Big or little....decisions are everywhere in our lives. They can haunt the back of our minds as we move through the day or be one of a million we make subconsciously.
The ones that drive me crazy are the little ones that become big and cause angst and churning. Personally speaking, when I have a big decision I'm grappling with I find myself getting bogged down in little ones - like what to wear, or what to make for supper. Easy enough, right? Yes, unless indecision is weighing me down.
My solution? It always comes down to a list (What did you expect? I'm an organizer - I thrive on lists!). In this case, a brain dump of all my thoughts regarding the decision at hand. Paper, white board, post it notes (these are really my favorite), word doc - whatever tool appeals to you - and then dump all your thoughts regarding the decision. Actually, all thoughts in general - the "to do" tasks and thoughts of daily living - need to come out, too!
Then I divide the list into pros and cons - which is why post its are my favorite method - they can just be moved around on a wall and, voila! You have a visual of the struggle going on behind the scenes in your brain. Highlighters can also be helpful to distinguish pros and cons - color adds another dimension to the visual decision making process.
"It doesn't matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions." - Jim Rohn
How do you make weighty decisions? Do you have a tool or process that works for you? I'd love to know more - please share in the comments below!
Where does the time go? It is already August, kids are prepping for fall sports, and parents are scrambling to have a few last adventures in summer and still get the family ready for school. Get the school year off to a smooth and smart start - and keep it that way - with a few tips and tricks from my article over at Smead Organomics. And while you are there, check out all the other cool organizing stuff they have - it's a great resource!
Six people, 2 dogs, and life spent travelling, working, and living. While this lifestyle may not be for everyone, Bryanna of Crazy Family Adventure shares her insight into how to do more with less and enjoy life along the way. She talks of how we have to identify our wants and our whys - and not lose sight of our priorities.
Here is a snippet from one of her latest blogs titled, "How we manage (or don’t) running a business, being parents, and traveling full time." You can then head over and read more at her site!
"We have learned how to simplify our life by having less things. We are deepening our family bond by spending a lot of time together and will continue to push to make this our top priority. We will also keep a pulse on our business and the blog to make sure we don’t take on more then what we WANT to do.
The best advice I can give (for you and for me to read everyday!) is don’t lose sight of what you WANT to do in your day. Don’t lose sight of your priorities and make sure to catch yourself from going down a route that is going to back you in a corner (like having to work more to make more money because we are spending too much!).
Our WANTS and our WHY (to deepen our family bond) for traveling full time have helped pull us in multiple times to realign the direction we were going. We are living our live the way we WANT to not the way someone else or society tells us. But man, that pull is always there!" Keep reading more at her blog!
Last week I talked about my favorite methods to avoid "churning", or shuffling things from one spot to the next without making decisions on what to do with them. While the hula hoop is fun to use, a utilitarian white sheet or tarp works equally well and can be used two ways.
When there is a lot of visual clutter in a space I will cover the areas we are not working on with sheets or tarps. This physically defines the space we are working on much like the hula hoop does, as well as decreases the opportunity to bounce around to other areas.
The second way to use the sheets or tarps is to lay them down, often on the lawn, to sort large items into different categories. This is particularly useful when there are multiple people sorting and the person who needs to make the decisions can see the quantity of items in each category as well as duplicates, etc.
There are many different methods for organizing - I encourage and help my clients to find the ones that work for them and stick with it. Aim low and achieve, or overachieve!
P.S. Can you guess why I recommend a white sheet instead of a colored or printed one?
Ever walk into a room with the intention of getting it organized, start moving things around, but never really make a decision on what to actually DO with the stuff? Organizers call that "churning", or shuffling things from one place to another. It can be anxiety producing and lead to frustration - expending energy but not achieving organization.
How do we avoid churning? There are multiple methods, but I'm going to share my two favorites - hula hoops and white sheets. Personally I like the saying "Aim Low and Overachieve" - sometimes I modify it to just "Aim Low and Achieve" and both these tools help us do that.
The Hula Hoop Method
For example, we want to organize our entire craft room....that's a very large goal. To avoid churning, we are going to lay a hula hoop on a horizontal surface and only deal with what is within its circumference. Being confined to that space not only helps set an achievable goal, but it is much less overwhelming than organizing the entire room. Once we've made decisions on what is inside the hula hoop we can move it and repeat the process.
Next week I'll explain how I use a white sheet to organize. Stay tuned!
We keep searching for things that fit. The right shoes. A comfy pair of jeans. Maybe even a career or relationship. It is the struggle to right-size - make decisions based on the life we are living today - and preparing for changes we might encounter in the future.
A great example is the baby boom generation - they've raised their kids, had careers, and are now retiring and moving on to the next "life chapter". This phase can mean a smaller house with less maintenance, more free time to spend with the grandkids and for traveling, or even launching a new, entirely different, career.
A Closer Look at Right-Sizing
Right-sizing our homes doesn't have to involve grand, dramatic changes. In fact, right-sizing can often be a series of related steps that work together to make sense for your personal situation.
For a baby boomer, right-sizing might look like moving from a four bedroom where we raised our kids, to a one or two bedroom just for us. We let the space itself define what we keep - 2 beds instead of 4 mean we "need" fewer sheets, blankets and pillow cases. These simpler, smaller decisions that can be made right now pave the way for the harder, more emotionally laden ones we might face later.
The less we have to maintain the more free time we have to spend with loved ones, or pursuing new interests. Those big lawns, gardens, and driveways and the machines that helped us maintain them can be right-sized as well.
Remember: Just because we've always done it one way doesn't mean we can't ask ourselves what it would look and feel like if we changed our strategy - perhaps doing less of something - letting go of a time and energy-taker. The answer can, and often does, surprise us!
What have you right-sized in your life that has freed you up to spend time and energy elsewhere? Do you wish you would have done so sooner or was the timing just right?
Tell me I'm not the only one this has happened to - I'm cruising down the road in the midst of a packed-to-the-rim day, glance down, and I'm on "E". Big deal. Stop at the gas station and fill up. Except....the schedule is back to back and that 10 minutes makes me late for a stop, which snowballs the rest of the day. It feels like I'm barely holding on to my grasp on the day.
Who. In. The. World. Doesn't. Have. 10. Minutes? OK - I DON'T. On certain days/weeks, that is. My husband is aghast that I can essentially live in my car and not be cognizant of when it is on, or about to be on, empty.
Time to reflect! There reaches a point where the empty gas tank becomes a neon blinking sign saying that I'm not refueling myself, either. Burning ourselves out so there is nothing left in the tank means there is nothing to give out when working with clients, parenting, being a friend, etc.
I've used the oxygen mask analogy before in blog posts - if you don't put your oxygen mask on first you won't be able to help the person sitting next to you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to use my Daily Calm app to meditate and recharge for 10 minutes!
What are YOU doing to take care of yourself? Let's encourage and support each other. I am doing this by giving away a FREE Strategy Session! Just LIKE this blog post and you'll be entered to WIN!
"What travels around the world while staying in one corner? (A stamp). Your brain will thank you for stamping out clutter when you make a commitment to doing it." - John Eggers
Thank you to John Eggers of The Bemidji Pioneer for this little riddle, and for sharing his personal angle on how clutter affects his life - and what he hopes to do about it! In his column he shares how a literal run-in with a deer mount and toy popgun gave him pause and new clarity when it comes to the need to gain control over one's surroundings.
Strategies for Everything from Popguns to Piles of Paperwork
As Eggers discusses, the theories and strategies for decluttering are almost as plentiful as the piles in our homes. In my experience, it isn't so much about choosing the strategy that is popular - like the current 40 bags in 40 days approach - as choosing the strategy that works for you.
So if those 40 bags are your answer to regaining the basement, go for it. But maybe you don't necessarily have so much stuff, you just don't have an approach for keeping it organized in your home or office. Perhaps you need a combination of pruning your piles and a new filing method. As I work with clients, I see that the only true strategy that will work is the one that resonates, is doable, and gets consistent results. Your strategy might not look anything like your sister's or neighbor's. That's OK.
Eggers also points out that research confirms what I see everyday - an organized environment is good for the brain. If you need help finding your best strategy (and in turn maybe some extra brain power), give me a call or send me an email and we can work on this goal together!
Today I'm excited to share a Guest Post by Kelly Jo Zellmann, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Bemidji, MN. She is helping us look at our health goals and get on track to healthier days!
Are you ready to organize your health and prioritize your goals?
Now that the New Year has settled in, have you checked on how you are doing with your resolutions? Many of us start the year by setting some sort of goals or intentions with the number one goal of weight loss or to eat healthier. However, according to research, the percent of people who actually achieve their goals is less than 10%.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Bemidji, MN I am offering a virtual “March to Memorial Day” 12-week healthy lifestyle program. Through this program, you will receive personalized one-on-one support for nutrition and healthy eating, plus individualized goals to help you successfully get on the right track (and stay there) to achieve your nutrition and wellness goals. The program includes one initial consultation, six follow-up coaching sessions (bi-weekly), and weekly nutrition and exercise check-ins, with unlimited messaging, food and fitness tracking online, all done via phone and/or Skype.
Together, we will discover your motivation for change, help prioritize your goals, and keep you accountable. This program can fit into an already busy lifestyle without having to leave your home or office for appointments and work on your goals all at your own pace, one step at a time.
One of the keys to being successful at making any new lifestyle change is patience and not giving up. In the end, it’s about prioritizing your health to be at the top of your to-do list. Once you have the habits in place you will be well on your way to optimizing your health!
Contact me if you want to start organizing your health today! firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who