How To Have a Productive Day

We’ve all been there. Days you don’t want to tackle the “To Do” list, right?   I used to think it was easier when I was working full-time and juggling my DS business on nights and weekends.  I knew I only had a limited about of time to be productive before I crashed for the night.  I was focused and had a plan.

Now I work from home full time and hubby works the swing shift.  It is easy to blow off at least part of the day till he goes to work, hanging out and ignoring my business completely.  I have learned (the hard way)  I won’t achieve my goals this way.  When I worked at home as a grant writer, it was easier because there were deadlines.  Belinda went to school, I worked.  Of course some would say I always worked.  I had lots of deadlines and a passion in my soul to make a difference.  Now to use some of those same tricks in my DS business at home.

Having health issues and working at home full time, some days I need an extra little push in the right direction to get me going.  What about you?  Maybe you are crazy busy and you want to learn how to be more productive so you can get back on track with your goals.  Here are some tips which might help you….

#1 – Figure out the feelings.

I’m great at stuffing them so this one is sometimes tough for me.  Are you feeling burnt out? Are you dreading one (or more!) of the tasks on your To Do list? Do you lack inspiration?  Do you over analyze everything so you suffer from “Analysis Paralysis?”.  The truth is by figuring out why you are feeling the way you are,  you can acknowledge it and then work to solve it.  Change up the routine.  Have an impromptu dance party in the living room to get the juices flowing.

#2 Accomplish Something – ANYTHING – First Thing In The Morning

I’m usually up and in my office for by 7AM.  I have a checklist of daily things I have to get done a a bare minimum.  This gets the ball rolling for me. For you,  it can be a simple task like cleaning up the kitchen while enjoying your morning coffee.  On rough days, making the bed is my one accomplishment.  Pick one thing each morning and accomplish it.  Once you are done, spend a moment enjoying how it feels to have completed the task.

#3 Adjust your Morning Routine

Start your morning off on the right foot so you have a productive mindset.  Be sure you eat something healthy with some protein in it to start your day off right.   I’m not a big breakfast person but grabbing a hard boiled egg with my coffee helps.  While you’re enjoying a healthy breakfast option, start writing down your priority list. For me, I take the top 3 things I need to do and get them done!  You may want to start with the easiest task and work up to the more difficult ones.  When you use preparing a to-do list based on priority levels as part of your morning routine, you’ll naturally start to have a more productive day.

#4 Allow Breaks during the Day

I’m learning when I take breaks during the day, I am more productive.  It’s okay to take breaks throughout your day, especially if you have a heavy workload.  Breaks like 15 – 30 minutes not 2 – 3 hours.  Once you finish a task, reward yourself.  Take a break. Grab a snack.  Put on some music and dance around.  By giving yourself rewards (breaks) when a task is completed you will maintain your confidence and motivation. It’s great to take a break in between tasks because it helps transition your mind from one priority item to another.  Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a regular lunch break each day.  Get away from the office.  Clear your head.  You will be amazed at how much you get accomplished.

#5 Manage Your Distractions

There are LOTS of distractions when we work from home BUT the biggest distraction is social media.   The “just want to check one thing” on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram then it is 3 hours later and nothing has gotten done.  I’ve even used the excuse of “I’m working on my business”!  I need to remind myself, if I was working for someone else, I wouldn’t be able to take personal calls or texts, so why do I do it during my business hours?  Schedule your social media time so you can still maintain your online presence without having to be logged in at all times.

It is possible to have a more productive day – every day.  When you practice these tips, you will create habits which will lead to success!  What is your best tip for having a productive day?

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!

Beat Manic Mornings

Some have already gone back to school or will be in the next week or so.  While the kids on the Jersey shore know the new school year is just around the corner.  Today’s post was inspired by thepeacefulmom.com. It has been a long time since I had anyone going back to school but I do remember some of the tricks which helped this crazy busy single mom stay sane (okay, maybe only a little).

Transitioning from summer days to the schedule of the school year can be rough.  Belinda always had a schedule even in the summer because of sports (gymnastics, field hockey and cheering) but she was definitely NOT a morning person.  So the first step was adjusting from the late nights and late mornings to early to bed, early to rise.  When she was younger, we started about 2 weeks before school started with moving bedtime up about a 1/2 hour every few days until the time school started, she was going to be at her required bedtime.  No it wasn’t easy and many days it was a fight BUT when the school year started it was a little bit easier.

Here are some tips to to help you send your kids back to school and make mornings a little less crazy at your house.  You can take a few pro-active steps to reduce the stress and chaos.

Prepare the Night Before

Generally anything you can do the night before will help to relieve stress in the morning. Kids should pack backpacks, make lunch, choose clothing and pick up after themselves. Mom can make sure all permission slips and forms are signed and all homework makes it back into the backpack, then set the table for breakfast (or at least think about what the kids will eat the next morning).  I know this sounds like a lot of work after a long day especially for the single mommas BUT it does help.  I know breakfast is the most important part of the day but it was not Belinda’s favorite meal and she hated eating in the morning.  The key was to have some grab and go things she could eat while getting ready or on the way to the bus stop.

Gather Your Gear

Having one central spot for everything is key.  It makes heading out the door a snap. Place backpacks, shoes, library books, lunch money, permission slips, etc. on and around an entry way table or in bins or baskets inside your entryway closet. No more searching for lost keys or forms you need to sign.  Ours was the counter in between the kitchen and the living room.  This way we could see everything on the way out either the front or the back door.

Create a Morning Routine for the Kids

Routines are the key to making your mornings run smoothly. It started with a routine for me.  Up early to get ready for work then get Belinda up.  Probably making a list of everything your kids need to do, creating a checklist they can mark as they accomplish each task would work for some but we weren’t list makers.  If you have kids who are too young to ready, use pictures.  If we had multiple kids, this would have been a definite to do.  A chart inside a plastic page protector so your child can use a dry erase marker then erase the marks each day. A great way to teach kids responsibility while ensuring you are not running around like a crazy women trying to get everything done in the morning.

Use Rewards

Use whatever your kid loves (watching TV, playing on the computer, playing video games) as a reward for when he gets ready ahead of schedule. In other words, no playtime until he’s done what he needs to.  

Get Ready First

This was always huge for me.  The fact I was a morning person made the difference.  It was easy for me to be up at 5AM to get what I wanted done before I woke up Belinda.  If you aren’t a morning person, you need at least a few minutes before the kids wake up to gather your thoughts and start your day well. Creating a routine for yourself is imperative for sane mornings.  Believe me the 10 minutes or so of quiet time to drink your coffee will make a big difference in the way your day goes.

What is your best tips for a sane morning when school starts?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Simplify Your Life

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Monday morning…..

Are you feeling overwhelmed? 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 admit on a regular basis I can be a ‘hot mess” from my desk to the dust bunnies under the coach.  I  love to de-clutter and organize.  Having two in the house who like to save “just in case” can make for a lot of “stuff”.  I working on a room at a time (okay so maybe a closet/cabinet at a time) cleaning things out.

Sometimes we overcomplicate our own lives. I know we don’t mean to, it just happens. So for 2017, we are going to work on clearing the clutter – emotionally and physically.  Once the clutter is gone, we can embrace the many blessings the Universe has for us.  So, let’s start with some basics:

CLEAN AS YOU GO

Don’t let the dishes pile up in the sink.  Make the bed right after you get up in the morning. Open the mail as soon as you get home – tossing junk mail which is mostly what we get, creates a smaller pile to read later.  Doing things “as you go” will keep things neat and believe it or not, you won’t have to spend a lot of time constantly cleaning.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

We all have them – 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.

UNSUBSCRIBE

OMG!  You will be amazed at the difference this makes in your life.  Honestly, how many hours do you spend deleting messages from your inbox? I have actually started to unsubscribe to lists instead of just hitting delete.  By unsubscribing, you are also coming off lists to get things from their “associates”.  You know more junk emails instead of junk mail.  Unsubscribing will make your inbox neater and so much easier to read.

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

I’m not talking about HUGE goals, I mean the small daily ones. I now put 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.

FORGET MULTITASKING

I was the Queen of multitasking.  You know what, it is stressful and ultimately unproductive.   You can get so much more done when you focus on a single task by time-blocking and scheduling 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 an early start could give you more time to sit down and write out your to-do list, prepare lunch and getting ready for the day.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR COMMITMENTS

What matters most to you?  Home life, social life, work, side-work, 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.  This one can be tough but it will make the most difference in your life.

SAY NO

Don’t feel obligated to say “yes” when it is something you don’t feel like doing? “NO” is a sentience all by itself.  There is no need to explain yourself – if you don’t want to do it, just say no.

Life is crazy – we constantly feel like we need to be connected or doing something.  We look back at a simpler time in our lives and say “what happened?”.

Some where along the way, we stopped valuing our time.  Life is too short, it is time to do the things we want and we like doing. Not saying “yes” to spending time with people we don’t necessarily want to be around. 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 this year…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Conquer Laundry Mountain

Happy Monday!  If you are a busy mom, I’m sure the weekend included some (or many) loads of laundry, right?  I am always amazed at home much laundry we have in our house when there are only TWO adults.  Some days I feel like there is more than when I was a single mom with a baby.  3aeec5f983d285791643424c2a8aa6d5

Do you have piles of clothes around the house? Are you constantly feel overwhelmed by the never-ending cycle of keeping clean clothes in the dresser drawers?

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Most of us know our family needs clean clothes but we also hate doing laundry so we procrastinate. And procrastination makes doing laundry even more unpleasant so we continue an ugly cycle, and unfortunately it’s not the spin cycle.

Here are 3 tips to put a stop to the cycle….

#1 – Create a Routine

Let’s face it, kids produce a lot of laundry, right?  No matter the age, it seems like they product PILES of laundry.  The easiest way to stay on top of the endless mounds is to make laundry a regular part of your schedule.

I used to do the Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine when it was just Belinda and I.  Now, I do the Monday Friday Method.   Some may need to do the Once-a-Day method.  Whatever the need, put it in your routine.   Start a load first thing in the morning, move it to the dryer after breakfast and fold it in the afternoon.  When I worked outside the home, I would start a load as soon as I came home from work,  move it to the dryer after dinner and fold it before going to bed.

I will admit my current Monday Friday method would get lost, if I didn’t write it on in my planner.  cmemhkbu8aasmif

#2 – Organize the Baskets

I know you don’t believe laundry could be pleasant, right?  It is when you have control over it.  Let’s be honest, picking up the dirty clothes then sorting them is an effort BEFORE you even begin the washing/drying process.  The Peaceful Mom suggests gaining control by designating baskets for each type of laundry load you do. Of course, the toughest part could be getting everyone in the house to follow the rules.

The 3 Basket Method works like this: darks (colors might bleed), lights (colors will not bleed), towels (washcloths, rags and towels need to be washed in hot water). If you have a lot of white clothing you may want to add an additional basket for those clothes.

Another way to organize laundry is by child.  Each one gets his or her own basket for dirty clothes, then wash a complete load of only his or her clothing.  When the drying is done, the child can take the basket of clean clothes to his room, fold it and put it away. Okay, I can hear the skeptics now.  It takes practice.  Of course you also take the risk of clean clothes not getting put away and dirty clothes being thrown on top of clean.  What is your best solution for this struggle?

#3 – Recruit Help

I will admit I was not very good at this.  Belinda didn’t do laundry or put her clothes away.  I tried it for a little while BUT the result was more trouble then it was worth.  As a single working mom, I picked my battles and laundry was not one of them.  The downside, when she went to college she was clueless on how to do laundry.  Opps, I squirreled.

The truth is teenagers can help but even Toddlers can help match socks and fold small items like washcloths and their own pants or shorts. They can then carry the clothing to their room and put it away in a drawer.

Children as young as 4 or 5 can fold towels and clothing. The clothing may not be folded according to your standards but the point is to get your children involved.  It will teach them responsibility and hopefully work yourself out of a job.  Believe me, no one is going to open your linen closet and judge you for a few sloppily folded towels.

Children between the ages of 10 and 12 can start washing their own laundry. Post a written list of the steps and provide lots of supervision until they get the hang of it. (‘No, we don’t add bleach to the load with jeans.’) Then leave them on their own.

I challenge you to pick a laundry system. Since it takes time to develop a routine or a habit,  write a note to remind yourself or set an alarm on your phone or put it in your planner.

Which system do you prefer to use for laundry –  once a day or once a week?  Share with us your best laundry tips.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!