Preparation!

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Yikes! Summer is now a memory!

Now is the time of year that we prepare for:

  • Back to school
  • Gulf Coast Weather
  • The holidays!!!

Back to school requires:

  • Clothes
  • School supplies
  • Clean out closets of outgrown clothes
  • Back into an early morning routine!

I know none of this is new news! However, getting back into routine after a lazy, hazy summer is difficult! There is so much to do to get your child out the door on time to get to class prepared and all of this requires a plan!  What is your plan?  What works best for your family and your schedule?

Here are a few tips that may help!

  • Plan a Family Huddle *
  • Plan, plan, plan will help with so much to reduce stress and missed projects and being late
  • Be sure to get the school calendar on your family and personal calendar!!

*Schedule a time during the weekend (Saturday morning, afternoon or Sunday afternoon).  If you have trouble getting them to the table, try food – popcorn, cinnamon rolls, or pizza.

Rules of the table:

  • Everyone comes and stays for the entire session (even Dad)
  • Everyone brings their planner.  I recommend one family calendar for everything that is going on with you family.  Consider color coding each member of your family.
  • Start things off with the best thing that happened at school /work this passed week.
  • Everyone in your family gets a turn to tell what they have coming up this next week (you may want to go the next two weeks to check on upcoming projects and big reports.)  Even Mom and dad get a turn.  Your children need to know if parents will be out of town or have a special events coming up.
  • End the huddle with sharing fun events coming up next week.

Now that you know what is going on with your children, look at your schedule and plan for any carpooling, snacks that you need to bring to afterschool events or anything else that needs your attention!

Next week, we will discuss getting prepared for Gulf Coast weather.

Happy Organizing!
Marla

 

Let’s Take a Work Break

Let’s Take a Work Break

What on earth is a work-break?  It’s funny to me, when I mention work-break, the thoughts go to the opposite of the whole idea of a work-break, which is, a break from work!  No!  That is not it at all!!  Think about this, when you take a lunch-break, you go to lunch, right?  When people who smoke, take a smoke-break, they go smoke, when you take a potty-break….you get the idea, so a work-break, is time set aside to actually get work accomplished!!  Can you set about 45 – 90 minutes aside to have uninterrupted, email notification off, phone off, no texting, and time to actually work on a project?  I know how difficult that is; let’s look back on the lunch-break, smoke-break, and potty-break.  Those projects are done…away from our work area.  If taking a work-break in your office isn’t working for you, you may need to find another place to do your work – possibly the library, a conference room at work or a coffee shop. 

How to take a work-break?
          Schedule your time. 

  • This is ‘sacred’ time; treat it like a doctor’s appointment!
  • Block out the time on your calendar.
  • How many work-break time blocks can you put in your daily calendar? One, two??

Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

Where will you work best?
If there are too many distractions (people, animals, things), find a place that will support you in working on your project for 45-90 minutes.  If you need to work on a book or blog, find a room that contributes to writing, a quite place, conference room or library.

What is the best time for you to work?  Early in the day, right after lunch, when is your energy and concentration at it’s best?

What project will get your attention?  Work on one thing at a time to help your brain focus.  More will get accomplished.

Eliminate distractions such as email, silence your phone, eat a protein bar, hydrate yourself and
have water on hand during this time.  Set a timer for 45 – 90 minutes. 

When work / projects go undone, it becomes frustrating and adds stress to you mentally and physically.  If you find that you have many projects to work on and do, prioritize them, schedule time in your day for work-breaks, set alarms for start and finish, if necessary and see your project list dwindle, and you will also find you will have more energy, as these projects are completed!



Do you feel like this year is evaporating before your very eyes?
How are you doing with the goals you set in 2016?
Get the Rest of Your Year in Gear
Come to a F*REE webinar!
August 4 @ 7:00 PM CST

Click here to register and for more information


Happy Organizing!
Marla
Marla@OrganizingTime.com
www.OrganizedTime.com

 

Taking Time to be Prepared

Houston, when we have a problem, are you prepared?
IT IS HURRICANE SEASON

Global storm isolated space vortex. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Do not wait until there is a disturbance in the Gulf to begin preparing.  Start now by stocking up on the essentials a little at the time.
(Experience has taught us, that waiting until the last minute means there will be NOTHING left on the shelf at the grocery store or the big box stores and the lines at the gas station will be very long!!)

There are so many websites that help us prepare our homes and families. I would recommend visiting a few
of them to make sure you have the right things on hand.

Here is a check list of a few things to help get the process started, if you haven’t already.
I welcome your
suggestions, as well.

Water. Begin to collect at least a 7 day supply of water. One gallon of water per person per day is
recommended. Remember, your pets need water, too.

Freeze water in a plastic milk carton or 2-liter bottles. If power is lost, having these large containers of ice will
keep your food cold a little longer. When the water melts, it can be used to flush toilets, take a sponge bath, or refreeze when the power comes back on. When initially freezing these containers, fill leaving a couple of inches from the top for expansion during the freezing process, leave the cap off. Replace the cap after the water has frozen.

Food. Collect at least 7 days of non-perishable foods, enough for your entire family. Be sure to have a couple

of manual can openers. Yes, it is a good idea to have at least 2 can openers. Along with those non-perishable
foods, have plenty of crunchy junk food and chocolate! There is just something about having crunchy foods
when dealing with stressful situations. Camping equipment comes in handy at this time of no electricity. If
you do not have a gas stove, a camp stove with gas for cooking. I have an old fashioned drip coffee pot. All I
need to do is boil water and allow it to drip…coffee! Matches and / or lighters are a necessity at this time, too.
Stock up on baby formula, food and other baby needs. Have extra pacifiers, too!

Pets will need plenty of food and water, as well. If your pet is like mine, she gets very nervous during noisy

weather, so keep them close by and give them as much comfort as possible. During the last storm, my dog
lived in her Thunder Shirt ®.

Grab and go bags. Prepare a couple of bags that are ready to go at a minutes notice. Here is what each bag

needs:
>Identification for each member of your family, as well as immunization for children and pets.
>Insurance info for car, home, medical and any other insurance info you have.
>CD or photocopies of important documents such as birth certificates / marriage certificates, titles, and
any other important documents you have.
>Household inventory, credit cards and latest utility bill
>Cash (small bills, $1’s, $5’s, $10’s. Rolls of quarters are also helpful.
>List of all medications everyone in your home is presently taking. Eyeglasses, contact lens solution, and
hearing aid batteries.
>Flashlight w/ batteries (I recommend LED lanterns instead of flashlights for better lighting)
>First Aid kit
>External hard drive
>The good jewelry
>Clothes and personal needs
>Battery operated radio
>Toys, books and other fun things for your children (and you)

Batteries. You knew this was coming! Check out your flashlights and the size batteries and amount of
batteries that each needs. A great alternative would be a LED camping lantern.
This is so much safer than candles and gives off more light in all directions.

Last minute things to do before you leave your home:

>Be sure to have a full tank of gas
>We rely so much on GPS, with anything technical, it isn’t always reliable and unknown if that service
will be available during a storm, it may be a good idea to have a map of the area. During Hurricane
Rita, we evacuated to go 60 miles north (took 12 hours, I digress). We had to take back roads to get to
our destination, having a map helped. Be sure to tell family members where you are going
>Empty your refrigerator and freezer or you will come home to some stinky stuff!!
>Board up doors and brace garage door
>Take in any outdoor furniture or anything that can cause damage in high wind
>Turn off propane tanks

I hope these tips help you to begin gathering the information and items you need, as well as formulate an
emergency plan in case of an emergency. Let’s pray we don’t need it! Famous words from my grandfather (in
my family), “It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it not have it.”

What is on your emergency check list?


Happy Organizing!

Marla
Marla@OrganizedTime.com

Click here for a Complimentary 20-Minute Productivity Strategy Phone Session

 

Taking Time to Catch-Up

Do you have things that seem to stack up, pile up and before you know it,

surrounds you with…stuff!

Businesswoman buried at the office

Taking Time to Catch-Up

I have a philosophy, “if paper started to smell, like the mystery items in the frig, we would not have paper piles!”  You may see things around your office and home and say to yourself, “Oh yea, I gotta fix that or put that stuff away.” 

Are you seeing these things in your office?

  • things left behind from past projects
  • books – stacks of books
  • research items
  • things from an expo like koozies, cups, pens, pads, doo dads
  • coffee cups
  • pens that seem to multiply, but hide when you need one
  • mail  both opened and unopened
  • magazines and catalogs (get off catalog lists at www.catalogchoice.org)
  • note pads with and without notes
  • sticky notes – stuck on computer monitor and other various places
  • empty envelopes with notes and phone numbers you don’t remember for whom or what
  • Etc, etc, etc

You may see these items at home:

  • shoes and bags that collect at the door
  • mail piled on kitchen counter or coffee table
  • laundry – dirty or clean in laundry baskets
  • toys
  • coffee cups
  • pens, pads, magazines, catalogs – same stuff in office!!

I won’t go on, it get a little depressing and I do have a solution!!  It really is a simple fix.
When seeing all this undone-ness gives you that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach and OVERWHELMS you, then it  is time for ACTION and that is why I have invented (sort of) ‘Catch-Up Time’!

Catch-Up Time’ is time set aside to do those pesky things (see above lists) that you see and say, “I don’t have time right now — this is not next”.  Well, with Catch-Up Time’ those things are now next!  You know it needs doing; you cannot put them off any longer.  Catch-Up Time’ is time set aside from 30-minutes, for a quick catch up, to a day to do the larger things are are bugging you.

Schedule Catch-Up Time’ on your calendar and write down the projects you will do.  It helps to write it all down in a to-do list to prioritize it.  You will be amazed at how many things you have on the list!  Who can you ask to help you stick with your Catch-Up Time’ plan, whether this is a friend, family member or a professional organizer (www.OrganizedTime.com   Shameless plug)  You will accomplish those nagging little things that weigh heavy on you, stress you out and it blocks your energy and creativity.

OK, get out your calendar and schedule your Catch-Up Time’ NOW!  Pick the one thing to start, that will make the biggest difference in your office or home.  This will give you that ‘ahhh’ feeling when it is accomplished. 

Set a timer and get started.  You will be amazed at how quickly that little task took!

If you didn’t complete everything on your list, RESCHEDULE! another Catch-Up Time’ with a plan of action to complete.  Keep going!  You can do it!!

Let me know how well your Catch-Up Time’ worked for you!!

Happy Organizing!
Marla

Would you like a Complimentary 30- Minute Productivity Strategy Session?

Do you feel like you want to clone yourself, so you can be in more than one place at a time?

Do you feel like you resent the fact that you are working and so busy all the time that you have no time for fun or being creative?

Do you have those feelings of guilt because you have missed out on special times with friends and family?

Are you feeling stressed?  Do you stuff those feelings and keep going as though it is a normal way of life?

Click here to contact Marla Today!  Let’s get a plan of action to reduce the stress, guilt and overwhelm to a more manageable way of enjoying your life!

This time together is on the phone.  It is a confidential, FREE consultation with no obligation.

Taking Time to Think

Clock and diary page

Taking Time to Think

There’s the bell (alarm) and you’re off!  The minute your feet hit the ground, you are running!!  Potty, coffee pot, coffee cup, cereal bowl, kids, shower, clothes, grab your bags and you’re out the door to another day of what you did yesterday!  What did you forget?  No time to stop…like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!”

Can we rewind for just a second?  Rewind all the way to the night before?  Yes, that is right.  The night before the morning of the big blur of rush, rush, rush to get out the door!  OK, just breathe right now.  Take two if you need it.

THINK about tomorrow:
>Where do you need to go?
     Is professional dress or casual dress required?
     What do you need for the day, a meeting, luncheon, etc.?
     What time do you need to leave to arrive about 15 minutes early?
>What is your responsibility?
>Do you have breakfast and lunch items on hand for tomorrow?
>Do you have enough gas to get you where you need to go? Do you have time to stop for gas in the morning?
>What about your children?
>What do they need to wear? (Make sure you don’t mix up PJ day with Picture day!)
>What after-school activity do they have?
>Is their backpack packed up and out-the-door ready when they go to sleep? (including lunch, water, snacks, etc.)

All of this necessary prep time in the evening saves:
>Time
>Your nerves/less stress by being prepared
>Relationships within your family

By preparing the night before, as each item from coffee, milk, lunch items, gas in car, clothes that can have a mystery spot, for no apparent reason, are checked on, if you need any of these things, you can do something about it night before, not the morning of!  While you are preparing (I kid you not!) get both of your shoes together.  I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard over the years about people showing up with two different shoes at work!  Where are your keys?  Check the weather!  Find your umbrella, if needed!

This simple exercise of thinking ahead the night before is a life skill you teach your children, as well as giving you and your spouse peace of mind when you go to bed that tomorrow morning won’t be such a stressful sprint to get out the door with everything you need!

Happy Organizing!
Marla

Would you like a Complimentary 30- Minute Productivity Strategy Session?
Do you feel like you want to clone yourself, so you can be in more than one place at a time?
Do you feel like you resent the fact that you are working and so busy all the time that you have no time for fun or being creative?
Do you have those feelings of guilt because you have missed out on special times with friends and family?
Are you feeling stressed?  Do you stuff those feelings and keep going as though it is a normal way of life?

Click here to contact Marla Today!  Let’s get a plan of action to reduce the stress, guilt and overwhelm to a more manageable way of enjoying your life!

This time together is on the phone.  It is a confidential, FREE consultation with no obligation.

Happy Spring!

stux / Pixabay

stux / Happy Spring!

Spring has officially sprung!! 

 

The fruit trees in my backyard are in full bloom!  Can you believe it?!?  We have already celebrated New Years Day 2016, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter!!   I enjoyed our “Easter Snap” (the surprise cold weather we had).  Now that that is over, we can safely put away our sweaters and keep the flip flops close by!

Have you ever wondered where “Spring Cleaning” came from?  Well, there are many versions from ancient Persia, to Jewish custom, Passover being a time of house cleaning, to a Christian tradition of  week-long cleaning right before or during the first week of Lent.  Another version comes from the northern states that were closed up all winter and because of the source of heat was coal, oil and wood; it left a dull residue on everything.  They took everything outside to clean and freshen.

What are some of the ways you can freshen your home?

  • Open windows to let in the fresh air and sunshine
  • Dust the blinds (while you are opening windows on a sunny day)
  • Surround yourself with springtime colors (flowers, table cloth, move furniture around)
  • Put winter blankets and clothes away

Get your free copy of my Room-By-Room Organizer here!

Happy Organizing!
Marla

Button, Button, who has the Button?

buttons in bags

Trash or Treasure?

I have always enjoyed buttons. It could come from my time spent with my grandmother when I was very young. She had a tin filled with buttons. I would run my hands through them. I was entertained by that tin for hours (probably minutes). The feel, the sound, the different colored buttons fascinated me. I’m sure it was a relief to my very patient little grandmother, that I was occupied for at least 10 minutes!

I was reminded with that stroll down memory lane as I went on a quest for safety pins. I found, in my crystal heart box on my dresser, buttons. Buttons of every size and color, many still in the little zip bag. I went on a tangent! (Ever do that?) I began to remove the buttons from their baggies and take out the things that didn’t belong in the box. Things like odd keys, costume jewelry and coins. I then went to my other stashes of baggied buttons.
Buttons pretty
My “organizing training” kicked in with ‘put like things together and get rid of the things that are no longer needed’. I ended up with a beautiful display of buttons that give me a warm feeling all over as it does remind me of my dear grandmother, Sito (Grandmother in Arabic) (see her picture below). And a picture you may just see again on Valentine’s Day!

Do you keep those extra buttons? If so, where do you keep them?
Sito

PS I never did find the safety pins!

Happy Organizing!
Marla first name sig

 

 

Rail Tracks S CurveLet’s Get Back on Track!

Hello!!! I took a break this summer from writing my blog(s). It would be nice to say that I went on a wonderful vacation to an exotic-far-off land. The truth of it is I did travel to near by ‘lands’. My older daughter moved to San Antonio. We have ‘traveled’ to visit a couple of times this summer. My younger daughter moved back home. I know it is a transition for her to be back in the land of humidity. We are thrilled that she is now here and settling in. My Mother moved into a one-bedroom apartment in a retirement / senior living facility. She is very happy to be among ‘her peeps’! Those three moves, trips to San Antonio, Ft.Worth, Lake Charles (my home town) plus business and life in general, have helped my summertime go by quickly! I think everyone is settled, school has begun and we can all get back on track!

What does it mean to “Get back on track?” Now that summer is officially over and school is back in session, we can all get back into routine!  It is really different for everyone. What do you want to accomplish in this last quarter of 2015?

 

Happy 1/2 New Year!

Happy Half New Year Organized Time Marla Regan

Happy Half New Year From Organized Time
Marla Regan

The calendar says it is the 4 th week of May, my head says it is only the middle of March, the weatherman is telling us, in the South, to begin preparing for emergency situations. I am seeing graduation pictures all over Social Media and flying my flag for Memorial Day…wow, 2015 is zipping by at break neck speed!!

As I review my goals, which I do regularly, I see that I am on track for some, have accomplished a couple, and no where near where I want to be with the rest!  How about you?

We are coming to the half-way point of 2015.  If you are finding that your goals are in serious need of review and action, you are in good company.  Let’s do something about it…together!

Would you like to join me on a quest to, “Get Your Year In Gear”?

Join me for a “Zoominar”
(Zoom is very much like Skype!)
When? June 1, 2015
Time?  7:00 p.m. CST
Where?  Your home / On Zoom
Cost? No cost!
To register (the “Zoominar” is limited to 25 people).
Once you register, call-in info will be be sent to you.

Let’s get our year in gear and
finish 2015 strong!

The Morning Routine

Cup of tea with floral ornamental steam over burlap texture

 

 

Have you discovered the wonders of listening to Podcasts? It is amazing how much I learn about different topics!! Recently, I found a trend or a theme. It was the importance of a good Morning Routine. I had a good one, I did had a good Morning Routine, I just didn’t follow it. It was not a routine with intention. My phone would ping when it was time to:

  • get up
  • have my quiet time
  • head downstairs for breakfast
  • exercise
  • shower / dress
  • be out the door

Prior to my intentional morning routine, I would hear my phone ping and think, it’s 6:30 am….ughhh and roll over and actually get out bed when it was time to go downstairs for breakfast, never did I actually stick to my intended program.

What shifted? As I read about how the lives and businesses that were changed by having a morning routine to which one gave thought and energy, I knew I wanted ‘some of that’! I began reading the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, one of the things he wrote struck a big, long, loud chord with me, there was no personal accountability in ignoring my prompts to wake up and move to each activity I had set up for my morning success. It was sending a message to me, that I really didn’t care about me.  I am not important. It was time to change that attitute with different actions!   Each item in my routine was a step in achieving my spiritual, physical and mental goal I set in my 2015 goals. I really let me down. I knew I needed to begin NOW. Listening to these podcasts and reading The Miracle Morning really helped me to have a plan of action and a place to begin.

I knew one of my stumbling blocks was ‘entering the Earth’s atmosphere’ or waking up in the morning. When getting to sleep at night is a challenge, it makes waking up a little difficult. The podcast I listened to help with that challenge. They recommended an app called “Sleep Cycle”. Once your alarm is set to wake you at an appointed time, the app will alarm in a 30-minute range of your set time to wake you when you are not in a deep sleep. Ah ha! That has helped me so much!!

I have also discovered the wonders of Essential Oils! Amazing what that natural wonder will do to help quiet my nightly busy brain and help me to sleep! I also diffuse lemongrass essential oil in the morning to help wake my brain. It is a happy scent I really enjoy as well.

Being the organizer that I am, and a person who LOVES to check off the things I have accomplished, (measurable results – that is Goal Setting 101, right?) I created a checklist for the week to help me do all the items I want to accomplish before heading downstairs for breakfast. It has been almost a week, and I haven’t missed a wake-up call. It is amazing how good I feel and the energy I have in the morning!

I am happy to share my tips for a Successful Morning Routine with you. For a complimentary 20-minute session on how to have a great morning,  start with a Productivity Strategy Session, click here.  Don’t delay.  The schedule on my phone was set up in October, 2014 and here it is 6 months later and I am finally getting the rest and having energy to accomplish so much more than I have in a very long time!

Happy Organizing!
Marla