Did you know that you can use the warmer temperatures to be more productive? Here are three ways spring weather can help you get more done:
1. Harness the power of nature’s cycles.
Winter is often associated with a sense of barrenness. In many spiritual traditions, winter is a time for going inside – physically as well as mentally. It can be thought of as a time of being introverted or spending more time in meditation, prayer, or in solitude.
Spring, on the other hand, symbolically stands for new birth, a time of renewal, or starting over. Whether we like it or not, the animal part of our being does have certain rhythms or patterns it tends to follow year after year. Just like the birds that return after being away for the winter, or the flowers that start to pop their heads out this time of year, there seems to be something that moves us to take action.
After being inside for the winter months, the spring weather naturally pulls us to being more involved with projects and activities that just don’t seem so interesting during the colder season. Take advantage of this natural rhythm and start your clutter clearing now!
2. Energize your body and soul with sunshine.
Spring days are longer with more minutes of sunlight every day until late June. Here are some of the reported effects of sunshine:
- Sunshine is said to help enhance your immune system.
- Sunshine helps soothe nerves and boost your mood.
- Sunshine has positive affects on depression, fatigue, insomnia, stress.
- Sunshine increases the production of endorphins and serotonin in your brain which helps you feel more positive and energized.
- Sunshine provides the body with vitamin D, essential for many body processes.
It’s much more inspiring to work in a well-lit environment than a dark, dingy one. If you’re able to pull back the curtains and let the light into the area you’re working in you’ll feel better and have a clearer view of what you’re sorting.
3. Boost your brain functions with fresh air.
If you live in a place where the house gets shut up tight during the winter you already know how wonderful it can feel to open the windows for the first time in the spring. The air tends to get stale, and depending on what kind of air system you have in your home, it often gets recycled for months at a time.
Fresh air is reported to help:
- Make you happier – More oxygen helps your body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates learning, mood, sleep and vasoconstriction.
- Clearer thinking – Higher levels of oxygen to the brain can result in clearer thinking, improved concentration, and increased energy levels.
- Overall better health – When you breathe dirty air, your body has to work harder to get the oxygen it needs to function optimally.
These benefits are similar to some of the benefits of sunlight – if you can get fresh air (and sunlight!) into the area you’re sorting or organizing it’s possible you won’t feel so drained during and after your session.
Ready to start your clutter clearing process? Try these three tips and see how much more inspired you feel when you tackle the clutter!
“Stand up if you want to stay healthy, warn researchers. A study says office workers could be risking their health simply by sitting at their desk for hours at a time. It found people who spend more than four hours a day sitting down are at greater risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Those sitting for at least six hours were significantly more likely to have diabetes. The research involved 63,048 middle-aged men but US scientists say the findings are likely to also apply to women.”
Sitting at your desk for six hours a day dramatically increases the risk of cancer and diabetes | Dailymail.co.uk | 2.20.13
*Affiliate link on this page
One of the first thoughts that might pop into your mind when a friend or colleague starts talking about getting organized is about the piles of papers that may be littering the desk in our office, the books overflowing from the bookshelves onto the floor, or those bags of once-coveted conference giveaways which have taken up residence in the corner of the office. Scheduling time to tackle all of these types of tasks is a wise idea and will ultimately result in increased productivity.
However, there is another application for getting organized that is especially important in a business environment and is also tied to efficiency: preparing for and running a productive meeting. All of us have sat through meetings that went on much longer than necessary, when with a little advance preparation they could likely have been wrapped up in under an hour.
In today’s fast-paced, constantly connected world, it is more essential than ever that meetings are kept with a specific agenda and that the discussion remains focused. The key to doing this is a little advance preparation (here’s where the getting organized part is applied).
Here are some easy-to-apply tips for creating productive meeting agendas as well as running the subsequent meetings. Btw, I am using my own experience getting organized and running the NAPO-NY board meetings (I’m the President) as an example.
1. Keep it focused. In assessing topics for inclusion on the agenda, keep them very focused on the essential items requiring immediate attention. You may want to look to those that are deadline sensitive, “hot button” issues, or that have been sufficiently researched so that the ensuing discussion will make for a productive meeting. For example, the NAPO-NY board needed to approve a request from our 25th Anniversary committee chair by April 30. The request was about the budget for a commemorative program that is being produced. Needless to say, this topic was included on the April board meeting agenda.
2. Share key information in advance. In order to use the meeting time for productive group discussions and to make decisions, it is important to get all of the appropriate information organized and distributed to the attendees a few days in advance of the meeting so there is ample time to review it. I request that my board submit information for discussion topics in advance. I then review it to ensure that the information is clearly and completely presented so that the board will be able to make a decision with only minimal discussion.
3. Stick to the agenda. In order to be sure that there is sufficient time to address all topics on the agenda, it is essential that there are only minor additions to it during the meeting. When running the meeting, it is important to allot a specific amount of time for each of the agenda points. Understanding that the meeting attendees have blocked out a specific time slot for the meeting and being considerate of their other commitments is really key. As we have two hours allotted for our NAPO-NY board meetings, I guesstimate the amount of time that will be needed for each of the agenda points and then can pace the meeting accordingly. If we are ahead of schedule, additional time can be spent discussing an issue or a topic that wasn’t on the agenda.
4. Identify next steps. During the course of a meeting, there are typically next steps identified or decisions made as a result of the discussions. In an effort to get organized for any follow-up meetings, making note of the point person for specific tasks that are assigned during the meeting, along with the deadline for completing those tasks, is very important. For example, I am planning a retreat for my board and needed to locate a suitable meeting place for this day-long event. I made note of the three board members who volunteered to locate space for us and requested that they advise me of their findings within four days.
*Affiliate link on this page
What can you do in 10 minutes? In regards to technology, a whole lot! Let’s do some quick decluttering that is as simple as clicking the mouse’s button. 10 minutes starts now. Here we go!
Delete 5 emails from your inbox that you no longer need. To do this quickly, pick emails that don’t require much thought, like e-vites to events that have passed, e-newsletters you’ve already read (or will never read), and emails from retailers featuring expired coupons or deals.
Unsubscribe from 1 email subscription you don’t read. It’s as easy as scrolling to the bottom of one of those emails and hitting the Unsubscribe button. Follow the link, confirm your un-subscription, and close that tab.
Erase 5 photos from your phone. I was scrolling through the photos on my phone the other day and realized I have so many pictures that were taken to simply include in a text message. These photos weren’t particularly sentimental, so I erased them (i.e., snapshots of the meal of I was eating at the time). This saves space on my phone as well as my computer (since I back up my photos every so often).
Delete 3 files from your desktop. A lot of files downloaded from the Internet are saved to your desktop or perhaps you save things there to retrieve them easily. This makes sense, but it also means your desktop can get cluttered very quickly. Scan your desktop and get rid of three files you can do without.
Close unused tabs and/or programs. Running multiple programs at a time slows your computer down, so shut down any applications that you are not currently using.
If you have a Mac, right click on the application icons in your dock to make sure they are fully shut down. If one of the options in the menu that pops up is Quit, then click that in order to close that application.
Do the same for the tabs that are open in your Internet browser that you don’t need to see anymore. If you want to remember the page, then simply bookmark it and then close it.
“Central America ranks highest in work-life balance, with 70 percent of employees saying their companies support them in achieving a reasonable balance between work and personal life. North America is second (65 percent), followed by eastern Asia (63 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (63 percent), and Southern Asia (62 percent).“
Work-Life Balance Off Kilter, Research Finds | ABCNews.com | 4.19.13
Get More Information
*Affiliate link on this page
Many thanks to Julie Gray, the author of today’s post. Check out her simple three-step process that will help you conquer procrastination.
I used to be a big-time procrastinator.
It isn’t everyday you hear that coming out of the mouth of a productivity coach, but there you have it.
I procrastinated going to bed, starting my homework, exercising, making dinner, cleaning up from dinner – you name it.
Nowadays, things have changed considerably. It has been a long journey and one I don’t think will ever truly be over. This, in and of itself, was a big shift for me – to view this process of transforming my procrastination habit as a journey. Adopting this mindset has been the number one biggest contributor to why I now call myself a “recovering procrastinator.” Real change occurs when you take it day-by-day and earn your way to a transformed life experience.
Now that I’ve clarified this critical mindset, let’s dig into how you can begin to shift your own procrastination habit.
Here is my simple three-step formula for beating procrastination:
A = Awareness
C = Chunk it down
T = Time Scheduling
“A” stands for Awareness.
There are actually two levels of awareness that will support you in this process.
The first is to get clear about your goal and commit to it. You’ve got to be aware of where you want to go in order to get there. Is it a new habit? A project at work? Not being clear about what we are working toward can be a big contributor to procrastination.
The second level of awareness is noticing when you are procrastinating in-the-moment. Catching yourself and being hyper-conscious of when this occurs will give you a major boost in the process of overcoming procrastination. Just the awareness alone – without judgment – will move you forward.
“C” stands for Chunk.
Not a pretty word, but it’s effective.
It is really important that when you are planning a project, a new habit, your goal is to Chunk It Down.
This is a HUGE reason why so many of us procrastinate. We look down at our to-do list and see “organize garage.” It can be such an overwhelming line of words that we can’t possibly figure out where to start.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, offers a really handy approach. When you are staring at “organize garage” on your list, you can ask yourself, “What’s the very first thing I have to do?” “What’s my next step after that?” Keep asking probing questions until you have broken down the project into micro-steps.
“T” stands for Time Scheduling.
You’ve got to schedule the time you need to fully commit to this project or goal, so put it on your calendar.
What gets scheduled, gets done. [Tweet This]
Another reason we procrastinate is because we put something on our to-do lists that we haven’t created the time to complete. In order to get something done you must commit the time to do it. The perfect time to do this is right after you’ve chunked your project down. As soon as you know the action steps, get them scheduled.
This simple process will give you an amazing sense of control and peace of mind. You will know what you are doing and when you are going to do it!
And who wants to put that off?
About the Author
After building a successful professional organizing business, Julie Gray meshed her organizing and productivity skills with her business savvy and currently teaches leaders and professionals a holistic approach to powerful and productive living that results in more time, energy, and focus.
Combining practical time-saving systems with experiential methods to accelerate habit formation, Julie helps her clients tap into their own wisdom and mindful awareness to fuel their creativity, focus their energy, and free their spirits to live aligned with who they truly are.
Your kids are growing like weeds and you’re not sure what to do with all the clothes! Mommies and daddies are now sharing, storing, selling, and swapping kids clothes to save money and help family members and friends. Inspect your clothes for stains and holes first, and keep only the cream of the crop. Otherwise, you can cut up stained clothes and use them as cleaning rags.
Here are some things you can do:
- Sharing clothes can be an amazing benefit for family members. Ask your friends and family members what will be most helpful to share. And, let them know you want these items back after they are done with them. You can also purchase labels to place on the tags of each clothing item. Need to mail clothing? Send them off in a USPS flat rate shipping box.
- Store clothes by season and size in medium size tubs. If your kids are no more than 5 years apart, and especially if they are the same sex, storing clothes can make sense. Label the tubs on two sides and the top, and then store in an infrequently accessed spot, like the top of a closet or the attic. Remember, you don’t want to store every item, only those things that are in good condition.
- Sell clothes online — it’s easier than ever. There are several sites especially for kids clothes. Thred.up and Storkbrokers.com make online consignment shopping and selling easy. You can also sell clothes through Craig’s List by bundling them by size into larger quantities for sale.
- Swap kids clothes. Why not host a clothing swap? Select a date, establish what is acceptable to swap, set up areas for different size clothes, and invite other moms and dads. Donate the remaining items to Goodwill. Not only will you have fun sharing what you have, but you’ll also build community with other parents.
We all have clothes that have a special meaning to us. You might have favorites that your children have worn on specific occasions or others that have precious memories attached to them. Store these clothes in the back of a guest room closet. They will stay in good condition being kept in climate control.
Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.
“Swiss researchers found that people nod off faster when their hands and feet are warmer than the air temperature in the bedroom. Warming the feet dilates the blood vessels, which is a physiological cue for the onset of sleep.“
The Secret to Falling Asleep Faster | RealSimple.com | 4.813
Get More Information
*Affiliate link on this page
Spring time is a perfect time to organize your car. Summer is just weeks away and you’re probably excited for warm weather, flip flops and vacations. If your vacation entails a road trip or your summer plans involve daily trips to the pool, park, or ocean, then it’s time to get your car organized.
Here are 3 simple steps to get your car organized:
- Empty and Sort. Empty everything out of the car — this includes removable seats, sun visor accessories, etc. And, don’t forget to empty the glove box and trunk.
- First things first, trash the trash. Remove all the trash. Then start to sort items.
- Here are some categories that might work for you – things that do not belong in the car, safety/emergency supplies, music and entertainment, things I need at my fingertips, and personal care items. Can any of these items be stored in the garage or house to save space in the car?
- Evaluate. Analyze what you have and think about how you use your car. This evaluation will help you prioritize what you need in your car and where.
- How much time do you spend in your car?
- Do you primarily travel short or long distances?
- How much time do the kids spend in the car?
- How will your car needs change in the next six months?
- Containerize. Your car should have a place for everything and everything in its place (just like your home).
- Loose items in your car are messy and can be hazardous should there be an accident or sudden stop. You can purchase special containers designed to organize car supplies or you can use containers/bins you already own to keep loose items contained.
- Some ideas…use a large reusable pet food or cereal container to hold trash, use a lipstick holder to hold loose change, or use over the door shoe organizers on the back of seats to hold sunglasses, sunscreen, toys, spare shoes, etc. Get creative. If it works for YOU, it’s the right solution.
And, be sure to get the whole family involved. Spend time organizing your car and maybe you’ll enjoy spending time in it. This is a real bonus if you’re driving cross-country this summer to Wally World!
Many thanks to Richard Campen for today’s post on how to organize your children’s playroom.
The playroom acts as a retreat for your kids. It is a place they can come to play with the toys, enjoy making crafts, and to read books. Unfortunately, this room is sometimes one of the most unorganized and messiest in the home.
One of the best ways to keep a playroom tidy is to organize it in a manner that is easy for children to maintain. Here are five organizing ideas that will help you organize your child’s playroom:
1. Consider Using Clear Storage Bins
Toy boxes are not bad ideas. They just prevent kids from being able to see all of their toys. When children are trying to find a particular toy to play with, they will dump its contents onto the floor. See-through plastic storage bins allow your children to see what is in them. Place toys in a bin according to their type and add labels using pictures and/or words to make identifying the contents easier. Clear containers let kids find exactly what they want without rummaging through everything.
2. Remove Old and Broken Toys
If your kids own a lot of toys, there is a good chance that some of them are old and not in the best condition. Twice a year, go through the playroom and get rid of items that are no longer useful. Throw out any toys that no longer work. If the toys are old and meant for younger children, donate them. You can even let your kids help you by letting them sort out the toys they no longer want.
3. Keep Your Kids in Mind When Organizing
Do not forget that you are organizing a room for kids. When you organize any bookcases or shelves, place the toys that are used the most on the bottom of the shelves. Reserve the highest points in the room for storing toys that do not receive as much use or are out-of-season. Also, keep in mind your kid’s height in mind while storing the toys/ books/ games so that they remain within their reach. Doing this will ensure that your child get the most use out of their toys and encourage them to put things back where they belong.
4. Create Zones
Again, an important aspect of organization is having a place for everything. Creating zones in the playroom is a good way to for kids to identify where certain items go. Having a reading zone with a bookcase will give your children an area to put their books when they are finished reading. An arts and crafts area will provide a place to store arts and crafts materials. If the room is large enough, use a bookcase as a divider to separate the room into study and play areas.
5. Teach Your Children to be Neat and Organized
One of the biggest ways to keep a playroom neat and organized is to keep items not in use in a designated storage area. A good way to teach your kids this point is by allowing them to participate in the clean up and organization process.
Most kids probably see cleaning up as a chore and may reluctant to want to do it. You can encourage organizing activities by doing the following:
- Teach them a song and sing along with them while cleaning up the room, so as to make the cleaning process more entertaining and engaging.
- Encourage kids to put their stuff back in their designated spaces after they’re finished playing. You can also praise them for putting things away in front of other family members. It’ll make them more responsible and confident.
- Convert the process of cleaning the room into a game. Tell your kids to use their energy and memory to put their toys in the right place quickly. The one who does it first can then get a reward.
- Remind your children that if they practice putting things away when they’re finished with them, they won’t have a lot to do when it’s clean up time.
Try some of today’s suggested tips to help keep your children’s playroom uncluttered and more easily maintained, and please share in the comments what works for you.
About the Author