Time Management When Children Are Home

Did I have a big reminder of how little you get done with a 2 year old at your feet!

My granddaughter Ava and I were spending some special time together. By 11 o’clock that morning, I finally
had the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast.

I had a big laugh when I thought about what I teach on procrastination. You may have heard me use the illustration about emptying a dishwasher: Emptying the dishwasher is a 3 -5 minute project, so it is just as easy to “Do It Now!” and get the job done. But you can count on that being an hour project or more when you have a little one helping, interrupting, and causing you to stop and play.

About the time the kitchen was cleaned up, it was time to start lunch. Nap time (hers) was when I finally put on my make-up and real clothes. After all, I needed to look presentable. We were going to the hospital for Ava
to see her new, adopted baby sister.

Having raised 7 children, I had to stop and think how much it helped when the older ones had
assigned chores like emptying the dishwasher. I remembered when my 3 boys were small, we would laugh and say that we didn’t worry about the house getting broken into. If the would-be burglar didn’t break his neck on all the toys on the sidewalk, he would end up falling over all the ride toys in the living room. Someone once asked me what my decorating style was and I said “toys, toys and more toys.” Actually it has never changed – now there are cat toys scattered on the floor.

I may be an organizer but children come first. Organization should support you and not control you. Little ones grow up so quickly. I find it hard to believe my youngest is 35. Given the choice between organizing and spending time with your children, my recommendation is to spend time with your family!

Organizing Tip 1. Put family first in your life – you can empty the dishwasher later.
Organizing Tip 2. There is a funny side to almost everything – lighten up!
Organizing Tip 3. No one expects you to be SuperMom. It is better to be super-loved.

Summer Is Meant to be Enjoyed

Is this the right time to do summer organizing projects?

Questions to ask yourself:
• While my children home, do I want to spend time with them?
• Do I have company coming to stay?
• Isn’t summer my time to take a vacation, relax, and enjoy the outdoors?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, maybe it would be better to scratch summer organizing projects off your To-Do List and put them on your calendar for fall. Sometimes telling yourself “I am just going to work on maintaining the house” is more realistic and takes the pressure off so you can enjoy the summer.

If you do have a summer organizing project that you really want to get done so you can mark it off your list, give us a call – we can help you do it quickly so summer can still be yours to enjoy.

Working with us takes the overwhelming out of projects!

Schedule Some Downtime This Summer

How many autumns have begun and you’ve said, “Summer has gone by in a blur and I didn’t even enjoy it, I was so busy at work”?

Before we know it, we will be looking at fall leaves. It is not too late to make changes that can make our summer fun, relaxing and invigorating.

One of my clients says she can’t break her habit of working late, and that leaves her no time to do extra things with her children. We decided the best cure was to plan an activity and tell the children so she was obligated to leave the office.

Are you saying to yourself, “But I need to work late to get things done?”

I too can be proud of my accomplishments when I stay in my office late into the evening, but if I am honest I’ll admit that I wipe out that productivity by being tired and sluggish the next morning, even if I am sitting at my desk. Is that also true for you?

To quote Canadian time management specialist Harold Taylor, “Working long hours makes you good at one thing — working long hours. It does not increase either your efficiency or effectiveness. Any anticipated increase in personal productivity is usually offset by a lower work pace, additional error, more frequent self-generated distractions, decreased creativity, and a decline in energy and motivation.”

So how do you enjoy this summer?

Get out your calendar and write down on specific days specific things you want to do. Call others and make a commitment with them to do these things. Giving yourself downtime will not only be good for your health and give you a more positive outlook in life, but it will also be good for your business and career.

How many of us get our best ideas in the shower when we are relaxed? Don’t be surprised if brilliant ideas come to you when you are at the pool or in the hammock. Jot them down and relax again.

While we are on the subject of balance, sleep habits must be addressed. Short-changing your sleep is totally unproductive. Science News reports, “People who get by on a modest sleep deficit are often not aware of their shrinking thinking capabilities and don’t feel particularly drowsy.” Studies show that being tired can decrease our productivity by as much as 35 percent. Michal Skalski of a sleep disorder clinic in Poland reports, “Someone who sleeps little is under permanent stress.” The bottom line — if you want to be more productive, get a good night’s sleep.

Just a reminder, when you are doing something for fun or relaxing, turn off your cell phone. The world will not come to an end if you are not connected to it. In fact you will relax more and have real communication with the real people you are with. Isn’t that what life is really about?

It is not too late to make this summer full of great memories. Take a few minutes and think about what you want this summer to look like and get out your calendar and make definite plans.

Remember, having a balanced schedule will make you better at your job in every respect.

My Weeds May Equal Your Clutter

Clutter and weeds have a lot in common.  Consider:

1.  Think before you pay for something – where will it go and do I have room for it?  If I am not careful, I bring home pretty plants that sometimes die because I do not know where to put them.

2.  Plants are a lot like collections – a few are nice but too many become clutter.

3.  It is a lot easier to pull small weeds, just as it is a lot easier to tackle small areas of clutter.

4.  Even when you have room for things, it may be more than you want to take care of.  I live on a farm,so my yard can grow in any direction, but at this point, I have too many flowerbeds!

5.  Humor makes life easier.  One of my flowerbeds has a sign that says: Weeds For Sale, Pick Your Own!

Is weeding out your clutter on your To-Do List?  That’s my specialty.  Call me – I can help.

Conquer That Overwhelmed Feeling

Does your To-Do List make you feel overwhelmed?

If so, make a list of what you need to do.  Then for each item, ask yourself: “What is the Next Step?”

We can usually conquer the “Next Step” without being overwhelmed.  It is when we think of all the steps to be done on a project that we get paralyzed and then do nothing.

Doing the Next Step will get you started.  A very appropriate quote puts it nicely: “A job begun is a job half done.”

What is the Next Step?

Often when we think of a project, we think of all the steps, get overwhelmed and then do nothing.

When I ask my coaching clients: “What is the next step?”, that frees them up to move forward.  The next step is usually do-able.  It is when we think of the next 20 steps involved that we get stuck.

That is how I am tacking my yard this spring – one step at a time.

It Is Closet Organizing Time

I am going to take my own advice and do one section at a time.  In fact, I recently did my shoes, and next I will be getting out my lightweight jackets.  I am also working hard to eliminate the excess.

When I am not sure whether to keep something or not, I ask myself the Golden Question: “If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it?”  When I work with clients organizing their closets, 90% of the time I get an instant “NO”.

Remember to WOW yourself after you complete each section of your closet!

Conquering Your Mail

Clutter Collecting Thinking Trap: I’ll just quickly glance at my mail and deal with it later.

Organizing One-Liner:  Don’t touch your mail until you can process it!

Processing your mail means making decisions:

1.  Am I really going to order out of this catalog?

2.  I will put this bill with the other bills to be paid.

3.  These items are critical so they need to be filed.

4.  Magazines go where I read them.

5.  These items were not requested so out they go!

Tip: Process your mail standing and you will be more efficient!

Reduce End of Year Stress

Feel like you are on overload?

Give yourself permission to cross some items off your list, or at least say, “Not this year”.  One of my clients used an expression that I love.  When she was working on one area and became concerned about another, she just said to that area, “It’s not your turn!”

Writer and linguist Lin Yutang says, “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the nobler art of leaving things undone.”