Archive for Newsletter – Page 2

Six Steps to Fight Procrastination

Why do we put off until tomorrow what we can do today? Because it’s so darn easy to delay! Follow these simple steps and you’ll conquer procrastination before you can say, “I’ll do it later.”

  1. Make a list of all your current projects. Which ones have been outstanding the longest? Are they still really essential? If the answer is, “Not really,” then take them off your list. For some of the remaining tasks, delegate to family, friends, or co-workers, if possible.
  1. If a project seems too big and overwhelming, start with something small. Clear out the old magazines from the rack. Tidy up the scraps of paper on the fridge or bulletin board. Clean out your purse or briefcase.
  1. If you are simply overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, break it down into small steps. Assign each step to a different day on your calendar, and make yourself accountable. Even if you can grab ten minutes here and there, you’ll see progress toward completing a large project.
  1. If there is a project that you absolutely must get done today, do whatever it takes to forge on. Spend a little money to hire a babysitter or order take-out if that will keep you working.
  1. Work with your daily rhythms and habits. If you’re a morning person, take advantage of the early hours to tackle your most difficult jobs. Likewise, night owls might accomplish more after the rest of the house is quiet and asleep.
  1. If you can’t seem to motivate yourself, grab a partner. Sometimes just the camaraderie of a friend can push you through a tough job. If you need a really neutral, non-judgmental assistant to guide you through, consider contacting me for project, paper, or time management help.
© 2015 Articles on Demand™

Declutter, Downsize, Release, and Relax

Your storage spaces are likely a mixture of your past, present, and future. Well-loved toys, grade school memorabilia, and furniture from the college years may make up memories from your past. Perhaps golf clubs, cold-weather clothing, and gardening tools may reflect your present. Baby clothes or gear being saved for a future child may represent your future.

Take a good look at the categories you’ve created and see if they reflect your current lifestyle and activities. Never going to play badminton again? Out go the rackets! Have your kids moved out of the house? Perhaps it’s time to let go of their 20-year-old boxes of stuffed animals. Use a keen eye and steady conviction to get rid of the things that you no longer love, truly need, or find useful. If you’re still not sure if you should get rid of an item, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I toss this?” The answer may help give you the power to discard the clutter.

It will be helpful to have large, dark-colored garbage bags for trash, plus some large boxes on hand for items to donate, sell, or give to friends. (For extremely large purging jobs, consider renting a dumpster.)

As you declutter, take note of the amount of “past” memories stored compared to the “current” and “future” items in the space. While it’s wonderful to save some memories, don’t allow yourself to dwell too much on the past. It’s not coming back, and the future is what you make it. What do you want to do in the upcoming months and years? Out with the old to make way for some new hobbies and activities: a cleared-out attic could make a great artists’ studio. Your tidy basement might morph into a fabulous home theater! An organized garage could allow your budding Tim the Tool Man to come alive. (And let your car have a proper home!)

Once pared down, take time regularly to review and purge. Clutter has a way of sneaking up on us. Don’t let it! If you don’t know what to do with something, the basement/attic/garage is not its holding cell. Make conscious, deliberate decisions about the things in your life, and reclaim your space once and for all!

© 2015 Articles on Demand™

The “Whys” of Clutter

So, you know your life is full of clutter — things you don’t need, things you don’t necessarily want, and way more than you’ll actually use. But where the heck did all this stuff come from?

It might be hard to pinpoint the exact moment when clutter invaded and took over your life. Maybe you grew up in a cluttered household, so living with an overabundance of “things” has always felt natural. Or perhaps clutter is just beginning to form. (In which case, it’s time to nip it in the bud!)

Why are some people more prone to clutter than others? Following are a few reasons. If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, take heart. By recognizing what leads you to accumulate clutter you can make the transition to a clutter-free life.

You inherited it from your parents: If your parents were packrats, you can thank them for your love of abundance. And as you continue your life full of clutter, consider the fate you are dealing your loved ones if you don’t attempt to change. Your children might continue the cycle of clutter, or you may drive your mate and friends crazy.

You might need it “someday”: Back in the days of the Great Depression and the World Wars, people justifiably saved just about everything because of scarcity and rationing. However, in this day and age, there is no reason to continue this thought pattern. Thinking something will come in handy “one day” is NOT reason enough to keep it. By letting go, you’ll find that most of the time you’ll never need those things again. And if you do, you’ll likely find similar (or better) things to replace them.

Clutter is part of your identity: Is your identity somehow related to your possessions? Or, are you overly sentimental about your things? Remember that even if you get rid of the clutter, you still have the great memories associated with specific items. Allow yourself to release unloved or unuseful gifts from well-meaning friends and family. You are not throwing away your friends’ kindness or love; you are simply releasing the unneeded items to make room for the things that matter most to you.

You’re bombarded by “more is better” reasoning by marketers: Do catalogs invade your mailbox? Are companies constantly trying to sell you the newest do-hickey, clothing, or home decor? Look around your kitchen and count your small appliances and gadgets. Most likely, they simply add clutter to your life, taking up space. Next time the urge to buy grabs you; ask yourself if it will REALLY make your life better.

Clutter fills a void in your life: Clutter can help to hide loneliness, anger, fear, and other important emotions. It fills time and space and keeps you focused on things other than your problems. When you free the clutter, you’ll free yourself to deal with the real issues around you. It may be tough at first, but the rewards are endless. Similarly, some people want to hide in their clutter. They use an abundance of “stuff” to hide or shelter themselves from the outside world. A good way to start getting back into the swing of life is to declutter just one room. You’ll still be able to retreat to your safe place, but the lack of clutter will begin to feel freeing rather than terrifying.

Of course, you may not see yourself in any of the above scenarios. Perhaps you’ve simply accumulated a little clutter in your life due to a shortage of time, too many work or family demands, or a lack of organizing skills. This is perfectly normal. Not everyone who defines her life as “cluttered” will fit into the above scenarios. But for those who know that clutter is seriously affecting their lives, the above reasons may help define the source and allow them to start the decluttering process.

Whatever the reasons you’ve accumulated clutter, once you recognize them, you can move forward and begin your new life.

Clutter Awareness

The word “clutter” derives from the Middle English word “clotter,” which means coagulate. Think stagnant, accumulated… stuck! When clutter invades our homes and offices, it can make us disorganized. We lose things, forget to pay bills, procrastinate, and waste time. So stop contemplating your clutter and dedicate some time to conquering it!

Define “clutter.” Clutter is anything unnecessary and extraneous. It can be more than the physical clutter most of us think of. Getting organized means clearing out the clutter in your mind, heart, and life.

Start the process of decluttering. Start small. Divide your desk or room into sections. Pick one section (like one drawer or cupboard) and begin decluttering. Try to touch things only once while going through this process — quickly make a decision to keep or toss!

Ask yourself if you consider each item beautiful, useful, or loved. If not, you can probably get rid of it! If you’re still not sure if you should get rid of an item, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I toss this?” The answer may help give you the power to discard the clutter.

To stop clutter, prevent it from accumulating in the first place. Don’t give clutter a chance to form. As you’ve probably experienced, once clutter occupies a space, it has a way of multiplying. Always remember to place your emphasis on quality over quantity. In other words, it’s not important to have a lot of things, many of which you never use. It’s more beneficial to have fewer things, all of which you use and/or enjoy.

Think before you buy. Try to look beyond the initial “thrill of the purchase” and see what provides deeper moments of meaning. Once you rid yourself of clutter and make space only for what’s special, you’ll find it’s easier to get — and stay — organized!

© 2015 Articles on Demand™

A Legacy of Ornaments

Our three children are grown and have been receiving Christmas ornaments every year since they were born. This tradition started with my mom, Grandma Marie, and Ted’s mom, Grandma Lucille, and shortly thereafter, was embraced by other family members and also added to by friends, school projects and of course me.

Three kids, multiple givers with a high potential for chaos!

The year the kids were old enough to “help” decorate the tree and fought over which color knit stocking belonged to them, I knew keeping track was a must!

It became very clear that I needed to start a new tradition. A list! On the list, I included headings for the year, the child’s name, the name of the gift giver and sometimes details about the ornament. Perhaps it was from a vacation, an interest or an event.

This started very simply as designated notebook pages for each child in a spiral notebook. As the entries grew and the pages filled, the pages were removed from the spiral notebook and put into a three-ring binder for ease of adding more pages.

At some point, it dawned on me that as adults, the kids may want their ornaments for their own trees. I panicked. Our tree would be bare! So I started buying one for my husband and a “family” ornament. These meant something special to us perhaps from a trip or a memory or received as a gift so more pages were added to the book.

Each year I buy ornaments for our two grandsons, one granddaughter, three other family members and my good friend Jeanne. Yup, more pages. This helps me keep track of the ornaments I’ve given so there is no chance for duplication.

To make keeping track super simple all of this information is now on a spreadsheet. It is easy to add pages as needed and is updated each year.

Please accept my gift of a customizable ornament template to download here to record your own ornament history.

Merry Christmas!