Do You Have an Elephant in the Room?

Hello, world.  Have you ever had the feeling something was following you?  You knoooow something’s there but you were just too afraid to look.  So you ignore it, hoping it would eventually go away… but it doesn’t.  Suddenly, “something” grabs you at your feet!  You jump back in shock, only to slam right into it.  So then, you do what most people would do… RUN!  Or you attempt to run, when only after a few steps, you slip on to the floor, and fall directly into the “thing”.  Finally, you make it to the door.  By now, you’re thinking you at least owe it to yourself to see what it was; this persistent, consuming “thing” determined to drag you down.  So you slooowly turn around… and stare it head on.  Did someone break in?.. Is it an animal?… a ghost or a MONSTER?!  When all of a sudden you realize… it’s just those overstuffed binders on the floor you’ve been “meaning” to organize, the books and customer invoices stacked on the desk, and the world of products from your inventory toppling over the shelves.  Yep, the so-called “Thing” pursuing you is called Clutter… and the truly scary conclusion is, it ain’t goin’ anywhere until you make it.

I saw this in a blog post some time ago and I giggle every time I read it.  As a home-based business owner, the “Thing” called clutter is a common issue.  Being a home-based business owner for many years, I have had the elephant in the room.  Yes, I do help others get organized but not always the best at taking my own advice!

Do we invite clutter in?  Nope!  Do we like to deal with it? Nope!  It just sort of happens.

I was always one for piles – organized piles.  Then when I started working from home full time, I found it wasn’t so easy to get organized.  I struggled with systems. We know we should take time to get organized, but the truth is we either (1) don’t know where to start, (2) adopt the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality (try to work with it as it is), or (3) RUN from it (avoid it all together).

No matter what, clutter has to eventually be cleared up or it will only get worse and you will be buried under a mass of paper being totally unproductive.  It’s not going anywhere and the biggest hit where it REALLY hurts is…..yep, your profits.  It is so much easier when you tackle it right away because it is easier, less overwhelming and can be a stress-free process.  Otherwise, you not only work harder, you start the day off cranky and frustrated because, “seriously, I can’t find the file!” or you have orders for a product you didn’t realize was out of stock… ouch$$$!  Need more motivation?

The major benefits of putting in the time and effort to get any home-based business space in order:

  1. It promotes efficiency… you can locate your items much quicker because you know exactly where everything is when you need it, which saves you time.  Once organized, it may take a moment to think about where you put it but once you keep putting something back in the same place, it will become a habit!
  2. It increases productivity… an organized workspace helps you accomplish more throughout your workday.  When a system of order is in place, you are more driven and focused on the success of your business; NOT on the added stress of a cluttered space.
  3. It saves you profits… Organization = Great inventory management!  You avoid product loss due to expiration, misplacement, or damage.
  4. It creates an atmosphere which leads to business success!.. when you’ve create an environment which stimulates our brain, you think and feel better which translates into your work.  The passion for your business is reignited!  It also inspires you to want to become organized in other areas of your life.  Imagine that!!!

Helping people get organized is part of the butterfly effect of my vision – to bring a smile to the face of those who are struggling.  When people think of someone struggling, they think of major things like chronic illness, the loss of someone, addiction, etc.  BUT the struggle could be the desire to grow your business.  I’m in the business of helping people.

I LOVE working with home based business owners. Let me help you transform spaces which are a “hot mess” to what seems like a completely different room.   Every time you enter your office space, you’ll instantly become charged about your business day.   I can share with you how I got organized and STAY organized (90% of the time).  But it is your BUSINESS (or your home)!  We need to make it work for YOU.

I want you to feel excited and inspired every day when you enter your work space.  It shouldn’t bring feelings of stress or a “business-as-usual” mentality.  As a home-based business owner, you have the power to change your work environment into something to fuel your success.   It starts by getting organized – office supplies, product inventory, packaging/shipping supplies, photo/video equipment… EVERYTHING needed to run our businesses from home, in a neat and orderly system which fits your unique, individual needs…wheeew!  As a home-based business owner, you can create a positive, inspiring environment to keep you pumped about fulfilling your goals – no matter how big or small the space may be.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room!  Face it head on and be determined to overcome the problem which isn’t going anywhere

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let’s Get Organized

So, who is humming “Let’s Get Physical” as they read the title of today’s blog?  This month I am going to focus a lot on getting organized.  WHY?  Because it is the top New Year’s Resolutions people make.  Was it one of yours?

I admit I can be a ‘hot mess”!   From my desk and my office to the dust bunnies under the coach.  I  love to de-clutter and organize but am often overwhelmed by it.  Crazy right since I have lots of tips for everyone else?  I used to be a “just in case” gal.  The one who saved things in case they were needed from crafts to knickknacks…. you get the picture.

I am working on a room, maybe a closet/cabinet at a time cleaning things out.  One the outside it may not look like much has been cleaned out but believe me, I have been decluttering.

Are you feeling overwhelmed already in the New Year?  Day 3 with everyone is back to work and school.  Do you have a hundred things going on –  work, family, social life, daily responsibilities, goals, and the list goes on, right?  Has the day just started and you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all?

I tend to overcomplicate things. It isn’t intentional, it just happens. We are going to work on clearing the clutter (a little bit at a time) – emotionally and physically.  Once the clutter is gone, we can embrace the many blessings the Universe has for us.  So, here is some basics and we will talk about all of them in more detail as the month goes on…

CLEAN AS YOU GO

Don’t let the dishes pile up in the sink.  Put them in the dishwasher or wash them up.  Make the bed right after you get up in the morning. Open the mail as soon as you get home – tossing the junk mail. Have one spot to read later.  Doing things “as you go” will keep things neat.  It will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed or like you are constantly cleaning.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

We all have toxic relationships.  The people who suck the energy from us, are negative all of the time or just aren’t good for you. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with people like this. Your time is precious, so you want to spend it with people you care about, and people who make you feel good about you.  This is a process.

UNSUBSCRIBE

OMG!  You will be amazed at the difference this makes in your life.  How many hours do you spend deleting messages from your inbox without even reading the email? I routinely unsubscribe to lists instead of just hitting delete.  When you unsubscribe, you also stop getting emails from their “associates”.  Unsubscribing will not only make your inbox easier to read but may also cut down on the impulse shopping.  A whole other subject!

DE-CLUTTER

Get rid of old things like clothes, dishes, electronics, magazines, furniture you no longer need- donate what you can.  Too many material possessions sitting around can make you feel drained and can complicate things,  taking your attention away from what matter’s most.

WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

Write down your top 3 daily goals. I put them in my planner and block time for – reading, cleaning tasks, calls to make, errands to run and  general life stuff.  I limit myself to 3 tasks in my business and 3 tasks in my home.  It has helped me to increase my focus and get things done.  It also helps me to stay in the moment when I am with friends and family.

FORGET MULTITASKING

We have all said it at some time “I’m good at multitasking.”.  Did you know multi-tasking is stressful and ultimately unproductive?   You can get so much more done when you focus on a single task, time-block and schedule your work.

CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE

Are you always running out the door in a rush?  What if you got up just 15 minutes earlier every morning?  Getting up a little earlier would give you more time to write your to-do list, prepare lunch and get ready for the day.  Write down the things you need to do in the morning and the time it takes to do them.  Then figure out what time you need to get up to get them done.  Be realistic!

RE-EVALUATE YOUR COMMITMENTS

This one is tough and takes practice, at least for me.  What matters most to you?  Home life, social life, work, side-gig, family, hobbies, friends, worship? If you are doing something you don’t love or it doesn’t give you value, give it up – if you can.  Focusing on the things which bring you joy or matters most to you will make a HUGE difference in your life.

SAY NO

How often do you feel obligated to say “yes” to something?  Did you know “NO” is a sentience all by itself?  We tend to forget it and try to explain why we can’t do something which opens the door for a conversation.  There is no need to explain yourself – if you don’t want to do it, just say no.

This year, why not focus on getting back to a simpler time in our lives.  Let’s start valuing our time.  Life is too short.   It is time to do the things we want and what we like doing. De-cluttering, getting rid of anything  which doesn’t serve you will help you simplify your life and feel more at peace.

Lots more tips and tricks on simplifying your life and de-cluyttering this month…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Managing Distractions

I can’t believe Christmas is just two days away – well, Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I have been sort of a Grinch at home this year – no decorations until last Sunday but I did get some shopping done.  Yes, I squirreled but what else is new, right?

Last Sunday at church,  the first hymn was “Hark the Harold Angels Sing”.  I know it is “herald” but my grandfather always said it was his song and yes, his name was Harold.  I knew then, it was going to be a service I needed to pay attention to.  As we moved through the holiday songs, I found my thoughts drifting to the things I wanted to get done, the people I was missing (Belinda not being home for Christmas) and then BAM!  The sermon was on “managing distractions”.  I knew this was just for me.

The brain fog from MS causes me to get distracted easily, memory is short or sometimes nonexistent and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate.  But the reality is, even without MS, many of us have difficulty managing distractions.  Think about how you or your kids do/did their homework.  Do they need the music or TV on leaving you wondering how they can possibly concentrate?  Or do they need silence?  These days, I need silence.  I get easily distracted but there was a time when I could have the TV on or music and actually remember what I was supposed to be doing.  Do deadlines cause you to focus more?  Is one of your tag lines, I work better under pressure?

#1 Identify Inevitable Distractions

Distractions are going to happen – they always do.  So why not expect them – if they come, you are ready but if they don’t you are ahead of the game.  I can remember when I was a work at home mom, distractions happened and I was never really ready for them.  The TV was too loud or a million questions came just as I was working on a grant.  Then there was the “I’m hungry” cry.  Yes, I miss those days but the distractions are different now.  I start a project or work in the office and thoughts of 10 other things which need to be done in the house enters my head.  Before long, I have squirreled into the “this will only take a minute” project being completed distracted from the work I was doing.  I’m sure I am not alone especially during this busy holiday season.

#2 Learn to Discern the Main Thing

SMACK!  Distractions sometimes pull us away from our main focus – family!  We get bogged down in worrying about having lots of time with family while we miss out on enjoying the quality time we do have with them.  What is your main focus this holiday?  Is it buying the perfect gifts, planning the perfect meal or enjoying the moments with family and friends?  I always “talk” about family being the most important thing to me – tops on my list.  Yet, I find there are times when I place other non-important things before spending time with them.  My focus turns to working in the office to make money to pay bills or being busy in my business (notice I didn’t say working my business).  Yup, I am one of those struggling recovering workaholics….

We have identifying the distractions, so how do you manage them, right?  You got this, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem if you are intentional about it…

#1 Clear the Clutter

No, I don’t mean the clutter in the house!  I mean the clutter in our heads.  Maybe you need to write a list or delegate chores or maybe decide not to do certain things at all – however you do it, JUST DO IT!  Prune your schedule. Control spending.  Weed out the things which aren’t the main thing.  I am working on calendar blocking AGAIN so I block out time needed to work versus time I will spend with family.

#2 Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

We know distractions will happen BUT don’t let them distract you from your MAIN THING! If the most important thing for you this holiday season is family – spend time with them, enjoy them. STOP watching the clock.  STOP worrying about if the house is clean enough or whether there is enough food or how you look.  Enjoy the moments….

The main thing is to make the Main thing the Main thing

This Christmas is different for our family – Belinda in North Carolina, missing my Dad, hubby working so others can spend time with their little ones  has left me trying to figure out how to embrace the change so I can focus on my main thing – FAMILY!  Grateful to have dinner on Christmas Eve with my step-mom and half sister then spend Christmas Day with my mom and step dad as well as my hubby.

What is distracting you this holiday season from enjoying your “main thing”?  When the holidays are over, will you have wonderful memories of the moments shared even with the distractions or will you regret being too busy to have enjoyed your “main thing”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Want to Get to the Next Level?

Do you know how to get to the next level?  No, I am not talking about an online or video game.  I mean if you are striving to reach another level in your business or in life…. Can you guess what it is?

If you said “tell yourself the truth“, you are right!  The funny thing is, most people don’t take the first step.  Why?  Because it is hard.  But the truth is the only thing which will empower you to breakthrough to your highest potential.  Whether the truth is about a bad habit, or the truth about a relationship, or the truth about your circumstances, acknowledging it is freeing.

The next step after facing the truth takes Courage.

I want you to think about the last time you said the phrase

I hate to admit, but _________________________.

We have all said it at some point.  Perhaps you are okay in your career or business, but there is a nagging feeling it is time for a change.  Been there, done that!  Maybe a relationship looks great from the outside, but you know something isn’t quite right.  Or maybe someone has pointed out a problem with your child, and you are defensive because you did your best to teach them,  but if you’re honest, you’ve noticed the same problem.

The reality is this little a phrase allows you to notice the smallest grain of truth just might be surrounded by many positives. It is time to embrace the truth.  It is a chance to address what needs to be addressed.  It is the chance to be open enough to ask for help, find a creative solution, and let go of perfectionism in favor of true happiness.  Remember it is progress NOT perfection we are aiming for.

In order for us to move to the next level, we have to be willing to face the challenges before us instead of ignoring them.  We need to step out of our comfort zone so we can stretch and grow. In the process, we will develop courage and wisdom which will take you to a new a new level.

So what is the grain of truth holding you back in an area where you want to thrive and grow?

For me, it is the lack of confidence combined with the brain fog which keeps me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  For me, the sentence would be:

I hate to admit it, but I still play the comparison game.

UGH!  An ugly truth but I am so ready to take the step to change it.  So, how did you complete the sentence?  Once, you have stated the truth, have the courage to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What next step could you take to address this challenge?
  2. How can you be the bravest version of yourself today in your creative work and life?

For me, it is to stop doing what everyone else is doing and do what works for me.

Maybe for you, it’s showing up to your laptop, sitting down, doing work, and sticking with it even when it feels scary and tough.

Maybe for you, it’s saying no to distracting things which keep you from building the impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable life you’re yearning for.

Maybe for you, it’s finally getting started on a new project, podcast, book, or product but you’ve been too afraid to pursue.  For me it is putting myself out there with videos.

Maybe for you, it’s replying to an email, returning a phone call, or saying yes to a coffee date which may lead to an exciting new opportunity.

Maybe for you, it’s reaching out to a friend, coach, or mentor, asking them for help, giving yourself permission to not walk this journey alone anymore.

Fear!  It isn’t going to disappear overnight. Fear will always be part of the journey.  The challenge (one of the biggest for me) isn’t to become fearless.  The challenge is to live taking action towards our goals even when fear is along for the ride.  It is stomping on those inner gremlins letting them know who is boss.

I challenge you to join me, in asking yourself every morning how you can be the bravest version of yourself today?   And when the “day” seems to overwhelming and fear, and self-doubt, creep in ask yourself – how can you be the bravest version of yourself in this moment? What small courageous step can you take in the direction of the work and life you are longing for?

Share your “statement” with us.  I would love to celebrate and encourage you along the way!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Declutter and Organize the Playroom

The holiday season is moving in and when Belinda was little, it used to mean a time to declutter and purge her toys.  When she was little, she had the toy box my dad made for me when I was little.  It had a “secret compartment”.  Actually, it had a board halfway down to make it easier to reach things.  So, the toys which were on the bottom of the toy box were placed under the board.  As time went on, those toys were forgotten about so it was easy to move them out.

Here are some tips which might help you get the kids ready for a declutter and purge project with the focus on cleaning out and not getting new stuff!

1. START THE CONVERSATION

Start by watching what the kids are playing with and what they aren’t.  You will notice some things have not moved off the shelves or out of the coset for awhile.  Once you have an idea of what those toys are, start casually mentioning it might be time to let those go.  As a social worker, Belinda loved to help me at work by giving things to other kids who may not have things so it was always a great way to get her to clean out the toys.

Was I always right on which ones should go? NO!  There were times when I thought something should go and she had a totally different opinion.  As a result, her level of attachment to something made a difference too on whether it went out the door.

2. GO IT ALONE FIRST

There were days when I would start to declutter on my own in her room.  I got rid of things which really needed to go (think: broken toys, unsafe things or worn out, trash, etc.).   I didn’t get rid of things she was really attached to but more things I knew she would never miss.  Remember the toys under the “secret compartment” or at the bottom of a toy box.

3. ADD THE KIDS

On a set morning of cleaning, or as Belinda would say “not attached, don’t have a purpose – mom is tossing” – I would ask for her help.  She knew, most of the time, what’s missing pieces, or hasn’t worked for a while, or what she is not using anymore, etc.  As much as she hated cleaning, she did like an organized room since it wasn’t very big.

Depending on the age of your kids, this process can be different.  If your kids are really small, you may want to go through things yourself and only ask them when something is borderline whether to keep or toss. As they get older, they might help for a little bit and them move on to playing or something since attention spans vary.  Be ready to be flexible with your kids since each one will process things differently.

4. DONATE AND/OR SELL!

This was always the fun part.  Belinda liked to share her things with other kids who may not have as much or better yet, sell them at a local yard sale for some pocket money.  Times have changed and now things are sold on Craiglist or in Facebook yard sales or maybe even the occasional garage sale.  I will admit, my favorite is donating to the local church rummage sale or homeless shelter.  Check out the various options in your area and let the kids help especially if you are donation them to a local mission or organization.

5. TIME TO ORGANIZE

This was when we had the most fun.  It usually meant new paint for Belinda’s room and as she got older, she got to pick the colors.  Then it was all about making things easily accessible – to get things out and to put them away.  All this while making the very best of a small space.  We did closet organizers, and a loft bed which left lots of floor space to work with.

I really wish I had know about Thirty One back then.  From Your Way Cubes to baskets to totes and more.  A great way to organize things with practical, fashionable and durable products.

Here are some ideas:

    

Your Way Cube: Each Cube comes with side handles for ease of transport and either a clear PVC window or chalkboard panel on the side so you’ll always know what’s inside. Add a Your Way Cube Lid to allow for space-saving stacking and to protect items inside. Cubes are all collapsible when not in use. Holds up to 35 lbs.

Hang-It Pocket Organizer: This is a convenient catch-all for all the loose odds and ends. Use it to hold pencils, pens, staplers, paper clips, file folders and calculators in the office; note pads, mail, coupons, keys, batteries and flashlights in the kitchen; or gloves, hats, pet products, ice scrapers, shoe horns and more in the mud room.

Stand Tall Bin:  With 2 exterior handles and a sturdy frame, it’s easy to carry anywhere and capable of holding up to 50 lbs. Put one in each of your kids’ rooms for laundry or to store toys, games, play clothes or sports equipment, or place it in your guestroom to store extra towels, bedding, blankets and other useful items.

What is your favorite organizational tool works for you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!