Organized Time Plan Ahead Get Organized

Look Ahead, Plan Ahead, Make Ahead

One of my routines on Saturday Morning is to drink my tea and watch and episode of ‘The Pioneer Woman’. (Foodnetwork.com/PioneerWoman). As I was watching an episode (and I watch with pad and pen in hand) she said these words with sparked an idea for this blog… “Make ahead”, oh my goodness, yes!! It reminded me of my days of working as school secretary, two daughters in elementary school, plus all of our activities. My husband was away most of the time, saving the world, as Air Force Major! If I didn’t look ahead, plan ahead, and make ahead, I would have been running behind. It takes more energy to try to catch up when you fall behind than it does to look ahead, plan ahead, and make ahead!!

LOOK AHEAD

Using a Month-At-A-Glance Calendar, gives you a general overview of the main events of:

Upcoming Special Days
o Birthday days
o Birthday parties
o Anniversaries
o Holidays

School Events
o Days off
o School holidays
o Parent / Teacher conferences
o Carnivals, Plays, etc.

Extra-Curricular Events
o Piano, dance, Martial Arts lessons
o Sports practice, meets and games
o Doctor visits / appointments
o Any event that happens outside of school time

PLAN AHEAD

Now, let’s drill down to Week-At-A-Glance

Upcoming Special Days / School Events / Extra-Curricular Events
o Who is involved?
o How will they get there?
o How long will it take?
o What do they need for this event?
o What will we eat? (Menu planning)
o When will homework / housework be done?

Take a look at your Week-At-A-Glance. Where will you be each day of the week? This will help you get a plan of action for meals, clothes and transportation. When will the following things be done?
> Grocery Shopping
> Cooking
> Laundry
> Home Work
> House Work
> Sitting down to dinner
> Relaxing / Family fun time

These things will depend on your daily schedule. I highly recommend that these items are scheduled in your day and on your calendar! Some of these things may not go on everyday; however these are the typical things that are needed most days!

MAKE AHEAD

One of my go-to-plan-ahead tools is a tote bag for specific events. I drop what I need for that event or day in the bag when I think about it. That way, I can grab my bag and know everything is in it when I head out the door.

Here are the bags I have:
> Work bag (it is always packed and has everything I need for an organizing client appointment)
> Everyday bag (calendar, coupons, errand and meeting things go in this bag. If I have returns, those will go in the bag, if they fit along with the receipt.)
> Speaker bag (contains all my info and contact information for speaking to a group)

Another Make Ahead is meal planning.
While watching the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond), she cooked many chicken breasts at one time. She only used 2 or 3 in her recipe and put the rest in a freezer zip bag and saved them for a future meal. In my days of School Secretary, I would think of many ways to use a whole chicken. I boiled it and used the broth and split the chicken for different recipes. I would get three to four dishes from the one chicken.

What can you cook and use half not and freeze the other half for next week?

Make your life work! What do you need as you head out the door in the morning? Pack it up after you look ahead, plan ahead and make ahead!! You can do it!

Happy Organizing,
Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.

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?

For a complimentary 15- Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please click here
( https://my.timetrade.com/book/VYJFJ )

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.

 

Time Out!!!

Organized time Ready to get back in routine

Time Out

 

Time Out!!

What does that mean to you?  Am I in trouble?  No.  This ‘time out’ is more of a sports metaphor, let’s huddle up, evaluate our situation and get back in the game with a new plan.

Now is the time (especially if you have children who are going back to school) to get a new plan of action to help everyone be prepared for their day and be out the door on time!

Are you an entrepreneur who is working at the whim of your clients?  Is your calendar in control of your time, or are you in control of your calendar?  Take a minute to think about that one! 

When I organize in a home or office, we create zones for like-things.  Think about your kitchen, there is a specific place for pans, bowls, plates, glasses, silverware, etc.   These are the zones for those items.  You can go into each room of your home and create zones for resting, playing, reading, taking care of business, etc.  Now, let’s take a look at your calendar.

  1. Take a ‘look’ at your body clock.
    1. When are you most successful with people; calls, meetings, etc.?
    2. When are you most successful reading?
    3. When are you most successful creating / writing?
    4. When do you need to be quiet, rest, think and recharge (and for how long)?
  2. Look at your calendar
    1. Block time for meetings, calls, emails (People time)
    2. Block time for writing, projects, reading, etc.
    3. Block time for thinking.
    4. Block time for recharging!
  3. Calendar blocking is a way to say yes to the appropriate action at the appropriate time. It is very important that you make you a priority!
  4. One of my favorite tips is to block time for a project, if you work in an office, block a specific amount of time (possibly 45 minutes) and put a note on your door that says, “In a meeting, I will be available at (TIME).” It is a win-win.  Possibly a win (you) win (the client who’s project is being worked on) and win, the person who needs your attention.          

 Organized Time is turning 20!!  Hard to believe 20 years has passed and so very quickly.    I love what I do and I have met the most interesting people who have become very dear to me.  In light of the celebration, I will be having a few “Zoominars” (video webinar), workshops and a Dutch-treat tea party. 

!!! Please stay tuned for upcoming events!!  I want you to be part of the celebration !!!

Happy Organizing,

Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office. 

For a complimentary 15- Minute Time Strategy Session, please click below:( https://my.timetrade.com/book/VYJFJ )

Taking Time to Quiet the Visual Noise

Taking Time to Quiet the Visual Noise

When you look around where you are right now, what do you see? I see a few things that need to be put away. I will put them away when I leave my desk. Having an organized area to work does take a continued effort. Getting organized is not a do this and it is done. Nooooo! Getting and being organized is like a moving target. We are constantly getting things out and out of place and we need to constantly put things back where they belong! I have heard (many) people tell me, I don’t fix my bed in the morning because I am just going to mess it up again. That is true!! And that is their choice. My choice is to fix my bed in the morning. For one thing, it quiets the visual noise. Another thing, it puts me in a good mood because my room is not much neater and peaceful when I walk in at the end of a busy day. When I am tired, my made-bed brings me peace at the end of a busy day.

What else can we do to give peace to a busy household? A clean kitchen. Clean up at the end of the day. Put things away and get the things you need for morning prepared. I do have help in the kitchen after dinner. My husband helps put food away and will dry the pots and put them away. Sometimes as I cook large meals, I make sure utensils are washed and dishes go in the dishwasher as I go along so I don’t have a big clean up the end. When I walk into my kitchen in the morning (pre-tea Marla), it is so nice to not look at a counter full of dishes!! Again, it contributes to peace and there isn’t a bunch of dirty dishes causing visual noise!

Laundry, comes in at a very close 3rd in this race for keeping things put away. When clothes come out of the dryer…well, they have been known to stay in the basket for such a time as there is confusion whether they are clean or dirty. That doesn’t happen at my house because I don’t use a laundry basket and my loads are manageable. By having smaller loads, I can stand at the dryer and hang clothes and also fold them and put them away. While we are here discussing laundry, NEVER put sheets and towels in the washer or dryer together, it causes your sheets to get nobbie. You will extend the ‘life’ of your sheets by washing the alone.

What other areas do you find have pile-ups?  Well, there is paper. You may ask, why didn’t I start there!! Paper isn’t as bad as it use to be, however, it is still a problem! The mail is usually more junk mail than good stuff. Well, stand next to your shredder and recycle can so that it doesn’t end up piling up on the counter. This becomes a postponed decision when it just piles up and up and up.

What do all these things have in common? A habit! When we first get up in the morning, fix the bed and be done with it. I don’t like to come back to it! The same can be applied to all the other things above.

I understand a very busy lifestyle and also a lack on energy and we just don’t feel like it. We aren’t perfect! I am far from it. If you can’t get to the things you want to do, it is ok. Give yourself a temporary break, as long as you know you will get to it, quicker than later!!

We all work better when we have smaller messes to handle, so don’t let things pile up and if you do…it happens, ask for help, if help is not available, then break up your tasks into smaller, manageable tasks!

If you need help in setting up routines or need a nudge, reach out to me! We can have a complimentary 20-minute chat to help you get started!

Happy Organizing!
Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.

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?

For a complimentary 15- Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please click here.

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.

 

Back to School Prep

Getting organized for back to school

Back to School Prep

Back to School Prep

I interviewed a teacher who truly has a heart for her students.  I asked her what she recommends for parents to do for their children to prepare for back to school.  She said a few things that I totally recommend (true disclosure, this teacher is my daughter!)  She said: 

  • Read to your children consistently
  • Start slowly into a regular bedtime / wakeup time
  • Resume morning and evening routines

                Reading – You read to them and they read to you.
                Review math facts (in the car)
                Review Sight words (in the car)

Keep it light and fun!  (Not kill and drill- her words)

Read things that they want to read (even if it is below their reading level…let them read!!)

Ease them back in….squeeze out every ounce of summer you can!!

If you have ever heard me speak, I talk about having a Family Huddle every week with your family.  If you are not familiar with this concept, I will be happy to send you the information on this communication time with your family.  It is so important for parents to know the schedules their children have, as well as children knowing what their parents have going on.

Happy Organizing,

Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office. 

For a complimentary 15- Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please click here

Looking for a speaker for your next event?
Click to Book Marla to speak

Are You Ready for Independence From Clutter? Part 3

Are You Ready for Independence from Clutter?   Part 3

Have you ever noticed how clutter loves company!!  One thing on a counter is just one thing, like a set of keys or a pair of sunglasses or an envelope, or one drinking glass.  However, when it is keys, sunglasses, an envelope AND a glass, now its clutter!   In the organizing industry, we call this ‘pockets of clutter’.  Just look around, under sinks, in bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, the floor in closets, behind doors, in an empty chair in the corner, the side table of the couch or the bed…yes, my friend, you have pockets of clutter!   Whatcha gonna do?

Here is an easy system to help empty those ‘pockets of clutter’:

  1. Decide, which ‘pocket’ will make a big difference to you?  That is where you begin.
  2. Go get the laundry basket, this is to put the things that belong in another room (do NOT leave this area…yet!).
  3. Get a trash can or bag.
  4. Throw away whatever is no longer useful to anyone.
  5. Put the items that belong in another area in the laundry basket.
  6. Now organize the items that belong in this area.
  7. What can go in a bin, box, or basket for easy use?
  8. Go put the items that belong in another area away. (And return the laundry basket to the laundry room!)
  9. What reward will you have for finishing this quick and easy job?
  10. Plan your next ‘pocket’ to empty!  How many ‘pockets’ can you empty in one day?

       ~ Rinse and Repeat!

If you need a little help, set a timer for 15 minutes to see how much you can do!  When the ringer sounds, do you need to set it for another 15 or can you continue until you finish the project?

You can do it!

Happy Organizing,

Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.

For a complimentary 15-Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please click here. https://my.timetrade.com/book/VYJFJ  

Here are two Houston events where Marla is speaking:

Strategies for Busy Women – Saturday, July 22, 2017 – 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Location: 6363 Richmond Ave; 3rd Floor, Houston, TX 77057

Happy ½ New Year! Where are your goals? – Tuesday, July 25, 2017 – 7:30 a.m.
Location: Business Builders Network, Office of America, 6200 Savoy, 12th Floor, Houston, TX 77036

Looking for a speaker for your next event?

Book Marla to speak
http://www.organizedtime.com/book-marla/

Are You Ready for Independence From Clutter? (Part 2)

Are You Ready for Independence From Clutter?  (Part 2)

Are you an out of sight/out of mind person? I understand! It happens to all of us. Let’s go into the kitchen for a minute (you can take a mental trip). Are your (clean) plates, glasses and silverware all out on the countertop because of being out of sight? If so, then these items would be out of mind. More than likely, the answer is no! Why is that? Because these items have a specific place and you know the location of that place. One reason countertops, desktops (physical), floors and other flat surfaces have piles on them, is the fear of putting something away and never finding it again. One other reason this may happen is, there is no specific place (a home) to put it!

Here are few helpful tips to help you clear your flat surfaces without fear of losing something.

• Designate a hook (not a basket) for keys (I hang my sunglasses on the key ring) I use Command Hooks ® by 3M to hang my keys.

• Be cautious about using small baskets for miscellaneous objects, it will become a ‘junk’ basket.

• Create a temporary file box with hanging file folders to hold papers that will be needed soon. Use this box on the kitchen counter as part of your Command Center.

• Instead of clipping coupons, check to see if your favorite store has an app for up-to-date sales and coupons. If you do have coupons, use a clear folder, keep it near your keys to take shopping.

• Use baskets or a bin for often used cleaning products under each sink in your home for convenience.

• Use a basket for all of the personal products you use after your shower. My basket (acrylic handled box) comes out in the morning and again at night when I do my morning and evening routines for face, hair and body. My hair brushes, etc. are in a plastic zippered travel bag. I use them daily and easily packed when I travel. The same goes for my makeup.

If you are looking for ‘independence from clutter’ and don’t know where to begin, consider a 15 minute strategy session with Marla. Click here to schedule your session today! https://my.timetrade.com/book/VYJFJ 

Happy Organizing,

Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.

For a complimentary 15-Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please click here. https://my.timetrade.com/book/VYJFJ  

Here are two Houston events where Marla is speaking:

Strategies for Busy Women – Saturday, July 22, 2017 – 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Location: 6363 Richmond Ave; 3rd Floor, Houston, TX 77057

Happy ½ New Year! Where are your goals? – Tuesday, July 25, 2017 – 7:30 a.m.
Location: Business Builders Network, Office of America, 6200 Savoy, 12th Floor, Houston, TX 77036

Looking for a speaker for your next event?

Book Marla to speak
http://www.organizedtime.com/book-marla/

Are You Ready for Independence From Clutter?

Are you ready for independence from clutter?

I hope your Fourth of July is fun and exciting! I wish I had the luxury of watching fireworks at a distance instead of having it sound like a battle in my neighborhood! Stay cool, stay safe and above all enjoy yourself!

Are you ready to have independence from clutter? A good place to start is with the common areas that seem to collect the stuff when you come into your home. This area collects the mail, bags from the grocery store, sunglasses and keys seem to get lost in this area, as well as receipts, toys from kid’s meals and whatever little object seems to land in this clutter gathering area.

This is a quick and easy place to begin. I know, you look at this area (kitchen counter) with dread and disdain! I get it! I will walk you through it one step at a time!
1. Set a timer for 15 minutes. I think we can get through this or most of it in 15 minutes!
2. Remove all trash (old receipts, broken things, expired coupons, unidentified parts and pieces)
3. Create a pile of things for each member of your family, mail, sunglasses, things that belong to them. (Do not leave this area – do not deliver to their room or desk – stay on task!)
4. What is left? If you still have unidentified items that don’t seem to have a home…why do you have them? If there is a need for these items, put them where they will be used. And TRY to not use your junk drawer!!

On of my favorite organizing technique / product is a plastic, see-through shoe organizer.

I put these pockets to good use. I have one in my kitchen and one in my office upstairs. Both sets have batteries of all sizes and flashlights. My kitchen pockets hold
     > drink koozies
    >  tape
     > tape measure
     > glue
     > small tools
And other small items that would get lost in a ‘junk drawer’.

This is a great place to assign pockets to your family members for their items, such as sunglasses, phone cords and other things that clutter the counter tops in the kitchen.

This pockets system can also be used for toys, cars and dolls in the lower pockets and the upper pockets can be used for things that only parents can reach for their children.
Oh yes, this can also be used for shoes!

Happy Organizing,
Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.
For a complimentary 15- Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please click here
( https://my.timetrade.com/book/VYJFJ )

 

Summertime, Summertime, sum, sum….Summertime!

 

It is summertime. What comes to mind, when you think of summer?
Lemonade
Hot and humid (air you can wear)
Vacations
4th of July
Kids are home, watch for kids playing in the street (this makes me happy!)
Pool time
Running through the sprinklers
Going to the beach or pool

None of these things listed above are associated with work!  For the most part, this list has to do with going outside (my favorite thing to do outside is to go inside – I am a fan of A/C!!) 

I would like to propose to you to take time* during this summer season for you!  It is a great time to relax, enjoy cool lemonade, and watch your children run and giggle through the sprinklers and read.  All year, I read non-fiction books that educate and motivate, however, during the summer, I enjoy a break and read fiction. 

* Take time – schedule this time to be away from work, house work, and any other tasks you may have and just enjoy this time with either your family, friends, or just be alone.  By scheduling and keeping this time protected for fun, will eliminate guilt that comes from the habit of being busy all the time.

Just chill! 

A simple lemonade recipe:
1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of sugar
6 cups of cold water
(You may want to adjust water to taste and you may have a substitute for sugar)
Stir everything well, pour over ice in a fun glass (tiny umbrella, optional) and enjoy…preferably with your feet up and enjoying your summer.

Please use sunscreen when going outside!

Happy Organizing,
Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office. 

For a complimentary 15- Minute Productivity Strategy Session, please  Click here

[Shutterstock Image]

Are You Prepared If You Need to Evacuate?

 

This information is from an article I found some time back.  I apologize that I do not have the author to give credit.

It is a great tip and I wanted to pass it on.

 

 

“For those of you that are evacuating from the coast, I just heard a great tip. It’s called the one cup tip.”

“You put a cup of water in your freezer. Freeze it solid and then put a quarter on top of it and leave it in your freezer. That way when you come back after you’ve been evacuated you can tell if your food went completely bad and just refroze or if it stayed Frozen while you were gone. If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup that means all the food defrosted and you should throw it out. But if the quarter is either on the top or in the middle of the cup then your food may still be ok. It would also be a great idea to leave this in your freezer all the time and if you lose power for any reason you will have this tip to fall back on. If you don’t feel good about your food, just throw it out. The main thing is for all to be safe.”

“It sounds good, but has flaws.  Since ice floats, the quarter would stay on top if partial melting occurs.

Someone had a better solution, in my opinion.  Put a few ice cubes in a bowl in your freezer.  If they are still cubes, no melting took place.”

Happy Organizing,

Marla

 Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.

For a complimentary 15- Minute Time Strategy Session, please click here

 

Are You Prepared?

 

Are You Prepared?

Once again we find ourselves…school is out and hurricane season is here.
(Here is a re-print from a past article.)

OK, Houston and Louisiana, are you prepared?  Before there is a disturbance in the Gulf, here are few things you can do:

  • Make sure your car is full of gas before going home each evening.
  • Make sure all electrical devices (cell phone, computer, dvd players, etc) are fully charged.
  • Print your Outlook list (if we have no electricity, you will be glad you did!)
  • Have a copy of all Rx you and everyone in your family.
  • Start stocking up on non perishable foods.
  • Water!  Make sure your bathtub will hold water overnight.  If it does not (like mine!) get a rubber stopper that will help keep water in the tub.  This water can be used to flush toilets.
  • Have a grab n go bag with all important insurance papers, passwords for accounts, financial info, and pet info.
  • Cash!  ATM’s do not work when there is no electricity.  Have cash in small bills on hand.
  • Freeze water in milk jugs 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.
  • Batteries?  Stock up before the supply is out at the stores!  What do you need?  Check now. Use a permanent marker to write the battery size and amount (3 AA).  Batteries can do corrode, check and remove batteries when the item is not in use for a while.
  • Have a battery powered radio to keep up with what is happening in your area.  When Hurricane Ike landed and Houston was without power, we found an AM station that kept us up to date on stores that were open and had ice, highway closures, etc.,  as well as other information that was helpful for us.
  • Get an LCD lantern to use in place of candles.  They are much safer to use, as well as for children and gives more light.  These lanterns are available in camping area of stores.

Happy Organizing,
Marla

Marla Regan CCP, owner of Organized Time is a Productivity Specialist and Certified Family Manager ® Coach specializing in helping clients with their productivity in their home and office.

For a complimentary 15- Minute Time Strategy Session,
please click here