Archive for the ‘errands’ Category

Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

April 13, 2016

Empty menu board

Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking about the kitchen. Buying and organizing supplies; only buying what you need. How do you know what you need?

Do you have a list to refer to when you grocery shop?

Some people have a list of the things they buy frequently from the store and they put a check mark next to the item when they need to replenish their supply. They leave space on the page to make note of the extra items to purchase. This is a very good option.

Other people create a list of things to buy as they run out of them. I have a small pad of paper in a holder on my refrigerator. When I run out of something or when it is running low I can quickly make a note of it on this paper. This way I don’t over buy.

Another tip is to once a week schedule time in your calendar to sit down and create a menu plan for the following week. Check your recipes to see what non-perishable items the recipe calls for and then take a look in your pantry to see if you have those grocery items. If you do, you won’t need to buy them. If you don’t then add them to your grocery list. I like to make a little note on my grocery list what recipe certain items are going to be used for – particularly if it’s something out of the ordinary. That helps to jog my memory!

Buy the perishable items for only a few meals at a time. This way if your plans change and you decide to eat out it will be easy to reschedule that meal.

Another tip is to try not to grocery shop when you’re hungry. I know that if I’m hungry when I go grocery shopping I end up buying food that I don’t need. I buy way too much and I also buy food items that look appealing at the moment but that in reality I won’t eat. I also tend to buy more snack food.

Schedule your trip to the grocery store after a meal if you can.

Please let me know how you plan your grocery shopping and if you think planning your meals will help you?

 

 

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.

 

Planning

May 27, 2014

Do you have a plan for the day? Do you have a general idea of what you’re going to do or what you want to accomplish today? I’m sure you have places you have to be – perhaps work or appointments – that are accompanied by a specific time. That takes up part of your day. What about the rest of your day? Do you have friends you want to call or meet up with? Do you have errands you want to do? Perhaps you have a project like reorganizing a room on your mind. How or when will you get started? How will you get the other things that are swirling around in your mind done?

Planning is the key to getting things accomplished. Think about it. You schedule a dentist appointment, doctor’s visit, a haircut and the list goes on. You set aside time to take care of these appointments. So, how about setting aside time to get things done at home?

Recently, I was working with someone to reorganize their laundry room. I knew this was going to be a large (lengthy) project so rather than try to accomplish it in one day which would have been overwhelming we set aside time each day during the course of a week. We broke the project down into small manageable steps. You never know exactly how long each step will take and, in fact, one of the steps in this laundry room project took a little longer than anticipated.

Our first step, which should be the first step in every reorganization of a space, was to remove everything from this laundry room – other than the washer and drier, which we left in place. Then we sorted the items we had removed. Once we knew what was going to return to this room we were able to talk about how to organize these things. It’s important to creatively use the space you have. We decided that installing shelves about the washer with an additional shelf and clothes hanging bar above the drier would allow us to put everything away neatly.

We planned time to shop at The Container Store for the elfa shelving system and then we planned time to install the shelves and put everything away. The laundry room reorganization was a huge success! All the items are put away. The room looks great!

Do you have something in mind that you want to tackle this summer? Take a little time and write down all the ideas you have swirling around in your mind. Make a prioritized list of these ideas and decide which one you want to tackle first. Then make a plan. Schedule the time to implement your plan. Remember it may require that you spread this out over several days or maybe even several  weeks. If you plan it, it can happen!

Impact of Clutter

July 23, 2013

Picture this…. You have just moved into your new home. All the boxes have been emptied, the cardboard has been recycled, the furniture is placed, books are on shelves, the pictures are hung…. You are home! Yeah!! This is a wonderful feeling – can it last?

Absolutely! All you have to do is remember that when something comes into your home that item must have a place to belong, a reason for being there. Is it useful? Great! Do you love it, is it beautiful, do you plan to display it? Also great!

Sometimes We bring things in (or are given things) thinking they’ll be useful or beautiful only to find out that whatever it is doesn’t really fit in. Then instead of taking it back to the store or giving it to someone else we tend to find a temporary home for the item. Fully, intending to deal with it later. Guess what? Later never comes. The item doesn’t leave our house and turns into clutter.

 

The longer you let these things linger in your home the more you become accustomed to having lots of stuff around you. Maybe you are so accustomed to all the stuff that you don’t even see it any more! Take your blinders off! Plan time every now and then to cull your collections. Take things that you aren’t using and either give them away, recycle them, or sell them.

Sometimes things come into our home because a loved one has passed away and you don’t know what to do with all the things’ from your relative’s home. This is a really tough situation. My suggestion is to take your time and carefully go through the boxes or bags one at a time. If there are pieces of furniture that you love and would like to keep consider swapping out a piece or two of your furniture. Donate or sell the pieces you are swapping out. Remember that the space in your home is not going to expand to accommodate the influx of things.

As for the knick knacks, keep and display the ones that truly mean something to you. Take pictures of the ones that you don’t really love but that you are reluctant to part with because these things meant something to your loved one. The pictures will serve as a place keeper for the memories. Then you can donate or sell the knick knacks you aren’t keeping.

A key component to keeping the awesome feeling of being settled in your home is maintenance. Put things away, return them to the store if you’re sure you aren’t keeping them, and toss/recycle/donate other things to keep clutter from accumulating and having a negative impact on that wonderful peaceful feeling that you first enjoyed when you originally settled into your home.

Live Now

December 19, 2012

I was at my local grocery store earlier today. Grocery shopping was just one of the many errands I had to do today. I took some time last night to organize my grocery list. I went through the recipes of the special dishes my family has requested for Christmas Dinner. I wanted to include some of the non-perishable ingredients on my grocery list. This will save me a little time next week and I’ll be able to do a little pre-cooking! I love my neighborhood grocery store. I know many of the people who work there. They are always friendly and helpful! One of these helpful people came to help me unload my grocery cart. As is our custom, we had a little conversation. She said, ‘It looks like you’re getting ready for Christmas’. I replied, ‘Yes, I am. Are you ready or getting ready?’ She looked at me sadly and said ‘No, I’m not. I miss my family. It’s just not the same without my family. So, I’m feeling a little lonely and sad. It’s hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit.’  I told her that I was sorry she felt that way. Many of my family members are far from me so I can truly empathize with my grocery store friend. In fact, one of my sons will not be coming home for Christmas. I’ll be seeing him for New Year’s, that’s some consolation, but I will miss him on Christmas Day.

Many people, particularly at this time of year feel a little sad or lonely – missing family members and perhaps shared family traditions. I don’t have a remedy or solution but I do have a couple of strategies.

One strategy is not unique. It’s a mindset. I try to live in the present, to enjoy and remember what has come before but to really live in the now. There was a time when I was almost exclusively focusing on the future and living in the past. I can recall saying to myself something like: I love the way we used to be able to sit outside, I can’t wait until we move from this apartment and I can sit outside with my coffee again. I would say this alot when we lived in a small apartment in Hong Kong. Looking back I really liked our apartment. The photographs I have of it are lovely. I know now that I didn’t truly appreciate it at the time because I was not living in the present.

My other strategy is to be a volunteer. When you are volunteering on a project, helping other people, you can not help but be happier. First of all, you meet other interesting people – always a benefit, and you work to make something better. Sometimes the work is hard but then when you’ve accomplished a pre-set goal or task you can go home and be proud of your work. You’ll sleep well from the physical effort and knowing you’ve helped in some way. That’s a good, rewarding and happy feeling.

So, if you’re feeling a little blue try doing a some volunteer work this will help you to focus on someone or something other than yourself. Remember to live in the present and appreciate all that you have – no matter what that is. After all, we no longer have the past and the future is yet to come. So, live now.

Living in Today

October 2, 2012

Do you find yourself living in the future? I mean, are you the type of person who says something like ‘I can’t wait for …? I know when my children were very little I would say to myself ‘I can’t wait for my baby to roll over’. When he was able to do that I went on to say ‘ I can’t wait for my baby to sit up’. This went on through the years and now both my babies are young men and living on their own. I did appreciate the moments as they happened but what I realize now is that I was always focused on something in the future. Focused on what would (or should) come next. I am learning to be better about living in today.

Now, having said that, you need to know that I still like to plan. I almost always plan my day the night before. That is to say, before I leave my desk at the end of my work day, I create a prioritized list of the things I want to do the next day. I factor in my appointments and any errands as well as household chores and the tasks I want to accomplish. This frees my mind and enables me to enjoy the evening. Planning the night before also allows me to get up in the morning knowing what I am doing today. I am intent on bringing my best self to the day instead of letting my mind create illusions about what the next month or several months may hold in store for me.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I don’t have (or that you shouldn’t have) long term goals. I do have a long term goal. I have broken this long term goal down into a series of shorter term projects. I have further broken these projects down into smaller segments. These segments, or baby steps, are planned into my day – as the day allows. The thought I am trying to convey is that I am not simply striving toward achieving my goal. I will, certainly, celebrate and be happy when that occurs. I am actively living in today – appreciating the small accomplishments of each day – and enjoying the here and now.

This is a shift in attitude and perspective for me. It’s one that has brought me peace of mind. I’m happier and I find I’m much more appreciative of what today is offering me. I’m interested to know if you live in today. Do you spend your time revisiting what has happened – living in the past? Or, do you look to the future? Write me back and let me know. I look forward to your comments.

What do I do first?

May 1, 2012

I am often asked this question by some clients with lengthy ‘to-do’ lists and by other clients with multiple large scale projects to complete. I do not answer this question directly rather ask my clients to think through the process of prioritizing. They define for me (and in that process clarify to themselves) the importance of the project. Is it time sensitive? What is the ripple effect of this project? Does a colleague’s project hinge on the completion of this project?  What will happen if this project is delayed in order to finish another project? Is this project something the client wants to do for himself or is someone else asking this project be done?

Once these questions are answered I ask my client to look at his calendar. I am a firm believer that nothing happens unless it is scheduled. The trick is to be careful not to schedule so many things into a time slot (or into a day) that you become overwhelmed just looking at your daily calendar. Another trick is to group like things. In other words, if my client has several phone calls to make on his ‘to-do’list I suggest he set aside a block of time and make all those calls. Next, look at the errands that are on a ‘to-do’ list. Are there any errands in the same vicinity? Which ones can be easily done one after the other? It saves my clients time to organize their calls and errands this way.

Something else to consider, when my client has a large scale project that is overwhelming the best tip I can give is to break the project down into manageable parts. Look at the pieces of the project separately and decide when to start. Assign a little time each day until that portion of the project is finished. Set a timer for 20 minutes when the timer rings come to a logical stopping point and walk away from the project. Maybe take care of one or two small tasks. Then begin the next part of the project. Do this until the entire project is finished. Believe me, you’ll be finished before you know it because it’s not overwhelming when broken apart into manageable pieces.

If you are asking “What do I do first?” see if answering the questions I pose my clients help you arrive at a starting point.