Archive for the ‘realistic’ Category

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!



Goal Setting

February 27, 2013

Last week I talked about change and how to go about making a change in your habits.  Today I thought I’d continue that theme by talking about goal setting. I am a believer in having lots of goals. Most of my goals are short-term and very achievable. I love that because short-term goals are usually easily achieved. What do I do when I achieve my goal? Reward myself, of course!

When you are thinking about setting goals for yourself work backwards. Start with the end in mind. By what date do you want to have completed this goal. Be realistic and honest with yourself. If the goal is huge and daunting you might never achieve it – that is self-defeating. Instead why not break that goal down into small chunks and set completed by (or achieved by) dates for each chunk. After you have set the completed by date list all the steps you need to take to arrive at your goal – reminder you are still working backwards. Now set a start date. Before you actually start pick a reward. What will you get for achieving this goal? Is it a tangible reward or an intrinsic one? One of my favorite rewards is a movie afternoon or evening. I love going to the movies and I don’t get there often enough so that is a wonderful reward for me.

Now, you’ve picked your goal and made sure that it is realistic. You’ve set a finished by date and a start date. You’ve listed the steps to take to accomplish the goal. You have a reward in mind. Your final step in this process is to get out your calendar and plan when you are going to take all these step toward your stated goal. Once you have the steps scheduled into your calendar you may need to reassess your completed by date. Sometimes we have a tendancy to over-schedule ourselves or think we can actually fit one more thing into our day. Be kind to yourself. If you really want to make this happen, it has to work within the confines of your other responsibiities. Allow a little flex room, sometimes things just crop up.

Take another look at the start date, the scheduled steps, and your end date. Are you being realistic? Do you have a little wiggle room there? If so, pick your reward and then get started.


Do you have time to…?

October 10, 2012

Do you get that deer in the headlights dazed look around this time of year when someone says something like ‘Do you have time to help me …’? There is always so much going on in the fall. Reconnecting with friends you haven’t seen much of during the summer at meetings, like the Garden Club or Book Club.  If you have children in school then there are the school parents nights to attend and parent/teacher conferences.  How about making or finding your child’s halloween costume? Following Halloween is my favorite of fall celebrations: Thanksgiving. But, leading up to Thanksgiving for me is the baking and preparing of the goodies which make up the Thanksgiving feast. Right on the tail of Thanksgiving comes Channukah and Christmas. I don’t know about you but I sometimes get a little overwhelmed thinking about all the activities that go along with Christmas.

Personally, I have lots of tasks to take care of in preparation for Christmas. I send out cards, decorate my house and bake lots and lots of cookies. I have several cookie monsters in my family and love to provide them with these delectable cookie treats at Christmas. I also have gifts to buy for my immediate family and for my siblings. So, in addition to buying the gifts, they also have to be wrapped and mailed to the recipients. How do I accomplish these tasks and keep from feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed? It’s all about organizing & prioritizing my time demands and knowing what additional tasks I can take on without overtaxing my schedule.

How can you avoid the deer in the headlights look as we get deep into fall? This is the topic of a workshop my colleague, Jonda Beattie, and I are presenting on Friday, October 19th in Alpharetta, Georgia. It’s going to be a wonderful workshop complete with holiday punch, christmas cookies and door prizes. Jonda and I will share our strategies that enable us to complete all the tasks surrounding these holidays AND enjoy them! Attendees will also receive a terrific handout full of useful tips. I hope to see some of you there.

Be Realistic

February 13, 2012

Are you realistic in what you expect to accomplish each day? How do you decide what to do and what can wait for another day? I make a daily list of the tasks I want to do and the errands I need to run every night before I leave my office. I spend some time thinking it through, deciding what is realistic and what is not. Then I look at my calendar and schedule my tasks into my day. There are a few important things to consider. Ask yourself if the task is time sensitive. Does the task have a dealine? For instance, is it a bill that must be paid by a certain date or an invitation that requires a response? Are you trying to cram too many things into a short amount of time? Can something wait for another day? I believe it is important to be realistic. When a list becomes too lengthy it is almost self-defeating. Looking at a lengthy list makes you think there’s sooo much to do, not enough time, so why bother starting because it will be impossible to finish. When you keep your list short and manageable it is easy to tackle the tasks one by one. It becomes even easier when you assign a specific time to each task. Then you know exactly when you are doing what. When you are realistic you are in control so, be realistic!