Category Archives: motivation

Sourdough starter. Growth. Finding your passion.

Many articles from the past year would make you believe that you are not doing enough. With so many people being home during the pandemic you suddenly had time to clean out your closets, finish all those personal projects that have been lingering on your to-do list, and learn a new language. And if you didn’t suddenly find yourself motivated to tackle all of these things, well, that’s on you. It’s not that you haven’t had time, you’re just lazy and lack discipline. 

Huh. Really? 

lack discipline text says: your worth is not equal to your productivity. How much you get done each day does not make you sho you are.

Because you weren’t also taking care of kids while juggling full-time work or just trying to get through the day because it seems as though the world is coming down around us. 

I have shared how I feel this pandemic has wiped the slate clean for many of us. How this is a great time to think about what we want our lives to look like as we move forward. And not to rush back to the craziness of life BC (before Covid). 

It’s ok if that hasn’t happened. If you’re aware of it but not ready to process it or figure it out. 

We are going to be processing the trauma of this pandemic for years to come. Disruption is everywhere. And the changes keep coming. 

The pandemic is still here. And as long as people are still refusing to get vaccinated and wear masks, it’s not going anywhere. Until more of the global population has access to vaccines, it’s not going anywhere. 

And we are going to struggle to move forward until that changes.

There are many articles out there related to your productivity and the pandemic. Getting motivated to work during the stress of a pandemic. (here are my thoughts on that) That with no commute, you have so much more time on your hands! You should be working more! 

Because our society will have you believe that the more you get done, the more you produce, and the more you cross off your to-do list, the better! Because our value is all about productivity. 

No. It’s not. 

You are not your productivity.

If at the end of the day your kids are loved and fed, you are doing enough. 

Surviving a pandemic is enough. 

One of the things we talk about in my virtual community is that knowing what’s important to you helps you prioritize your tasks. You focus on the things moving you, your family, and your business/job forward. That productivity is not about getting it all done every day.

If you’re struggling with this, let’s talk. I want to help you clarify these things for you. Even if it’s to set you up for success as we move out of the fog of this pandemic.

Check out the PDF below to get started on this topic.

    Manis/Pedis. Massages. Bubbles baths.

    Manis/Pedis. Massages. Bubbles baths. Chocolate (or your favorite junk food). 

    I don’t believe any of these things are really self-care. They’re what society has told us is self-care. 

    massages. bubble baths. self-care.

    And we’re told that we should be taking care of ourselves. Not feeling guilty for taking that bubble bath or getting a massage. 

    And yes, we should be taking care of ourselves. And no, we should not be feeling guilty for filling our cup. 

    But we need to take some time to figure out what really feeds our souls. And, we should be taking the time to find activities that we truly enjoy. Not what we think we should be doing. 

    We need to be building lives that we don’t need to escape from. 

    This means that we don’t need a weekly massage so that we can have an hour of quiet time because we have time to ourselves and for ourselves built into the week (and we actually make that time happen).  

    That we’re not hiding in the pantry eating cookies straight from the package while hiding from our kids because we actually enjoy spending time with them. We fill their cups too and we have scheduled breaks from them to fill our cups.  

    Yes, I do enjoy my hot chocolate. I believe chocolate feeds my soul. I am also aware that it’s a quick fix. It’s not going to fix whatever it is that got me to this place of feeling drained. 

    Now, if you love your weekly massages, then have them. But don’t use them as your only form of self-care. Same for manis/pedis. 

    What do you do for self-care? Beyond bubble baths and massages? What really feeds your soul?

    For me, going to bed early with a good book fills my cup. Sometimes it’s a long phone call with a friend. 

    Want to get started on creating a life you don’t need to escape from? Start with this PDF. Or, contact me and let’s chat!

      A Simple Game Of Mousetrap

      Have you ever played the game of Mousetrap? I remember sitting in my grandparent’s house, putting the game together. I don’t think we ever played the game as designed. Just put the pieces together and sent the marble through the system.

      a game of mousetrap put the pieces together.

      There’s cause and effect. If something goes wrong, the end result is different. But, when things go smoothly, you get what you want at the end (unless you’re the mouse being caught). 

      It builds on itself. You need the pieces to connect in a certain way for it to work. 

      The same can be said for systems (and routines) in our own life. Pieces need to connect in certain ways. And when something is off, things can go wrong. 

      What routines in your life need some work? What systems can you create? 

      As we start a new school year, what routines do you need to build back into your family? 

      Here are a few to think about. What do you need to put in place? What needs to be tweaked?

      • Laundry 
      • Meal planning 
      • Family meetings 
      • Processing emails (personal and work)
      • Recurring work tasks

      This week, as you’re thinking about meal planning, here’s something to help you! My friend, Mary Gaul, designed a Magic Meal Planner for you. No more wasting food, time, or money. 

      The Magic Meal Planning System is a paper planner that includes your meals for the week and a built-in grocery list.  Along with Mary’s systems, tips, and 6 weeks of meal plan ideas, it makes meal planning, shopping, and prepping easy! 

      It helps you have a clear answer to the question – “what’s for dinner tonight?”

      Go to www.magicmealplan.com and get yours today for less than one meal out for a family of 4! 

      Use the code Meals10 to save $10!

      Follow on Facebook: @MagicMealPlan

      Contact Mary with questions at mary@successmagnified.com

      Contact me and let me know what routine you are going to focus on this week!

      Go To Bed

      That’s right. You and your kids need to go to bed. Yes, it’s August and it’s still summer. But, school is going to be here before you know it. Here in the Denver metro area, schools start in mid-August. 

      If you’ve been letting your kids stay up late and sleep in, now is the time to get back on a better schedule. Don’t wait until the night before school starts to enforce an earlier bedtime. It takes several weeks to shift things. Start to shift things by 10 minutes each night. Slowly get back to a school-night bedtime. 

      Spend some time thinking about your evening routines. What can you do at night to make your mornings better? Pack lunches? Pack backpacks and work bags? Set out breakfast? 

      And, you need to go to bed too.

      Sleep is important. If you’ve been skimping on sleep because you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do, then stop it. Sleep (and taking breaks) actually helps you get more done each day. 

      go to bed bedside table with book and flower.

      When you’re tired, you’re not efficient. 

      You make mistakes. 

      You’re slower both physically and mentally. 

      So go to bed. 

      Ok. Now that you’re getting some sleep, start thinking about your morning routines. Are you getting up earlier than your kids? What needs to happen in the morning to make the rest of your day easier? Run the dishwasher? Put dinner in the crockpot? Here are a few ideas for morning routines. 

      Think about your evening and morning routines now. Start working on sleep habits for you and your family. Start the school year off on the right foot, not kicking and screaming! 

      If you’re not sure what you want your routines to look like (and really, who knows what school is going to look like again this year) let’s talk! I can help you create routines to make your mornings and evening better for everyone.

      Not sure you’re ready to dive into changing your routines but want to get a little bit of support? Sign up for a free PDF on my STRIDE Method. Everything I do in my business (and in my own life) follows these ideas.

        Where Do I Even Start?

        In this beautiful book I read with my kids, Suzy is told by her mom to pick up her room. Her room is such a mess that she’s not even sure where to start. She feels overwhelmed by the mess. What should she do? 

        Man starting at brick wall with question marks on post-it notes. Where to start?

        Have you been there? 

        Have you ever taken a look at your kitchen, the piles of kids’ toys, your to-do list for work, and just stood there? 

        Overwhelmed and unsure of where to even start? 

        I have. 

        The endless lists. The piles that keep appearing, like a game of whack-a-mole. The dishes, laundry, kids’ toys. The emails, slack messages, interruptions. 

        Where do you even start? 

        Do what Suzy and her mom do. (and what I do with my kids when their toys are all over the house). 

        Play the seek and sort game. Pick one task, one list, one subject. And start. 

        Process your emails (not just read them, but respond, delete, file, figure out the next action). 

        Find that one task that’s been lingering on your list and do it. 

        Find all the tasks that will take less than two minutes and see how many you can do in 30 minutes. 

        The point here is to pick one spot, any spot, and tackle it. 

        Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on that task you have been avoiding. 

        And, if you’re really struggling, put all the tasks on separate sheets of paper in a bowl and draw one out. Do it. Repeat. 

        Seek. Sort. Start. 

        Contact me and let’s get you started playing the seek and sort game!

        Or, share your email below for a PDF to help bust you out of procrastination!

          It’s Not That Simple

          I’m standing in my kitchen. I need to empty my coffee maker. I’d like to clean it out too.

          it's not that simple Toys on stair with foot about to step no them.

          But I’m stuck. The compost bin is full and if I attempt to dump coffee grounds in it, the grounds will end up all over the counter.

          I don’t want to take the time to empty the compost bin before I clean out the coffee maker. It’s a few steps, but it feels like too many right now. I have other things I need to get to. 

          So, I do what any sane person would do in this situation, I walk away to deal with it later. 

          While this is a simple (and maybe silly) problem, this feeling of being stuck, of wanting to deal with something but feeling overwhelmed by the steps, is common. 

          It might be wanting to hire a housecleaner or a nanny. Maybe it’s getting your kids to do more around the house. Or you want regular date nights with your partner but don’t have a reliable babysitter.

          Whatever it is, take a few minutes to figure out the steps to get you there. Whether it’s researching babysitters or asking your neighbors for their housecleaner recommendations.

          Whether it’s something where you need to do it yourself or you want to delegate it, getting started is tough.

          But think about what that’s costing you in the long run. If you could hire a nanny or a house cleaner, what kind of time would that get you? 

          Figure out the first step and then take it.

          Join my virtual community, Chaos Contained. We talk about this stuff (and more)!

          And, if you’re based in Denver and that project includes offloading a chore, try https://callemmy.com/

          Or, receive a free PDF to help get you started.

            Let’s Play

            Have you lost your ability to play? 

            ability to play. empty swing on a beach.

            When we become mothers, we’re so focused on raising children, taking care of the house, working, etc. that we forget how to have fun.

            Our society makes us think that leisure time or doing anything for fun, without a purpose, is lazy. That there must always be a purpose to something. And yes, we talk a lot about productivity and priorities here. 

            It’s also important to play. Taking a break, resting and recharging helps our productivity. We might come up with a solution to a work problem while on a hike. Maybe the next great idea for your business comes while walking your dog or spending time with friends. 

            We often collapse on the couch to watch TV because we’re too exhausted to do anything else. But watching TV is not always restorative. We choose it because we’re not sure what else to do with our time. It’s an easy choice. Or we’re folding laundry, paying bills, or doing something else while we watch TV. 

            And we don’t need one more thing to do. It’s easier to keep plugging away at our to-do list. We’ll do something fun when our kids are older or the to-do list is done.

            What if we took the time to play? 

            The National Institute of Play says on their website that play is the gateway to vitality. 

            Studies have shown that kids who have more unstructured free time to play are more social and academically proficient in life. It’s important for kids to have unstructured free time. This is where they learn social skills, their own limits, etc. 

            But play shouldn’t be only for kids. Adults need it too. And it needs to be something we for the fun of it. 

            Escape Adulthood is one of my favorite places to remind me to add a little play to my life. They remind me to stop being so focused on my to-do list and be more present. To find ways to add fun and whimsy to my days. And that it doesn’t need to be a big event for it to be fun.

            Play could be learning a new instrument, taking voice lessons, learning how to sew, volunteering, taking a class on any topic that interests you, hiking. The point is to do it for the fun of it. Not because you need to do it for work or you want to lose ten pounds. 

            I want to add more play to my life. Find new hobbies, learn new skills. And learn to be more present. I’d like to buy a piano soon and start taking lessons again. I’d like to snowshoe and cross-country ski. I also want to check out some dance classes from Put On Your Dance Shoes (POYDS). Or, if you want some virtual yoga or meditation in your life, check out Cindy Glennon Wellness

            What about you? What do you for fun these days? 

            Email me and let me know what you do for fun! Or schedule some time to chat so we can help you find time to play!

            The Ideal Mother

            Last week we talked about maternal gatekeeping. How, as women, we’re conditioned to believe we’re better at parenting and housekeeping than our partners. How we are the ones who need to control everything, to ensure it’s done right (or done at all). And how we need to stop letting society create these ridiculous standards. 

            This conditioning comes from what’s known as the Ideal Mother. This is the idea that a mother know’s best. We’re led to believe this from a young age. 

            Men are conditioned to believe they are the ideal worker and the breadwinner. Jobs are designed around the ideal worker. The person who is always available for their work. They don’t have a life outside of work. It’s expected that there’s someone else (usually a wife), at home making sure the kids are taken care of, the house is cleaned, and dinner is on the table. 

            So what happens when the wife works too? Life gets complicated. Women are expected to work like they don’t have a family to take care of and care for their family like they don’t have a job. 

            But this isn’t possible and it isn’t fair. And it’s time to break this expectation. 

            And it starts with a conversation. 

            Yes, this might feel like one more thing you have to do. And it is. But it’s also the only way we’re going to change things. We need to get our partners on board here. And not in a guilt and shame-filled way. But in a way that leads us to be true partners, sharing childcare and household tasks in a way that’s fair to everyone. (that is different from sharing things 50/50). 

            woman overwhelmed by too many tasks around the house. the ideal mother maternal gatekeeping

            One of the first things to discuss is an acceptable level of cleanliness and which Eve Rodksy, in her book Fair Play, labels Minimum Standard of Care. These are the agreed-upon expectations of everything in a house. Who cleans out the cat litter and when does it happen? What about the trash? What about family activities, like soccer, piano lessons, church choir, etc.? How many activities does each family member take on each season? How often do you have family dinners? 

            When my kids started elementary school, I decided we were only attending birthday parties with my kids’ friends. Not every birthday party. We were not going to sign up for every activity possible. Each person gets one, maybe two activities per semester. 

            Remember, you do not need to spend every day after school driving your kids around to activities. Pick one of their favorites. Carpool. Schedule things so it all happens on one crazy day, where you have take-out for dinner. Or where you can trade off with your partner on who does the driving. Meet a friend for a walk around the park while your kids are at soccer practice. Or spend one-on-one time with one kid while the other(s) are at practice. 

            Don’t feel obligated to say yes to everything.

            There is no need to wear yourself out. It is ok for kids to be kids. To learn how to entertain themselves. Let them figure it out. 

            If you want to talk more about how to incorporate this in your life, how to let go of all of the tasks, schedule some time with me!

            If you want a PDF to get you started down this path, sign up below.

              It’s Just Easier If I Do It Myself

              How often do you find yourself muttering…it’s just easier if I do it? Then spending the rest of the evening resentful that you did something that you feel you shouldn’t always have to do? 

              It's just easier Woman standing in kitchen surrounded by laundry, dishes, and trash.

              What if, instead, there was a conversation about the task and the opportunity for someone else to do it?  Maybe it wouldn’t always be on you. If expectations were set about when and how a task was done (and who was going to complete it), it would happen without you constantly asking. 

              It is possible. 

              Women are conditioned that we’re the more capable parent. So we take over every aspect of raising kids and taking care of our house. 

              This is known as maternal gatekeeping. It impacts relationships with our partners and our kids. It can be unconscious and unintentional. But it’s detrimental. (It can also happen in families where the parents are not together.)

              Our society has told us that if a child isn’t thriving, it’s mom’s fault. If the kids aren’t wearing matching clothes or spending all their waking moments at some enrichment program, that they’re never going to get into a good college and will fail at life. 

              None of this is true. And we need to stop buying into it. 

              My kids have dressed themselves from a young age. They often don’t match. Their clothes are inside out or backward (sometimes both). For me, it’s more important that they got themselves dressed and have agency over their own lives. It doesn’t even matter if they’re wearing weather-appropriate clothes. I just want them dressed.

              And, there are costs to taking on all the emotional and mental labor of a household.

              We’re tired, exhausted, drained, cranky, sleep-deprived. We are not taking care of ourselves so there’s little left to give to others. And we don’t see a way out. 

              We still see dads as clueless, almost like another child we have to take care of. But dads are actually fit to parent. And we need to let them. It might look different than your way, but that’s a good thing. 

              So what can we do about it? 

              First, we can be aware of when we’re doing it. Are you redoing the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it? Do you passive-aggressively complain about how your husband never empties the trash? Are you grumbling about how you always plan the family vacations and never enjoy them because it feels like it’s just as much work as being home? (That last one is me!) 

              Then have a conversation with your partner about it. Without blaming or shaming your partner, talk about how you want things to be fairer around the house. Find a couples counselor who can work with you through this. Schedule time with me to talk about it. Read the book by Eve Rodsky called Fair Play

              Talk about what really matters in your life. What is essential for everyone’s happiness? 

              Want to talk about this more? Schedule some time with me!

              If you want a PDF to help get you started on this, send me your email!

                Overwhelmed By The Options

                As we’re coming out of the pandemic fog and intentionally rebuilding our lives, let’s take a look at our task lists. There might be piles of things that need to be cleaned out or purged. Maybe you have lists of house projects you wanted to do during this past year but never got around to. You might have activities you want to get yourself and your family back into. Are you overwhelmed by the options?

                man looking at stickie notes of question marks on the wall. Overwhelmed by the options.

                Around here, we had delayed doctor’s appointments (dentist, eye doctor, physicals, etc.). We had closets full of things we’d purged but hadn’t donated. There are projects around the house we’ve been delaying. All of these are decisions weighing on our brains that we’re not taking care of. So they rattle around in our heads because our brains wonder why we’re not immediately taking care of them. 

                We’ve been talking about what we want the next few months to look like. Our kids won’t be vaccinated for a while, so not much is going to change for us. We’d like to spend much of the summer camping. There are a few friends we’d like to see. Otherwise, we’re going to continue staying home, hanging out in our backyard. Making homemade ice cream and playing in the sprinkler.

                Last week I asked you to start thinking about the things you want to keep or shift going forward. How’d that go?

                Are you diving back into everything or taking it slow? 

                One of the things I’ve most appreciated about this past year is how it forced families to slow down. To stop running from one activity to another. Families are no longer spending their weekends attending birthday parties and soccer games or other sports. And no longer reaching Sunday night exhausted and not ready to start the next week. 

                I think society has us conditioned to believe that we must say yes to everything that comes our way. Our kids won’t get into a good college if they’re not playing multiple sports in elementary school. That our kids are going to cause trouble if every moment is not scheduled. 

                But what does that do to our family time and our own sanity? When we simply become activity directors and drivers for our kids. Scheduling playdates, music lessons, sports, etc. for every minute of the day? When do our kids simply get to be kids and learn how to entertain themselves? It is possible for your kids to learn how to entertain themselves. It might take some time, but it can be done. 

                As you discuss what you’re going to start doing over the next few months, think about creating family meta-decisions. This is an overarching guideline used to make decisions. It could be that each family member gets 1 activity per semester, including parents. Maybe it’s one sport and one other activity. One could be that each parent has one night each week where they are out of the house. Every Friday is a family movie and pizza night. Whatever works for your family. 

                Create these guidelines and they’ll make your schedule easier to figure out. These guidelines create guardrails against the craziness of diving right back into everything we think we missed. They will help contain the chaos! 

                Read more about meta-decisions here.

                If you want to talk more about how to incorporate meta-decisions in your life, schedule some time with me.

                And, if you want a PDF on how to start thinking about these ideas, sign up below.

                  Coming Out Of The Fog

                  We’ve all been in a fog this past year. There has been so much unknown, fear, and uncertainty. As we move forward to the next chapter, it’s like we’re coming out of the fog. Let’s make sure we come out of this fog with some intention and focus.

                  I’ve heard from many moms how much they’ve enjoyed having family dinners together on a regular basis. Not rushing around from so many activities. Not being so overbooked on the weekends. I’ve enjoyed not rushing around in the mornings getting everyone ready for the day. I like that we all sit down for lunch together.

                  stone steps through green grass. coming out of the fog

                  Yes, moms have been overwhelmed with so much this past year. The unknown. Remote learning. Decision fatigue. Working while your kid is sitting next to you at the dining room table. The piles of laundry and dishes that seem to accumulate when you’re not looking (which, let’s be honest, is not just a pandemic thing). The fact that everyone has to eat what feels like all the time. The worrying about the health of loved ones. The laying awake at 2 am worrying about everything. Again, the unknown.

                  So what’s next?

                  As life around us starts to open up, what are you doing next? Take some time to answer these questions. Ask your family these questions! Use them as a starting point for what’s next.

                  • What is it you want to keep about this past year? (For me, it’s Sunday night card games with my husband).
                  • What from your pre-pandemic life do you not miss? (For me, it’s saying yes to things because I feel I should. I’m going to be much more intentional about how I spend my time).
                  • What do you want your life to look like going forward?

                  Let’s not go back to the crazy, overwhelmed, rushing around we did pre-pandemic. Say yes to what is important to us. Let’s build back better than we were in 2019. Let’s get intentional about our lives.

                  Who’s with me?

                  Keep reading about this topic:

                  One Big Interruption

                  Feeling Uprooted? Start Planting New Seeds

                  If you want some guidance around getting started on these ideas, schedule time with me or sign up below.

                    Tuesday Tune-Up

                    We have reached the end of the first quarter of 2021. That means it’s time for a quarterly check-in. Whether you work for yourself or are employed by a company, this is a great time to take a step back and see how you are doing on everything you wanted out of 2021.

                    Action Changes Things Tune-Up Quarterly check-in

                    Whether you set lofty, detailed goals or are using a word of the year, take some time to check in with yourself. Personally and professionally, how are you doing?

                    Are the things you’ve said yes to, the projects, commitments, activities, in alignment with your values? If not, can you find a way to get out of it? Renegotiate parts of it? Delegate it? Or is it something you simply need to make happen?

                    Take some time this week to identify what is working and what is not working in your life. What routines need to be tweaked? What steps need to be taken towards a goal? What needs to be tuned up in your life?

                    Track your time if you haven’t recently. It helps you know where your time is truly going. Here are some resources to help with that.

                    If you want support around this process or you feel you need to make some changes around your productivity to help you with these goals, set up some time to talk!

                    Mindset Shifts: It’s All In Your Head

                    This month we’re going to look at mindset shifts. Mindset is a big part of productivity. 

                    What? It’s not just getting as much done as possible every day? Finding tweaks to be more efficient? 

                    No, not to me at least. And no matter how efficient you are, there will always be more to do than we have time for. That to-do list will never end. And that is ok. 

                    My goal is to focus on getting the right things done each day. Those tasks that move me forward, both professionally and personally. That I’m not just putting out fires every day. I’m making progress on projects and making time for myself and the things I enjoy doing (even if that means letting the laundry sit for awhile). 

                    In trying to keep up with house cleaning, we clean half the house each week. It feels less overwhelming this way. In an ideal world, we work together as a family. We refer back to a book we read,  The Great Zooberry Debacle. It’s all about how many hands make light work. 

                    Recently, my five-year-old had no interest in helping us clean. I had asked her to pick up some toys that needed to be put away. She threw a fit, I got mad. No toys were cleaned up. 

                    A little while later, I hear her picking up the toys. She said she was cleaning up to make mom happy and help mom clean. 

                    The way she said this bothered me. 

                    We don’t clean the house to make mom happy. Yes, I might be the one leading the troops through it. But we all work together. We all help each other. It’s not just for me. It’s for all of us. We all live in this house. 

                    We say it’s great when a husband or dad helps out with house chores or the kids. But the men live here too. They are parents, not babysitters. My husband is my teammate, not an employee. We may have different levels of cleanliness. One of us may be more particular about how something is done than someone else. But we are a team. 

                    I’m talking about a subtle mindset shift here. That it’s not one person demanding everyone else clean to his or her level of cleanliness, on their timeline. It’s not taking on this level of stress making everything happen ourselves as the women in the household. 

                    It’s working together as a team. It’s communicating with others in the household. 

                    And one way to do this is through family meetings. 

                    Change is a Process, not an event. mindset shifts

                    Family meetings are so helpful in keeping the house functioning and everyone on the same page. What you talk about will change from week to week and season to season. 

                    Start having weekly family meetings. Our meetings are maybe 5 minutes long, that’s all my kids can handle. And right now, all we really talk about is cleaning tasks and what one fun thing we each want to do over the weekend. We also ask the kids about what went well for them this past week and what they’d like to see us do differently next week. 

                    Here are some other things you can talk about during a family meeting. 

                    • Division of household tasks
                    • What’s going well / what’s not working
                    • Upcoming schedules
                    • Discussion of bigger family issues – vacations, new routines, changes to a schedule, etc. 

                    If you want to learn more about family meetings and mindset shifts, join Chaos Contained, my virtual community for overwhelmed women!

                    What would a family meeting help you accomplish? 

                    Stop Wasting Time

                    How much time do you waste on a daily basis? Are you aware of how much you procrastinate or put off a task because you don’t want to do it or are not clear on the next steps? A 2015 time/work survey showed that 70% of people waste time because they feel stressed or uninspired. And 50% spend too much time procrastinating. Does this sound familiar?

                    Stop Wasting Time

                    I’ve noticed my kids fight doing something they don’t want to do. They spend more time arguing with me or coming up with excuses to get out of doing something, like taking a bath or picking up a few toys, than if they’d just do the task. In most cases, watching TV is waiting for them at the other end of this task. And if they’d just do it, they’d have more TV time. They’ll be running around the house. I’ll ask them to pick up a few toys. Suddenly they’re laying on the floor, too tired to help!

                    Think of the emotional and mental drain of this!

                    Stop Wasting Time!

                    So how do you work through this? Here are a few ideas.

                    • Identify the next steps. Break any overwhelming projects down into small steps. Then you take the next step, then the next, until you complete the project
                    • Set mini-deadlines. Take the small steps you identified and set deadlines for each one. Hold yourself to those deadlines. Make yourself accountable to someone else or set up payment to a non-profit you can’t stand. If you don’t make the deadline, your payment goes!
                    • Set a timer. Work for 30 minutes or any predetermined amount of time. When the timer goes off, you can stop for the day. Or, you can keep working. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

                    Are You Avoiding Something? Figure Out Why.

                    Maybe you’re avoiding a project or task for a specific reason. It’s boring and tedious. Sometimes, you have to power through something to get to the good stuff on the other side. Maybe it’s challenging (break it down into doable steps). Maybe it’s something you don’t like doing for your own business but you’re not at the level yet where you can outsource it.

                    Spend some time figuring out why you’re avoiding something and you can likely figure out a solution. Also, think about what you could be doing with your time if you’d complete those tasks. Your future self will thank you!

                    For support with your relationship with time, schedule some time with me or send me a message!

                    Feeling Uprooted? Start Planting New Seeds.

                    Feeling uprooted? Plant new seeds.

                    Are you feeling uprooted? Like this pandemic has turned everything in your life upside down? Me too. I’ve lost track of how many weeks we’ve been home. And although our city and state have lessened restrictions, we’re still staying home as much as we can.

                    I can sense that people are aching to get back to normal. But I don’t think things are ever going back to the way they were before this pandemic hit. And I’m ok with that. Why? Because now is the time to rethink everything. It’s a blank slate. A time to start fresh.

                    A time to plant new seeds.

                    Where do we start?

                    We have some work to do first. We need to grieve the life that once was. So many people have lost loved ones, jobs, livelihoods, innocence, a sense of security. Maybe you’ll come out of this mostly unscathed, but I bet it’s touched you somewhere in your life. Spend some time grieving.

                    I’m grieving my youngest having her preschool graduation without her friends. Surrounded by her teachers, her sister, and her parents, it was only her, wearing her cap and gown. During a timed ceremony so we wouldn’t interact with too many others. I can only imagine how parents and kids who didn’t get their high school or college graduation ceremony feel. These rituals bring such closure.

                    I’m grieving the last few months of spending every Tuesday with my daughter before she heads off to kindergarten. I’ve spent every Tuesday of the last 7 years with one or both of my girls. Although I was tired of figuring out how to entertain a small child every week, Mommy and Ellie days were special.

                    What do you need to grieve? Spend some time sitting with it and working through it. Mourn the memories that never were.

                    Once we’ve grieved, we can begin planting new seeds.

                    Next comes the part I’m most excited about. There is such an opportunity here. It’s time for a shift in thinking. Instead of longing to go back to the way things were, let’s reinvent. Let’s look at our schedules and priorities and figure out what really matters. How do we want to be spending our time?

                    I want to see our society have some big, deep discussions about so many things. Work, education, the division of housework and parenting. Generally, the way our society functions.

                    I’m not looking to have a big political discussion here. But we need to start with learning how to have deeper discussions. Instead of constantly complaining about how things aren’t working or dismissing someone who thinks differently, we need to listen and work to understand each other. Maybe once people start feeling heard, we can come together to fix things. People won’t dig in their heels and refuse to hear someone else because they won’t feel attacked. One place I’ve started is by reading Crucial Conversations and taking this quick mini-course.

                    Let’s start with work.

                    I do understand that not every job is flexible. You have to show up for a shift at the grocery store, hospital, just about every job in the service industry. Maybe there are ways to put more flexibility into these jobs. I’m talking about knowledge workers here. There are plenty of jobs focused solely on how much time you spend at your desk in the office. It doesn’t matter how much you do while you’re there. But you better be in your seat.

                    My husband was let go from a job many years ago because he wasn’t in the office by 8:30am every day. He was working close to 70 hours a week, but some of that was at home. He had young kids and wanted to be around to see them. This company couldn’t see that the amount of work or the quality of work is what mattered. It didn’t take the time to notice anything but when he was at his desk.

                    The shift in thinking here comes from defining success for these positions. Then, setting expectations and a deadline, and letting employees make it happen. I bet there will be a lot more creativity that comes from that freedom. Plant some new seeds.

                    Also, take a look at how many meetings are necessary and how people are communicating. I’m guessing some things can change there too. Does every meeting end with defined next steps? Or are they just a waste of time? Watch this quick 1-minute video about one thing you can do for more productive meetings.

                    The workload for women.

                    And what about the workload, both at work and at home, for women? Why is it that women are asked how they balance working and parenting but we never ask the dads? Why is it women are expected to do it all but we don’t expect it from the dads? Don’t tell me it’s because women are better at multitasking (I’ll get into that some other time). Think about what we’re teaching our kids – that it’s ok for the men not to help and the women need to do it all because no one else is capable.

                    There needs to be a shift in thinking here. A shift that we’re all in this together. That we all succeed or fail together. We need to stop with this thinking that we need to do it all by ourselves. Plant some new seeds.

                    Let’s rethink how we spend our time.

                    Have you created new routines during this pandemic? Maybe you’re walking the dog every morning or taking family walks before dinner. My husband and I are taking one night a week to play cards after the kids are in bed. I’ve wanted to cancel my gym membership and have more flexibility in when I work out but never made it happen. I’m exercising more now that I’ve made space for it in my living room.

                    Are you finding yourself enjoying more leisurely family dinners? Taking the time to watch your kids play in the backyard? Is it nice to not be rushing from one activity to another? Or maybe you’ve been so overwhelmed by work and remote learning and having the kids home that you’re exhausted.

                    I hope there’s been more quality family time. I hope that as activities begin to resume that you don’t go rushing out signing up for everything. I hope you find some peace in not rushing from one place to the next. In having family dinners (or breakfasts!) on a regular basis. Before you start filling up your schedule, figure out how you truly want to be spending your time. Commit your time carefully. Plant these new seeds meaningfully.

                    What about our stuff?

                    You’ve likely spent the last few months surrounded by your stuff. Is it driving you crazy? Are you finding it useful? Have you spent time sorting through and organizing it? We’ve rearranged toys to make them easier for our kids to use. We have a table just for arts and crafts now. We have a charging station for tablets and computers. We have learned more about how we use our space. That we really don’t need a big house and that when every toy is on the floor, it feels like a lot.

                    When we have less stuff, it’s easier to maintain an organized home. And it’s easier to use things because it’s not so overwhelming and we can find what we’re looking for. If our house is too cluttered, we can’t find what we need.

                    So take a look around your space, figure out what you love and need, and let the rest go. How do you want to feel when you are in your space? Comfortable? Content? Happy? Work towards getting your space to create that. Plant some new seeds with your space.

                    And related to our stuff, what about our spending?

                    Since you’ve been home, have you saved money because you’re not wandering through stores buying things you don’t need? Or are you just overbuying on Amazon? I’ve loved not spending money buying things we don’t need. It’s been nice to think about repurposing something we have in our house to fulfill a need. Or knowing that we don’t need more stuff in our lives. Plant some new seeds around spending. It relates to clutter as well. Retail therapy leads to short term relief. The stuff you buy takes up space in your house. It needs to be maintained or it just creates clutter. Take some time to figure out what’s behind that and find new ways to fill your cup. Plant some new seeds.

                    Time to plant some new seeds.

                    We need a shift in thinking. Let’s do things differently. Let’s move forward into something better. Let’s plant some new seeds.

                    If you’re ready to plant some new seeds in your life, let’s talk! And, if you’re an overwhelmed working mom, ready to take back control of your time, join Chaos Contained, an online community providing support in productivity.

                    Stop Surviving. Start Thriving.

                    When my kids were younger, I remember a friend asking me how I was doing. My usual answer was hanging in there. Suddenly, I was tired of that being my answer. When does just surviving stop? When do I start thriving? My kids aren’t going to get easier. I think they get more fun as they get older, but there will always be something we’re working on (arguing about?!). So enough with this hanging in there

                    Don't be busy, be productive. Start thriving.

                    Part of this hanging in there was how busy I felt. I don’t think busy is always a good thing, yet we cram every minute of our days with activities. We need to be crossing items off our to-do list. We have so much work to do that we don’t know where to start (or when to stop). Our kids are signed up for every activity under the sun because we feel they need to be enriched and entertained all the time (pre-pandemic). 

                    Stop Overcommitting

                    I get it. I’ve looked at my schedule and wondered how I committed to so many things. What happened? When did I get so busy? I’ve looked at how much I crossed off my to-do list and wondered if those were really the tasks I should’ve focused on today. Or did I just do what was the easiest to cross off? Let’s call me a recovering over-committer

                    I’m on a mission to help end the mom guilt. To help moms shift from putting out fires every day to feeling more proactive and in charge of their time and to-dos. Because I’ve been there! So let’s stop with the guilt. Let’s focus on our big rocks. On the choices we make with our time, where it goes, and how we spend it. Let’s start thriving. And let’s see the amazing things we do accomplish every day. Let’s tame the chaos. 

                    Join Chaos Contained today! A virtual community for overwhelmed working moms to help you tame the chaos. Your future self will thank you! 

                    Change Anything: Structural Motivation and Structural Ability

                    How to Change Anything

                    This week we are wrapping up my series looking at the six sources of influence found in one of my favorite books, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.

                    change anything

                    The last two sources to cover are structural motivation and structural ability. Structural motivation looks at bribing ourselves to change. Instead of believing you can simply make the change on your own, try something to entice you toward change. Structural ability looks at making changes in your structure or space to make your goals easier to reach.

                    Structural Motivation

                    Let’s start with structural motivation, which the authors describe as ‘inverting the economy’. Change your incentives to help you toward your goals. Here are a few tactics to use.

                    Use carrots and the threat of losing carrots.

                    • Find an incentive for making the changes.
                      • Take 30 minutes to read your favorite book when you turn down a commitment.
                    • Give money to a charity you hate if you don’t meet set goals.
                      • Maybe you give to a charity you don’t like if you say yes to a commitment you really wish you had turned down.

                    Use incentives in moderation and in combination.

                    • Use small rewards, not big ones.
                      • Taking yourself out for coffee each week you successfully deal with incoming mail and paperwork.

                    Use rewards in combination with social and personal motivators.

                    • If you’re trying to keep your kitchen table uncluttered, maybe a family dinner or hosting book club is your reward.

                    Reward small wins.

                    • Break your goals into smaller steps and reward those steps as you meet them.
                      • Spend 15 minutes a day dealing with paperwork, instead of a Saturday afternoon.
                    Structural Ability

                    The final source of influence is structural ability. This source looks at controlling your space. It’s tactics include:

                    Build fences

                    • If you are saving money, don’t go into stores where you know you will spend money, unless you stick to a predetermined list and budget.
                    • Don’t sign up for any magazines or mail subscriptions.

                    Manage distance

                    • Create a distance between yourself and temptation.
                      • Delete Internet bookmarks to make online shopping more difficult.
                      • Deal with your mail somewhere other than your kitchen table.

                    Change cues

                    • Create cues in your environment to remind you of the changes you are making.
                      • Use your phone or photos on your fridge or car dashboard to place notes or checklists.

                    Engage your autopilot

                    • Find a way to put something on autopilot or into a default mode so you don’t have to think about it.
                      • Schedule regular appointments to deal with paperwork or to spend time with family members.

                    Use tools

                    • Regularly post your progress on Facebook.
                    • Commit to nightly family dinner or breakfast.
                    • Ensure your electronic devices are working for you in your change.

                    We have now covered all 6 sources of influence. Remember that you need to use all 6 sources, not just a couple, if you want to make real progress towards change.

                    I hope you have found something useful in these posts and are able to use this information as you tackle some changes in your life! If you’d like to talk more about how to apply these in your life, schedule a call with me. Or send me a message.

                    Why You Should Hire a Professional Organizer!

                    Many New Year’s resolutions include new diets, saving money, getting in shape, or getting organized. If getting organized is on your list, you may be wondering how that’s going to happen or if you should hire a professional organizer. Here are a few reasons why you should hire one to help you get started on (or even complete) your goal to get organized this year.

                    Things To Do list with a pen on a desk.Business concept.

                    Being organized saves you money, stress, and time.

                    Many people spend at least 10 minutes a day looking for lost items. 1 in 4 people spend up to 2 hours a week looking for a misplaced item. What could you do with that time back in your life? Think of how relaxed and motivated you would be if you could easily find what you need and have time in your life to focus on your priorities.

                    Sometimes you just need a little outside perspective.

                    There are many ways to organize a space and sometimes you need an objective person to help. A professional organizer helps you look at your stuff and your time in a different light. We help you create routines to keep your stuff organized, pay your bills, manage your meals / kitchen, or deal with the endless kid toys and clothes that seem to appear in your house.

                    Your organizing solution will be tailored to your needs and desires.

                    Getting organized is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We help you organize based on who you are, what space you have, and what you want that space to look like. So the next time you need to find that important piece of paper, you’ll know exactly where it is.

                    We won’t make you get rid of your stuff.

                    It’s your stuff. It’s not my decision to keep or get rid of anything. We’ll discuss your vision for a space or routine and look at whether something needs to go. Your house should reflect you and the life you want to live. Routines and systems are just as, if not more important, than simply getting rid of stuff.

                    If getting organized is something you’ve been thinking about doing, find a professional organizer near you and schedule a call! We can help overhaul your entire house, organize a closet, or simply give you some guidance on a project. It might be just what you need.

                    Why Are We So Busy?

                    I’ve been hearing many people talk lately about how busy they are. I’m not sure they’re complaining or enjoying how overwhelmed they feel but it’s said with a tone of ‘I’m overwhelmed and there’s really nothing I can do about it.’

                    busy, overwhelmed

                    In our society, it seems like we’re doing something wrong if we’re not busy. If you don’t have every minute full of fun, adventure, play dates, activities, you feel like you’re missing out. But can you sustain that? And is it true? What’s wrong with simply sitting still and watching nature, watching your kids entertain themselves, or letting your mind wander?

                    Read this blog I wrote several years ago, as I think it still speaks true to this day. You do have more time than you think, but you don’t have to cram that time with every activity possible. It is ok to say no.

                    And your action for today is to say no to something, cross something off your to-do list that you know you’re not going to get to (or don’t want to do), or simply sit and watch your kids play (or your pets) or watch the sun set. Just sit for a few minutes.

                    Then call me and let’s chat about where your time is going! Or schedule an appointment.

                    You Do Have More Time Than You Think!

                    Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 3 – Gifts)

                    preparing for the holidaysWe are preparing for the holidays so you can enjoy them! This week we are going to look at gifts. Start shopping soon so you’re not left scrambling for something at the last minute.

                    • Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and any ideas you have for each person.
                    • Make a plan of when you are going to shop for the gifts. Are there items that need to be mailed ahead of time? (If yes, get started on those first). 
                    • Check your gift wrapping supplies. Do you have enough wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, tape, bows?
                    • Can you challenge your loved ones to buying experiences instead of things? Memberships to the art museum, trips to a water park, time spent together?
                    • Create lists for you and your family of things you want / need. When people ask for gift ideas, it’ll be easy to share.
                    • Stock up on host/hostess gifts for any parties you might attend. These could be bottles of wine, homemade cookies or a package of cocktail napkins. 

                    It’s even better if you can shop throughout the year. At the beginning of the year make a list of gifts you know you will need. Think of people when you’re traveling or spot something on sale. Then have a specific place (a labeled box) somewhere in your house to store these items. And make sure you label them so you remember who they’re for!

                    Action item: Start a list of people you need to buy gifts for and schedule a day (or 2) to do some gift shopping.

                    Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!