Three Keys to an Extraordinary Year

Each year we start out with the best of intentions. Sometimes though, those intentions can turn out to be so much extra work that we quickly give up. Let’s take a look at three things you can do to make sure you are doing things for the right reasons.

First up, create some boundaries (borders or limits) so you can make logical choices for you and your family. A family meeting is a great way to hear what is important about the year from each person’s perspective.

• Decide if “x” is worth your time, energy or effort before you say yes. Sure, you may want to do it all but at what price?
• What is fun for each person? Can you incorporate that into a plan?
• Handle or prevent those interruptions and obligations that you can control and find a way to limit or cut short those that have you at the mercy of someone else.
• Turn off your alerts and decide when you will be available.
• Get everyone involved and listen to their input. They will be more invested in the outcomes.

Taking care of yourself is the next key. It’s hard to let go of our own expectations sometimes but it is extra important to stay well this year. Self-care means making the time to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, socialize and do the things that lower your stress level. Being organized makes your life easier too, why do things the hard way when you don’t have to?

Self-Care keys:
• Create morning and evening routines that serve you that include a specific bedtime and wake up time.
• Set aside some time for yourself. (Sometimes that means locking the bathroom door – do whatever it takes).
• Choose wisely grasshopper, as you are trading away time that can never be regained.
• What helps you feel recharged? Can you fit that in somewhere?

Lastly, Planning and Prioritizing are important. Prioritizing will keep the important things on the top of the list and having a plan will keep you on track. By creating an action list the night before, you have time to think about how important those tasks are to you. Without a plan your day can go in any direction but with a plan you are in charge of where it goes.

Ways to Plan and Prioritize:
• It’s okay to not be able to do it all – some things should never be done, and some can easily be put off as long as you are the one that decides. Get the family to pitch in too.
• Schedule in even the tiniest tasks, don’t list a project with multiple steps on the list just the next step.
• Estimate how long you think a task will take and then time yourself. Don’t forget to include travel time, prep time and clean up time.
• Be realistic in the amount you can accomplish in one day. Start small and build your momentum by getting the higher priorities or the more distasteful (but important) ones done

Keeping these three keys in mind will help you focus on what is really important this year and hopefully it will help you feel less stressed-and that’s my hope for you.


Are Your Systems Working For You?

All systems go?Have you ever been frustrated with something that you knew wasn’t working for you, yet didn’t take the time to fix it? Often, we tolerate those “niggly” things that we should just take care of because we think they will take a long time or at the moment we don’t have the time to fix it. So, let’s put together a list to see what you have been tolerating and what it is time to deal with.
Your Systems - You will need to schedule some time to deal with anything that needs tweaking, but let’s start looking around first.
  • How is your mail system? Do you keep it all in one place or is it on the counter, on the table or in several piles somewhere else? Are your bills in all of those places as well?
  •  Do you have a bill paying system? Many bills are automatically paid online these days but there are still some bills that must be paid “manually” do you keep up with them or have you had to pay late fees?
  • Where do you charge your devices? Are you often searching for the charger? Or the device?
  • Do the dishes seem to pile up or do you need to move things around on the counters in order to have space to work?
  • Are your shoes piled up near the door? Do you really need all of your shoes there? What needs to change here?
  • How about your clothes? Is your closet stuffed or your drawers overflowing? Is your laundry system working for you or do your clothes stay in the dryer (or hamper) until you need them?
  • Are your meals planned ahead or do find yourself running to the grocery store with everyone else at 5pm?
  • How is your car running? Do you keep up with car maintenance and regularly fill your gas tank?
  • Is bedtime a struggle? Or do you go to bed around the same time each night?
  • Do you exercise/walk regularly?
Now What Do I Do?
There are ten (easy to fix) systems that keep your home (and you) running smoothly and prevent unnecessary stress. How many of them do you need to work on? As a coach, I have learned that everyone needs to find what works for them. What works for one person might not work for another. Pick one system at a time and look deeper into what it is that bothers you about it. Is it a matter of storage or placement or do you need to containerize something – whatever it is, you know best what will work for you.
For those of you that aren’t sure, I hesitate to say, check the internet because that can be rabbit hole you may not ever get out of. Think minimize, containerize and plan ahead instead of jumping on the web. Sometimes your system just needs some maintenance. Put things back the way they were and see if that helps. Systems cannot maintain themselves so. a weekly reset will keep things running smoothly. Remember, the more you hold onto, the more you have to take care of. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Work to Home – 7 Strategies for a Smooth Transition


Clock Reading Five O’Clock

What happens in that space between leaving work and stepping in the door at home? Are you able to shut off work and quickly transition to the dog, kids, and dinner or do you feel more like the two halves of your brain are constantly competing for attention?

Creating a time and/or space for yourself to transition from work to home can help you feel more balanced and under control. Here are seven strategies that can help you make a smoother transition from work to home.

1. Create boundaries around your time. Decide on your quitting time. If you are at work outside of the home it could be about leaving at 5pm. If you are at home, it could be whatever time the kids get home from school. Pick whatever time works for you that allows you to physically and mentally leave your work behind.

2. Set a routine for leaving work that allows you to clear your mind and prepare for the next day. Use sticky notes to remind you of the next action on that project. Set an alarm to remind you 30 minutes ahead of time so you can tie up any loose ends and set yourself up for tomorrow. Even if you work from home or are “at home” you can create a routine that allows you to put away the work side and focus on the family side. Kids transition through bath time, story time or certain night time routines. You can use their transition to set up your own special routine or start yours after they are in bed.

3. Get comfy by switching into stay at home clothes on the days that you can. This tells your brain you are home for the evening.

4. Make an evening plan for yourself. Is there something you would like to get done? Use your child’s homework time as your time to get some paperwork handled or send emails. The kids see that you are available but you are not distracting.

5. Plan tomorrow – what will you wear, what will you eat, what do you need to take with you and what one thing can you do either on your way home or during your lunch that will make you feel good?

6. Get everyone in the family to share one thing that is the best, worst or funniest of their day

7. Lastly, take some time for yourself! What simple thing can you do for yourself that will bring you that sense of pleasure? Turn off the TV, skim that magazine, read that book or have a conversation with your spouse over a glass of ________.

Whatever you do, making a concentrated effort to give yourself some time to make that transition from work and the stress of the commute home to your family will benefit all.