Archive for the ‘behavior’ Category

What Kind of Parent Are You?

April 19, 2017

 

I believe all of us with children want the very best for them. We nurture them. We want them to grow big and strong. We want to give them things that maybe we didn’t have as children. Perhaps we grew up with lots of advantages and want our children to have as much or more than we had growing up. We also want our children to have terrific experiences – to travel, play sports, have friends and plenty of toys.

Is all this providing for our children backfiring on us?

Are we giving our children so much that we are not enabling them to do for themselves?

When our children move out on their own we DO want them to be able to take care of themselves. Are we giving them, teaching them tools to be able to accomplish that?

Sometimes, I believe, all this helping our children makes them rely on us rather than on themselves. When they are very young, it’s true, they need all the help and guidance they can get.

However, will they learn to pack their backpack with all they need for school the next day if we parents are always doing it for them?

I submit that it’s better beginning when they are 7 or 8 years old to ask them if they have everything they need for school the next day. You can even ask them to double check their room for anything they may have forgotten. In the beginning, make a checklist with your child of the things you know they will need for school every day. Ask them to review their checklist to see if they have everything. This way you, the parent, are not remembering for them. If, when they get to school and find they have left something at home please do NOT get in your car and deliver it to them. Let your child learn to bring everything with them. If you jump to their rescue and deliver the forgotten item to school you are letting them know that it’s not important for them to remember and be responsible for their own things.

Also, isn’t it better that your child learns these small lessons at a young age when the lesson doesn’t have far reaching consequences?

Hovering over your child and doing things, remembering things for them is called helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parents do not let their child do as many things on their own as is possible; even when the children are teenagers and young adults. These parents still make phone calls on behalf of their children.

Some of these children grow up to be young adults without coping skills.

Some of these young adults are not good at doing chores. Why should they be? They’ve rarely had to do any around the home they grew up in. They don’t know where to start when it comes to basic household skills like doing dishes, picking up after one’s self, laundry, dusting, and more.

For all you parents of young children start involving your children in basic chores. Let them help you do dishes, fold laundry, run the vacuum. Ask them to pick up their room!

I co-authored two books for young children (ages 3-5) on this very topic. The books are titled: Suzie’s Messy Room and Benji’s Messy Room. These books are terrific to engage small children in the chore of picking up their room. We (the authors) turned that chore into a game!

I was guilty of being a helicopter parent at times.  I remember helping my children pack their backpacks, packing lunches for them – to save time – because it took them FOREVER to get around to doing these things on their own. My children are grown now. One of my sons is really self-sufficient. The other relies heavily on parental help.

What kind of parent are you?  Try to avoid being helicopter parents, hovering over your children. Instead be kind, caring, considerate good providers teaching your children basic life skills so as they grow up and out of your homes they can rely on themselves.Mom and dauther holding hands

How to Say ‘No’ Nicely

January 25, 2017

An organizing friend of mine, Andi Willis, wrote a beautiful blog this week about giving herself Grace. It is a wonderful essay on the ability to be kinder to ourselves. We (many of us women) set high standards for ourselves and do not cut ourselves any slack.

I want to piggy back on this thought and talk about our ability to say ‘No’. I don’t know about you but most times when I’m asked to do something I typically say ‘Yes’ even when in my heart I want to say ‘No’. Does this ever happen to you? I get guilted into taking on projects that I know I’m going to carve time out to complete – time that I would prefer to set aside for an activity of my choosing. I hate to let people down and so will agree to take on the project even when I know it means postponing something else. Other times I get complimented into a task. Someone will say ‘you did such a good job organizing …(fill in the blank) please will you volunteer your time organizing… for us?’ It’s really hard to say no under those circumstances!

I’ve learned that saying ‘No’ selectively can be a form of self-care. It allows me the space to choose the activities to dedicate my time to.

Because saying ‘No’ is a very hard thing for me to do I’ve recently come up with some strategies to allow myself the time and space to say ‘No’ gracefully. These are not by any means new and different strategies. I think we’ve probably all used them at one time or another. I put them together and have multiple copies in strategic places so that I can refer to them when I’m put on the spot and can’t think of the best response.

I have one copy on a bulletin board in my office, another copy in my planner, and a third copy digitally in the notes section of my phone.

1.       Let me check my calendar and I’ll get back to you on ..(when you get back to the person you can say) I’m sorry, I’m not available.

2.       I’m not able to take on any more projects right now. Please feel free to contact me another time.

3.       As much as I would really like to be able to help you with … this is something I’m not comfortable tackling at this time.

Having these phrases handy has helped me better protect my time. They help me say ‘No’ without negativity.

Is saying ‘No’ a problem for you? How have you handled it? Write me back and let me know!

 

Hand writing Time To Say NO concept with red marker

 

 

 

What Do You Model?

April 20, 2016

 

Fashion kid concept - beautiful stylish little cute girl child w

No, I’m not asking if you model clothes or if you are featured in magazines. I’m more interested in what behavior you model for the people in your life.

Oh, do I have your attention? Have you ever heard the expression “monkey see, monkey do”? Well this expression describes what often happens. Think about the people in your life who you admire. Do you copy some of the things they do or say? For instance, if someone you admire says ‘I like ….’ (you can fill in the blank) I think you might be inclined to agree with them. Also, if a person I admire says ‘I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle. So, I’m going to join a fitness club. Do you want to join with me?’ I would probably say ‘sure! I’ll give it a try!’ I’d be doing that because I like and admire the person and want to copy some of the things they do. How about you? What would you do?

Now, think about yourself. Do you have children? What do you do that they might copy? Remember children will copy the good and the not so good behaviors. They are watching you and reading your body language for clues all the time.

If you say ‘Oh, no! There’s so much dusting to do. I hate dusting.’ Then you turn around and say ‘I don’t think I’m going to do that today.’ You teach your children the language to use when they don’t feel like doing something. Conversely, if you say ‘there’s so much dusting to do! I’m going to do a little now and a little later to break it up.’ You model negotiating behavior. You let them know that there’s a lot but that it’s doable by breaking it down into more than one session dusting. The time will come when you ask them to take out the trash (or some other task) and they could say ‘I don’t feel like doing that right now’ or they could negotiate and say ‘how about if I take it out after I finish my homework’.

If you leave your clothes on the floor or draped over furniture and then tell your children to put their clothes away you are giving them the message ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

Think about the behaviors you would like to see in your children. Do you want them to become accustomed to leaving glasses and dishes in their room or do you want them to clear their dishes and glasses to the kitchen sink when they’re finished with them? Maybe even put them into the dishwasher?

Do you want them to leave their shoes laying around the house or is there a place in their closet for their shoes? What about your shoes? Do you leave them where they fall when you kick them off at the end of the day? Or do you kick them off, pick them up and carry them with you to your closet?

Think about the modeling you do now and let me know if you think you want to model some things a little differently or not.

 

 

The Clutter Cost of Buying in Bulk

March 23, 2016

Marketplace

Shopping for groceries and other household supplies is expensive. There’s no denying that. The stores entice us with sale notices and the BOGO (Buy One Get One) stickers on certain items. I’m all for getting something for free but is it really free?

When we buy in bulk, buy more than what we can realistically use, there is a cost to us beyond the actual monetary one. It is the cost of clutter.

It’s so tempting to go to a big box store and buy lots of the things we use at a lower price point. It’s a great way to save money. But what is the cost to us when we get home and have no place to put all of the extra supplies?

Some people have big pantry closets where they can store lots of supplies. For these people there may not be any clutter cost because they will be able to put the extras they buy away. They have the shelf or cupboard space to house the extras.

What about those of us with limited storage space? Our cupboards and shelves are small. They already hold our necessary supplies and can only be refilled when our current supply (the one we actually use) runs out. There’s no room to store extras.

We can get creative and use the open space above the cupboards to store things like extra rolls of paper towel and toilet paper. That space can also be used for extra boxes of cereal or power bars. If there is no space above the kitchen cabinets then these supplies typically land on the kitchen counter or on the floor!

I bring this up because recently I was working in a home and the home owner had been shopping at a big box store. The home was a small one. The kitchen was tiny. It was perfectly adequate for this single person’s needs but did not have space available to store extra snack food, paper towels, toilet paper and light bulbs.

These items all landed on the living room floor leaving little room for the home owner and her dog to move around.

We ended up moving many of the paper goods to a spot in a corner of the living room. We put the extra snack food in containers and stacked them in the extra bedroom. These are fine temporary solutions.

My advice to my client was to find a friend to shop with if she wants to continue buy in bulk for the cost savings. The two of them could share the cost of the food and divide the things they bought. A win/win for everyone!

Do you buy groceries in bulk? Do you have a great way of storing the extras? Write me back and let me know!

 

New Habits for a New Year

January 13, 2016

Did you identify a habit to change? Perhaps you just want to shake up your routine. Take your time and change your habit little by little. If you’ve decided to lose a few pounds then why not start by reducing the size of your portions? You can even trick yourself by using a smaller plate. That way the portions look right for the size of the plate!

woman chosing salad over burger

If you decided to work out more often why not start by taking a short walk every day and then gradually increasing the distance you walk and the pace you set. There’s a great app for that. Check out RunKeeper. I use it every morning when I walk my dogs. I like to see how far we’ve traveled (usually not that far as I have limited time), what pace we kept (we walk slowly as my dog, Miles, likes to sniff a lot), and how many calories I’ve burned in the process.

young fitness woman hiker legs at forest trail

young fitness woman hiker legs at forest trail

If you want to get more sleep try going to bed five or ten minutes earlier each night until you arrive at the bedtime that works for you.

 

Bright moon in the night sky

Night fairy tale – bright moon in the night sky

Be consistent in your efforts and forgive yourself if you goof one day. Remember your reason for creating a new habit and make a plan to start implementing it. You may want to post some reminders around the house or set reminders in your phone to help you.

I know it will be hard for me to resist doing a few errands if I don’t have a client scheduled on a Monday morning and if I have errands to do. However, it has become increasingly evident to me that I really need to dedicate this time to business housekeeping. Knowing that makes me WANT to create this new habit.

Be sure about the habit you are choosing to create. Since you know that changing a habit is a challenge it’s not enough to need to change the habit. You also have to WANT to make this change. Once you have the desire to change, make a plan to take small incremental steps toward this new habit. Small steps are the key to lasting change.

 

Changes?

January 6, 2016

 

Changes ahead

So, now that we are really and truly into the New Year it’s time to act on the resolutions we made. I told you already that the big change I’m making in my weekly routine is to set Monday mornings aside to take care of business housekeeping. I resolved to keep those hours to myself. I have decided that I will not take care of errands or allow myself to book a client on a Monday morning.

What habit did you decide to change? Did you decide to work out more often? To lose a few pounds? To take more time for yourself? To get to appointments on time? To get more sleep by going to bed earlier?

The reason I have decided to set Monday morning aside for business housekeeping is that in the course of the last couple of years as I have become much busier with clients and other business opportunities (YIPPEE!) I have had less time to take care of these little details. I have been fitting them in – in between other tasks – and not giving them my full attention.

What’s your reason to create a new habit or change your routine? It will be easier to work on when you know exactly why you have decided to work on it.

Whatever it is that you resolved to do absolutely will not happen unless you make some changes in how you run your day or how you do what you do. This is a true statement. It may sound a little harsh but it’s a fact nothing changes if nothing changes. You can only have a new or different result by changing your habits.

It’s also true that it’s real work to change a habit. It’s so much easier to give into temptation and do things the way you’ve always done them. It’s also true that lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it can be done. Next week I’m going to give you some strategies to start creating this new habit.

I’d love to know if there’s a change you’re going to make in your routine and if so, what it is.

Manners?

June 10, 2014

I was reading the June 2014 issue of Real Simple magazine this week. I love this magazine and always read it cover to cover. I find their articles informative, fun and often thought provoking. I was very interested in their article on manners. Actually, I was intrigued that they started out by talking about the word “Etiquette”. I have a book coming out later this summer and the final chapter in my book is titled “Etiquette and You: Why it Matters”.

Does the word “etiquette” fill you with fear? If you have read the article in Real Simple, you know that it’s not at all scary – or shouldn’t be. Etiquette is more about following socially acceptable conventions. For instance, remembering to thank someone when they’ve given you a gift, or let you stay at their home for the weekend, or even granted you an interview. Yes, I am talking about a handwritten pen and paper note sent via the United States Postal Service with a stamp. I have more about exactly how to write a really good personal and business thank you note in my book.

Other points the article raised were about when to use or not to use a cell phone. I was so happy to read that the authors of the article and I agree that the dinner table is no place for a cell phone. Conversation is a wonderful thing! Enjoy the time you’re spending with the person or people and don’t even think about checking your phone. Any message (phone or text) will be waiting for you when the meal is over. Be truly present at the table, turn your phone off and put it away. I believe you’ll find that you relax better and enjoy the food and camaraderie more when you are unplugged.

The article also talks about the place setting. Have you ever been asked or have you ever asked the question – Is this my water? I put an illustration of a place setting in my book because I get asked that question often. I know which is my water and you should, too. In case you’re wondering it is the glass on the right-hand side of the place setting, above your knife.

There’s lots more to this article, just as I cover lots more in my chapter. This is a good start. Are you curious? Next time you see newsstand carrying Real Simple magazine pick one up. You won’t be disappointed!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on etiquette. What does this word mean to you?

Make a Change

March 19, 2014

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could snap your fingers or wiggle your nose like either Samantha on Bewitched or Jeanne on I Dream of Jeanne and have something be changed? The problem is nothing changes if nothing changes. Think about that.

It’s tax season. We all have to locate the documents so that we can find the numbers to fill out the forms for our taxes. Some documents may be filed in the cloud, some may be in a pile on the floor, some may be in a file cabinet in multiple files. What if you changed the way you stored ALL tax related documents? You could, for instance, scan all the documents as they arrive in your house and store them together in a file in the cloud labeled ‘TAXES’. You could also print all tax related documents and store them in a file in your file cabinet labeled ‘TAXES’. This way when you were ready to prepare your taxes all you would have to do is take out your taxes file from the cabinet or refer to the file marked ‘taxes’ in the cloud. Simple, right? Sure, it’s simple but you have to buy into the process and change how you file your documents to make it happen. You can do it, if you’re ready to change how you file your documents. Maybe you already have such a file and preparing your taxes is a snap!

How about the mail? What do you do with the mail when you bring it in your home? Does it land on the counter in a pile? Do you look at the contents of the pile everyday and sort through it? Perhaps you wait until the end of the week to look at the mail. If that’s the case, I bet the mail is spilling all over the countertop and getting in the way. Why not change this situation? You can get an inexpensive stadium file. Create a few categories that resonate with you and your family. Some suggestions are: Bills, Filing, Read, Pending. Now as you bring in the mail sort it into these categories. You might put magazines and catalogues in a basket to look over later. Put anything you are not going to even open into either a recycling bin or a shred basket and file the remainder into the stadium file categories. Now you’ve changed the system and the mail has a place to go – instead of making a home all over your counter.

What about laundry? Are there clothes all over the floor in your room? Have you heard the expression ‘the floor is not an option’? When you change your clothes put clothes you can wear again away – either hang them up or fold them neatly and put them where they go. Shoes go in the closet or on a shoe rack. Any clothes that need to go to the dry cleaner can be placed in a pile on the floor of the closet or in a basket. Other clothes that can be washed should go into a laundry hamper ready for you when you tackle the laundry! Tweak the system a little and the bedroom floor will be clear of clothes! The added benefit is that your clothes do not get crumpled laying on the floor.

Speaking of laundry. You know it’s not really done until it comes out of the drier, is folded, and put away. Some people I know think that the laundry is done – finished – when it’s been put in the drier. Sorry, get the laundry out of the drier, complete the process and then you can call it done!

What habit will you change to create change in your home?

Appropriate Cell Phone Use

August 6, 2013

Is your cell phone always at hand and ready for you to use? Mine is almost always nearby but quite often I have my phone on silent. I figure whoever is looking for me will either leave a voice mail or send a text.

Do you think there are times and places where you should purposely not use your phone? I do. I can think of many situations where it is not appropriate to use your phone. The movie theatre or actually any show is one. Cell phone use in that situation disturbs the people sitting around you. At dinner, whether it is at home or in a restaurant is another place. It’s hard to have a good conversation if everyone is staring at their phone! I’m sure you can think of other situations.

Another particular situation is on my mind because of a TV ad I saw recently. Perhaps you’ve seen the same ad? The ad takes place in a bathroom. Why would you ever feel the need to call someone at the same time as you are using a toilet?  I bet the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t want to know that you’re in the bathroom. I bring this up because there is an ad on TV that highlights this very situation. The ad is actually promoting the fact that T-Mobile no longer has cell phone contracts. With T-Mobile you can replace your phone whenever you need to – regardless the length of time you’ve owned the phone. The ad I’m thinking of shows a man standing in front of a urinal  with his cell phone braced between his shoulder and ear. He is talking on the phone. It is a public bathroom with several vacant urinals in view. Another man walks into view just as the phone slips and falls into the urinal. The first man hesitates, the viewer is lead to believe he is thinking about reaching into the urinal to rescue his phone and then there is the promotion for the T-Mobile service. T-Mobile makes their point but I think the point could also be made by showing someone jumping into a pool and then realizing their phone was in their pocket.

What do you think? Do you think it’s appropriate to use your phone whenever and where ever you feel like it? I’m interested to know!

Change?

February 20, 2013

I read an interview this morning on Linda Samuels’s blog The Other Side of Organized with Judith Kolberg.  I’m proud to say that both these wonderful women are colleagues as well as friends of mine! Linda interviewed Judith about change and why some people make the effort to change. It is a wonderful interview and I encourage you to visit Linda’s blog and read it.

I wanted to keep this topic of change going and talk about how to change and what motivates people to change.

First, let me say that change is never easy. It’s much more comforatble to continue doing what you’re doing. Change requires a concerted and obvious effort. To change you need to know exactly what you want to change and then be deliberate about effecting that change in your behavior.

So, if it’s not easy why change? Sometimes we want to change because our behavior is impacting the way we live, our relationships, our health, or our quality of life.

Here are a few steps to take to create change:

1. Identify One and only One behaior you want to change

2. Replace that behavior with a different one

3. Make a few signs (large ones) to remind you of the new behavior

4. Reward yourself when you are succesful

5. Do not punish yourself when you goof – just admit that you’ve goofed and try again!

 

When you have succesfully replaced the behavior you want to change with a new one then go ahead and identify another behavior to change. Remember that change is challenging so trying to change too many things at one time is not a recipe for success. Change one behavior at a time, building on each accomplishment.