a lot of distractions (LB);
    • Start running again! It is just 30 minutes out of my entire day, so no excuses (MO);
    • Spend time regularly to tidy/organize my papers & desk so that it STAYS tidy & organized (MTO);
    • Have fun – so often, I fall in the trap of pursuing accomplishment of various items in my ‘to do’ list that I neglect to devote time to things that are purely enjoyable (SRC).

I am so happy for us!  Know why?

WE KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!  We know what to do.

We know what healthy habits are, and how to re-establish them.

We know how to be productive, we just need to get back to it!

We know how to be good to ourselves, so let’s be good!

This year, let’s start the year with returning to what we know.  How about we review our good habits that may have gotten a little lax over the last month?  Let’s start the year strong, with realistic expectations to build a strong foundation, and then climb from there!

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

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:

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