Time Management

How To Make it a GREAT Day

No…. it isn’t Monday but I do love this picture!!!!!

Mornings are not my best time.  I used to LOVE them.  Yup, I was one of those crazy people who was on the go from early in the morning till I crashed at night.  Then I got OLD!  LOL.  No actually MS hit. Now,  I wake up in an MS fog which takes like an hour to fade away.  I used to say, “Don’t talk to me until I had my coffee”, now it is “Don’t talk to me until I can clear the fog”.

Despite the fog, I do everything I can to make it a GREAT day!  Some days are easier than others but I am determined to make the most of it.

How do you start your days?  Do you set the alarm to get up early (maybe an hour before everyone else)?  Are you full of motivation and anticipation for the day ahead or are you dragging and dreaded what might be.  Despite the struggles which come with MS, I usually have my days planned out in some detail – where I’m going, who I will meet, what work I will get done and even some white space on the calendar for those unexpected curve balls called life.that-wonderful-monday-morning-feeling-L-56cqQ9

Yup, it is all about the Law of Attraction.  The reality is your negative (dreading) thoughts are killing your productivity before you even start your day.  I know some days are tough.  Some times it feels like every day is a Monday.   I try to keep a positive attitude.  Do you let one bad day, set the tone for the rest of the week or even the next few days?  So, are you looking to make a change?

To be honest, when I decided to make the most of every day, I actually took control of my life’s direction.  Now, before you start the negatives of why you CAN’T do these things, give them a chance.  Remember baby steps are what help change the chaotic into the manageable.  I don’t always do them all perfectly BUT I give them my best shot.

#1 REST

Allow yourself to really slow down and unwind.  Maybe it is a glass of wine or reading a book or a bubble bath or a massage or watching endless episodes on Netflix?  Why not, right?  I know, you have a MILLION reasons but a little self indulgence lets you take some well earned rest.  Your weekends (days off) should be different then your work week.  It allows you time to forget the stresses and strains of being a busy woman on the go.  You get to recharge so you are ready to start all over again.

#2 LIVE POSITIVELY

You need to practice this one daily.  I know those inner gremlins are screaming at you.  I know you have bad days.  I have them too.  The first thing I do is remind myself my life is not this one day.  STOP and be grateful for the things in your life.  It will help you  to appreciate how good life really is. Your thoughts, your words, your status’, your tweets, your Facebook posts should ALL be positive. You wont be perfect but if you do your best; it will have a huge impact on the way you live your life.sunshine1

#3 RISE EARLY

I have talked about this before…Getting up early is the most motivating and self satisfying thing you can do.  When I used to wake up before 6am; I knew it was going to be a really great day. Devotions done by 6:30AM. Coffee and a shower and I am at my desk by 7:30am.   Why so early? So I can be done in my office by 10 to enjoy time with hubby.  Days like these, I am unstoppable. My mood is upbeat and I feel energized because I have been productive.  Okay, so things have changed slightly with the onset of MS BUT on those days when I am up early and am ready to go – my outlook is so much brighter.

#4 MAKE LISTS

This is more a part of my life since the MS but I have to admit, I LOVE seeing things checked off.  I make lists to ensure I don’t miss any thing and everything gets done.  It is also a great way to set-up my planner so I don’t over schedule or over commit myself.

#5 TAKE REGULAR BREAKS

Yes, this actually is the key to being productive on any day.  By taking a regular break, I get fresh eyes and enthusiasm.  Planning all my tasks out in small increments helps too.  It ensures I am not working non stop (or running around) for long hours.  This is how I avoid the afternoon sugar and feeling lethargic so my productivity suffers.   Take a tea break.  Go for a short walk.  Take a power nap.  Read a little in your favorite book.  You will see a huge difference in the rest of your day.

So, what are you going to do to make a difference in your day which will ripple into making a difference in your week?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Time Management, Unclutter Your Life

Busy Mom Tips

Hopefully by now you have settled into a routine after the back to school craziness.  Are you wishing you could put an “out of order” sign on your head and run away?  Thank you to The Peaceful Mom for the inspiration for today’s blog…

Are you searching for a way to get it all done and stay sane?  Do you wonder if it is even possible to do that?  Is your to-do list growing while your time seems to be slipping away?

I know my daughter is grown but I do still run into days like this.  I think I still suffer from the same overwhelm I did so many years ago juggling work, business and family.  Here are some tips from the Peaceful Mom and me.

#1 – KICK MOM GUILT TO THE CURB

It is okay if you don’t get everything done.  Let me repeat “it is okay NOT to get everything done”!  Some things can wait.  Yup, I still suffer with mom guilt.  🙂  The best way for me to get things done is to set THREE tasks a day as my top priority.  I used to do this when Belinda was growing up.  Picking just one or two things to get done during the week while I was working full-time and being mom taxi.  I seemed to forget how well it worked until a business coach, Desiree Wolfe suggested the same thing for my business.

Some tasks can wait, it all depends on what needs attention at the moment. I have started using my Passion Planner for more then just keeping track of office hours, weekly to dos, business stuff and medical appointments.  I am using it to list my 3 things for the day.  I love the fact it has space to make lots of notes  as well as a spot to celebrate “good things which happened”.  Now, I am sure you could accomplish more than 3 things in a day BUT for those days when getting 3 things done is a struggle, you will want to have this system in place.  Sometimes the list looks like this:

Yup, when brain fog sets in, this could be my list of things to do.  The biggest accomplishment is no losing my temper and on some days it is a true miracle.

#2 THINK TINY

Do you have “time pockets”?  You know the 5 or 10 minutes while you are waiting for the kids in the school line or washing some dishes as you cook dinner.  I like the term “time pockets” instead of multi-tasking.  Pick a task to do while you are waiting (one which will only take a few minutes)… waiting for the kids, waiting in line to check out, waiting for your gas task to be filled.  How many time pockets do you have and how can you fill them to get more things done?

#3 – CHOOSE YOUR TOOLS

Busy moms need practical, functional tools to stay on top of all the details. Let’s face it we are not only juggling our own stuff but things for the entire family.  I use a paper planner, the calendar app on my phone and Notes on my phone.  I talked about my Passion Planner.  It is where I dream big, set my goals and priorities then create a weekly plan to pull it all together.  I use my smart phone calendar to set notifications and keep track of appointments because it is linked to my iPad and my MAC.  The benefit of Google Calendar is you can keep everyone’s stuff organized then share it with everyone across all devices.  You need to find a system which works for YOU.

#4 – MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF

I take time each week to plan for the upcoming week. My planning time is Sunday evening and I plan out:

  • My Calendar: Set the goals, projects and top priority tasks for the week and time block on my calendar.  I also prep for the week for posting on all of my business pages with CinchShare.
  • Meals:  Planning for meals is a BIG help for busy moms.  Since I only cook twice a week, it is not tops on my list.  
  • Money:  This is now part of my Sunday night routine.  Review the bills which need to be paid and figure out what the budget will be for the week.  

When you take the time to plan, you will find the week goes some much smoother.  Include scheduling the planning time on your calendar so you don’t make excuses.

#5 – BUDDY UP

Carpooling can be a life saver for the busy mom.  Team up with someone to share the mom taxi role.  You take the kids to practice, she picks them up.  You watch her kids so she can run errands and then swap so she watches yours.  Remember we don’t have to do it ALL!  Teaming up with other moms gives everyone a break.  No help?  Why not limit your kids extra activities and your extra commitments.  No, it won’t make you a bad parent!  

The BIGGEST tip is to remember what is really important and stop obsessing over little things.  For many years, I felt guilty for leaving Belinda a daycare from the time she was 6 weeks old BUT when things came together and I was able to quit my job to work at home, I realized what was important.  She didn’t remember spending days at daycare when she remembers (I hope) is the time we spent together while she was in HS and my schedule was flexible.

Remember you are doing the best you can do with everything on your plate.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time Management

Kitchen Chaos to Calm

 

It is the holiday time of year which means lots of parties, family gatherings, and holiday events.  Spending time with the people we love – family and extended family.

Growing up, my mom  was the ultimate “hostess with the mostest.”  Our house was always a gathering place.

I was always amazed at how well things came together.  She planned the meal, the decorations and made sure everything came together in an attractive range of colors. When she said, “dinner will be served at 5:00 PM,” dinner was served at 5:00 PM, give or take ten seconds. Hot foods hot, cold foods cold. She always seemed to pull it all off effortlessly, never breaking a sweat or allowing anyone in the kitchen to help.  Okay, maybe a little help but not much.

I didn’t inherit this gene.  There have been periods in my life when things may have come together but then there were those times when I was just moments from a melt-down. And by the time my guests arrived, the last thing I wanted to do was eat. All I wanted to do was hide in my bedroom until they were gone!  I can even remember cooking my first turkey and forgetting to take out the “bag with the gizzards and stuff out”.  Yup, we found it when we cut the turkey.  I was horrified!

 

Do you get caught up in kitchen chaos when you’re trying to practice hospitality?  Do gatherings make you excited, nervous and down right sick?  Here are five steps to create kitchen calm I found in a recent blog:

1. Take breaks

Breaks are vital to self-soothing when chaos starts creeping in.  They aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity.  Taking a break simply means getting out of the kitchen for a few minutes and …

…sitting in a favorite chair with a good book.
…reclining on the couch (with or without a purring cat!)
…listening to quiet (or upbeat) music.
…taking a brisk walk.
…whatever else works for you!

The goal is a mind set change. Think of it as “cleansing the palate” of your head and heart before you move on to the next step of meal preparation.

2. Make a written plan

I have always written the menu and gotten all of the ingredients together.  My problem always seems to be I get them in the oven okay but then I end up with some dishes done too early while other still need to cook.  It took awhile but now I work backwards. I figure out how long each dish needs to bake, cook, set, or chill. Then I do the math to calculate when I need to begin.  Calculations are far more realistic than gut feels or guilt-filled “shoulds” will ever be. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can assure ourselves—It takes as much time as it takes.

3. Prepare ahead

Chaos always seemed to result when planning a gathering because I waited too long to start or didn’t allow anyone to help.  Now, part of my plan includes figuring out everything I can do ahead of time and what I can delegate.

House cleaning.  Not a strong point so I now start cleaning days prior and do strategic touch-ups on the day of.  Additional advance preparation includes:

  • buying pre-made ingredients rather than making everything home-made.
  • doing all the chopping, slicing, and dicing a day or two ahead.
  • taking the first step of a recipe (such as cooking the rice for a casserole) the night before.

Fixing a meal feels so much less daunting when everything is ready to “throw and go”!

4. Accept help

This was a hard lesson to learn.  I still struggle with shooing everyone out of the kitchen mainly because I never want to admit I need help.

Now, when someone says, “How can I help?” I refer to my plan and give them a specific answer.  “Could you peel and slice the carrots? ” “Would you put those rolls in the basket?”  “If you could pour the drink—it’s on the top shelf of the frig.”

5. Clean as you go

This is one is easy for me.  I quickly scrub and rinse everything in the sink and set it all in the dish drainer to air dry.  I use a towel as necessary and put everything back where it belongs.  It makes clean up so much easier and is a smart step toward sanity. Starting the next stage of meal preparation in a clean kitchen automatically creates a sense of calm.

So who is ready to host Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings?  What steps do you take calm kitchen chaos?  Thank you Cheri Gregory for sharing your tips.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time Management, Unclutter Your Life

UNPLUGGED

why unplugWhen was the last time that you totally UNPLUGGED from technology? I know that may be scary to some and I thought it was totally impossible. I mean I have my own business and my family is stretched out all over.  I rely on social media and technology for a large portion of my communication with family and friends. What happens if……?

The truth is that this weekend while I am at National Conference, I will be “unplugging” for long periods of time.  I know it may not seem like as your news feed on Facebook is flooded with moments in my pink bubble yet I am.  This is a time for me to fill my cup and build relationships with my Thirty One sisters.  Will the world end? No.

I am sure there are a million reasons you can think of as to why you should NOT unplug, right? BEFORE technology took over our lives. we used to call people on the phone.  if there was no answer, we kept calling.  If they had an answering machine, we would leave a message. The truth is business survived and thrived.  Our relationships were probably stronger because we had real lace to face conversations instead of “pictures” and snip its on social media.

The first time I totally unplugged was on our first cruise.  I was filled with the fear of “what if”.  Then each time got a little easier.  The first 24 hours are always the roughest then as time went on I actually didn’t think about it. I was enjoying building relationships with people face to face.  I found that I even enjoyed being “unplugged” for short periods of time.

I haven’t totally unplugged in a long time, although I have changed some things so that technology does not consume my life.  What about you?

What effect is technology having on your life? Does it consume your time, maybe your money, and without a doubt your energy, right?  How often do you check email as well as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites?  Are you obsessed with seeing what others are posting? Does it distract you from living in the moment?  And worst of all, do you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?  I have learned through my recent health challenges that being in the “moment” is much healthier for me mentally, physically and spiritually.  I have always said “there is no PURSE (substitute your product or reason for constant checking) emergency”.  I finally took my own advice.

Do I still check email in the middle of a meeting; while stopped at red lights; in the middle of dinner with my family; and as soon as my eyes popped open in the morning?  No.  I am learning to put the phone or the tablet away.  I even stopped having notifications show up on my phone.

The fear has subsided.  I am no longer afraid.  No longer afraid of missing out: on booking a party or the next big potential customer or potential team member; or maybe someone on my team needs.  I no longer worry about family being able to reach me. HELLO, we have mobile phones, right, if there is an emergency.  The fear of not being “in the know” or worse yet, having people go elsewhere for orders, parties or information is CRAZY!

Check out these tips for unplugging and re-claiming your life this weekend. Honestly, who would want to have their own business if you had to be accessible 24/7?

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Notifications from my phone are gone!  Yes, I still have apps but the only notifications that I get are text messages.  I start my morning with devotions and coffee – social media comes later.  I don’t even have multiple tabs open on my computer when I am working.  I have scheduled blocks of time to check email, Facebook and my other social media accounts. Believe it or not, I actually am and feel more productive in my business and in my personal life.

What will you do to #UNPLUG?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time Management

How To Be More Productive in the Morning

imgres   monday morning

It’s Monday morning…. which one are you this morning?

I really do enjoy Monday morning.  I look forward to the day because #1 I get to spend two days with my hubby and #2 I look at it as a new beginning.

I get that not every is a morning person and if I suggest that you can become one, you would probably throw something at the computer, right?  The truth is that a few simple changes to your routine can help you to be so much more productive during the day.

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1. Get enough sleep – Enough sleep is different for everyone.  For a LONG time, 4 or 5 hours was enough for me.  Now, I feel the most productive when I get at 7 hours.  To be more productive in the morning, once you know how many hours of sleep is ideal for you – figure out when you need to go to sleep.  I LOVE getting up early and being in my office by 6AM so I found going to bed at 10PM works for me.  I can get up at 5AM after 7 hours of sleep.  Does that happen every day? NO! But I try to make sure it happens 80% of the time.  Remember the 80/20 rule?  With the additional hours of sleep, you’ll wake up feeling fresh and happy. Simple enough, right?

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2. Write down a to-do list – Think about all the things you have to do the night before and write them down. In the morning, you’ll know what you have to do, and organizing your time will be way easier.

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3. Be motivated – Find a reason to get up in the morning. For example, you might want to wake up early to fit in a morning workout, or to have some extra time to cook a healthy breakfast.  I get up early to squeeze in some quiet time to write and work on my business.

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4. Take your time – Don’t rush!  Give yourself plenty of time. Nothing is worse than running out of time and not being able to do everything on your to-do list. Give yourself time to wake up, get ready, drink your coffee and prepare for the day ahead.

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5. Have a playlist – Start your morning with some music. This will help you wake up in a good mood, and make you more motivated throughout the day.  I love singing out (often off key) to some of my favorite songs

What do you do in the morning to help you be more productive? Exercise? Meditate?  Share YOUR best tip with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!