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Quick Tip: Making Better Decisions

Hindsight is 20/20. –Unknown

Looking back on things, you can almost always see perfectly where you went wrong and how you should have approached the situation.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could see things more clearly before hand?  That we could get the knowledge we gain from the experience prior to finalizing our decisions?

There are a few ways we can have better foresight and make better decisions.

  • Think First, Act Later:  This is advice my daughter gets every week at her violin lesson.  So simple, yet it yields great results, and can be used in all aspects of our lives.  From thinking before you speak, thinking before you commit to taking on something new, thinking before you walk out the door, and so on.  If we take the time to think before we do, our lives will run so much smoother.  Sometimes we have so much on our minds and our lives are carrying us in a million different directions that we think that we just don’t have time to think.  But consider this; how much time is wasted due to your lack of thinking before you act?  This can be done as just taking a brief moment to think things over, or it can be done through meditation and prayer.  I know that when we take a moment to think before we act, it will benefit us in countless ways.
  • Trust Your Intuition:  How many times have you kicked yourself for not listening to your inner self?  Once we start to take the time to think, you can better connect with you intuition.  We have been given this great gift as a tool to use in our decision-making process.  Take advantage of it, I’m sure you won’t regret it!
  • Ask for Advice:  We are not in this alone.  There are so many that surround us that have the answers we are looking for.  Learn lessons from those who have already been where you are.  You can ask people you know and trust, or even search for advice in books, magazines and on the internet.  Just don’t forgot that every situation is a little different and so you need to be sure to use the prior two points as well.  Don’t totally depend on others advice unless you know it is right for you.

These devices are best used in our decision-making process, but don’t be afraid to use them even when you have already made decisions that don’t seem to be working to your favor.  All of our decisions are investments into our lives.  You wouldn’t keep throwing money at something that was obviously failing, right?  Likewise we shouldn’t waste time on something that isn’t benefiting you and your family.

When we use these three tools, this mayhem that we call life will be easier to manage and result in happier people.

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Quick Tip: Paperwork Solutions

What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork. — Pearl Bailey

I am a bookkeeper by profession, and I am often asked what is the best way to handle filing paperwork.  Really, it depends on how your mind works and how you can easily retrieve the information you are looking for.

I have three different methods that I recommend.

  • File by Date of the Record:  This is the method that I generally use for financial records, just because when you are dealing with financial information, it is nice to keep paperwork together by tax year, so you can easily archive and then depose of paperwork when needed.  I make separate folders for bills, deposits, bank statements, insurance/medical records, tax agency records and so on. For those files that get overwhelmed with paperwork, I sub-divide either by month or quarter.  I find it easy to access these records by looking at the date of the transaction in my check register.
  • File by Type of Record:  This is the method I like to use for any non-financial record, but it can also be used for financial paperwork.  Personally, I just find it harder to archive financial records with this method, but again, it all depends on how your mind works.  I prefer to use this for records I will possibly keep indefinitely.  For example, paperwork of important medical records, school records, car repair records and so on.  When using this method for financial records I recommend keeping like-bills together, ie your utility bills, phone bills, etc.
  • File by Project Related to Record:  This is a method sometimes used in filing financial records when you deal with clients that you are doing a short-term project for.  I don’t generally recommend this type of filing system for large companies because it can become really complicated, but I find sometimes that small business owners prefer this type of filing because frankly, it is just how their mind works.  For non-financial records, you could use this filing type for construction projects at home.

Which ever method you prefer, just remember the most important part is keeping up so you don’t get buried underneath your paperwork.  That is one of the things that stress me out most.  I hate to see a pile of paper staring at me, begging to be taken care of.

A couple other tips to keep in mind when dealing with paperwork;

  • If you wonder if you really need to keep the paper, you most likely don’t.  Don’t be afraid to let go, especially now that you can access most records online.  Sometimes it is really liberating to let go!
  • When filing financial paperwork, I have found that keeping the most current papers in the front of the file makes more sense than in the back.  You generally look for your most current bills/papers, so it is so much easier to just have them up front.  But if you can’t get your mind to switch, just remember, you have to do what works best for you!

Attitude Makes All The Difference

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life. — Joel Osteen

I think we all need reminders once in a while that happiness is a choice.  We all have problems, no way around it.  It is our response to life’s situations that makes all the difference.

Some days, when I do the same thing for the umpteenth time, I wonder why I even bother, it will just need to be done again later.  Or when I am faced with the same problem again and again, I wonder if I can ever get past it.  Life can be overwhelming.  Very overwhelming at times.  But life can be great too!  It is the hard times that helps us to better appreciate the good times, and so both are needed.

I have often thought about my mom, raising seven children (eight when you count my dad).  She has definitely done her fair share mundane house chores.  I asked her once why I have never heard her complain about housework and she told me it’s because she has found that when you focus on what you appreciate in life, it makes life much sweeter.

So today, I am remembering the sweet things in my life.  I am grateful to have a wonderful family that I absolutely love to serve.  And even if I have to clean the toilet a million more times for them, I am grateful to have good health that gives me the ability to do so.  I am grateful to have freedom to choose if I want to clean that toilet today or not. And lastly, I am grateful to live in such a beautiful world, so when I am done cleaning toilets, I can go enjoy the beauty that surrounds me!

When I get into pessimistic slumps, I often remember Dr. Glenn Latham’s advice, “Today is not forever!”  When we are in the midst of problems, we have a hard time seeing beyond the issue at hand.  Forgetting that we will soon be past this brief moment in our life.  This thought can change my attitude in an instant.  Even when my child is throwing a tantrum, it helps me to remember that this tantrum doesn’t define me or my child.  Someday he/she will go on to do great things in life and that tantrum will be long forgotten.

Though life will surely throw some curve balls my way, I choose and will continue to choose to be happy.

Quick Tip: Closet Control

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist. –Tammy Faye Bakker

Most of us women have a weakness for clothing.  Shopping can be therapeutic, but if we aren’t careful all that therapy can create more stress with an overwhelmed closet, giving us more reason perhaps for some alternative therapy.

There are a few ways to avoid this closet dilemma;

  • A couple times a year (perhaps at the beginning of summer and winter)  go through your closet and get rid of anything that you haven’t worn over the past year, either because it is outdated, doesn’t fit well or has been worn out.  If you haven’t worn it for a year, you  probably will never wear it again and might as well let someone else benefit from it.
  • If you already have pretty good control of your closet and prefer to do small purges; for every new item you add to your wardrobe, get rid of a similar item that you no longer use.
  • For the fashion diva’s that just absolutely need all your clothes; keep your out of season clothing put away in storage, and change it out as the weather changes.

When you keep a grip on your wardrobe, you’ll find that your clothing is better utilized.  And we all know that when we look good, we feel good, helping us save a little dough in therapy costs:)

Mental Mind Blocks

All of us have felt overwhelmed at some point or another.  Some people seem to be better at it than others.  Not really a trait one would hope to have as a talent.  Fear and worry are unhealthy and unproductive emotions.  Mastering these reactions can help us to become more successful in all aspects of our lives.

Take a minute and ponder on these questions;

  • What make you feel overwhelmed?
  • How has this emotion helped to solve the problem?
  • What do you do that feeds into this unproductive burden?

Coming to the realization that stressing about something does nothing but create ulcers can help us gain control of these unnecessary feelings.  Do you often feel overwhelmed by chores, phone calls or other work?  Do you find yourself waking up at 2 AM to stress about them?  Is it working to your advantage?  Probably not.

Realizing it is half the battle.  How do you gain control?  It probably won’t happen overnight, but as you change you mindset and convenience yourself to stop fretting, you can slowly master your anxiety.  The solution will all depend on  timing and each individual’s personality.  We will explore these in later blogs.

When we come to a realization that “today is not forever,” we can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying.  We will always have work to do and problems to solve, how we approach it makes all the difference.

Let’s gain better control of these emotions, it will ultimately make us happier people!

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