Archive for June, 2013

A Change in PLans?

June 27, 2013

After a very busy weekend (2 wonderful clients totaling 7 hours of work on Sunday) I had planned for my Monday to be a relaxing day. Everyone needs a day off to unwind, right? This is what my plan looked like: early morning workout followed by some quality time in my garden. My roses, geraniums and petunias are all begging for attention which I was going to give them happily. I was also going to do a little weeding and pruning. After that, I planned to take the July issue of the Oprah magazine and relax in the sunshine in my garden.

I know you can tell by the way I’m writing this that none of that happened. Well, I pulled out of my driveway and the warning low tire pressure alarm came on in my car. So, I pulled back up the driveway and asked my husband to look at the offending tire. Sure enough, it needed air but worse than that the tire had a slash in it and a huge bulge toward the rim. 

I did go and workout. I figured there was nothing I could do about my tire problem at 7:30 in the morning. When I got back I made an appointment to have the tire changed on my car. So, here I sit writing this blog while my car is being fixed. No gardening will happen this morning and it certainly wasn’t relaxing. But, if I turn this around there is a bright side. My car tire didn’t blow as I was driving along the highway. I am often driving on the highway, so I am thankful that didn’t happen! I didn’t have a client this morning that I would have had to reschedule. I brought work with me so that I could make good use of the time I am spending waiting. All things considered it could have been worse.

What do you do when the plans you made can not be carried out? Do you have a back-up plan? Do you consider your options and make the best out of whatever the situation turns out to be?

I find that if I keep myself focused on my priorities things generally speaking have a way of working out. So, I didn’t get to work in my garden this morning and I wasn’t able to read the Oprah magazine. On the bright side, I got some computer work done, the tire didn’t blow on the highway causing me to have a breakdown, my tire will be fixed in a few minutes and I will be on my way! My garden and magazine will be there when I get home.

Inch it?

June 18, 2013

I was reading the July 2013 issue of Real Simple magazine the other day. I always read the entire magazine – cover to cover – and always take away something valuable. Sometimes it’s a new idea for decorating, sometimes a new way to repurpose a common tool. This week was no exception.

One of my favorite regular features in the magazine is something called ‘Your Words’. This is a piece where readers respond to a question posed by the magazine. This month’s question is: What saying do you most often repeat?  One of the responses was “Inch it!” The responder tells the story about how her mother heard the expression “inch by inch, everything’s a cinch”. She explains that tasks are easier to perform if you tackle them one step at a time.

Does this sound familiar to you? It should! Last week I wrote about breaking tasks down into small steps. I also told you that I’m preparing for an exam that I’m taking in September by reading five books. I’m happy to report that I finished the second book yesterday! I was able to do this because I looked the book over, divided the number of pages by the number of days in which I wanted to complete the reading, then I scheduled reading into my calendar. Essentially, I created a series of reading sessions for myself. I knew that if I said to myself ‘today I’m going to read this entire book’ that it would not happen.

 The book I finished is titled Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding by Fugen Neziroglu, Jerome Bubrick, and Jose A. Yaryura-Tobias. In the chapter titled ” Cleaning up the Clutter” the authors tell the reader ” Generally speaking the larger the project, the higher likelihood of failing. You are much more likely to finish a series of small projects than you are to complete one large project” page 98.

I think these authors would like the expression “Inch it!” Clearing clutter out of your home an inch at a time is much easier than thinking of clearing out an entire room!

I love this expression and plan to start using it with my clients!

 

 

Small Steps

June 11, 2013

This morning The Institute for Challenging Disorganization posted a comment on Facebook about setting a goal for the week and then breaking that goal down into small steps. One step to accomplish each day so that by the end of the week the goal will be reached.

I love this concept! It’s one of my favorites and one that I regularly teach my clients. Are you thinking to yourself that this is a very simple concept? Well, you are right. It is a simple concept but it’s also one that people tend to forget when faced with a goal that they’d like to reach but don’t have the time for it today.

Start by making your calendar your best friend. Think about the goal you have in mind. Then work backwards. What is the step you have to do just before reaching your goal? What is the step before that.. and so on until you arrive at the first step to take. Write the individual steps down. Then plot the steps into your calendar, actually schedule them into your day. If some of the steps take only a few minutes to complete you may be able to do more than one step in a session.

This process can be applied to just about any goal or project you can think up. Do you have summer reading to complete? I do. I’m studying for an exam which I’ll take in September at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization Conference. I have 5 books to read in order to prepare. I’ve already taken all the required classes. To get these books read, take notes and study them I have to plan ahead. Taking small steps, setting aside small amounts of time each day to read a few chapters at a time enables me to reach my goal.

Maybe you have a room in your house you’d like to reorganize. Take a look at the space. Decide how you want to use the room. The remove the items that don’t support your vision for the room. You can probably tell that a project like this will also involve decisions about what to keep and where to keep these things, what to donate and what to trash or recycle.

Maybe you have a smaller project like organizing a drawer. Whatever your project may be breaking it into small steps will help you reach your goal.

Summertime Scheduling

June 5, 2013

Summer ….don’t you just love summer? It’s a great time to relax, kick back and enjoy all the fun things we can do outside with friends and family; walks in the park, going canoeing, tubing sailing, swimming, attending parades and more.

How do you schedule those fun activities and take care of your household chores and garden?

Make your calendar your best friend. Schedule your daily tasks and make a weekly or bi-weekly household chores list so that you regularly hit all the chores you need to do to keep your home organized. Have the chores be a family affair so that you are not the only one taking care of everything. Share the wealth! Rotate the chores so that each person living in the home has a chance to tackle almost every chore. Having said that, if you have small children you will want to make the chores you assign to them age appropriate. The sooner your children learn to help out around the house the better it will be for you and for them. You are teaching them skills they will have for the rest of their lives!

Scheduling and prioritizing your chores will allow you to have some flex time for all the fun summer time activities in which we all like to participate! One of my favorite summer activities is gardening!

I love to be out in my garden. I have a large flower garden and really enjoy the weeding, clipping, and other chores that go hand in hand with having a lovely garden. I schedule a little gardening time into my day everyday that it’s not pouring rain. I do that so that I continue to enjoy the process and so that I don’t become overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.

If I did not work in my garden consistently I would have more weeds than flowers. The result would be a garden that is not particularly lovely and it would be a monumental chore to get the garden back in shape. Doing a little bit everyday allows me to keep the weeds to a bare minimum, even if I miss a day here or there it’s O.K.

For more information on scheduling household chores you can download The Sample Weekly Cleaning Routine for a small fee from my website.