Blog Archives

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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Here’s to Achieving Our Goals

“A project is complete when it starts working for you, rather than you working for it.” — Scott Allen

After starting several posts this month and not finalizing one, I thought perhaps I should focus on completing projects.  I like to start each of my post with a quote and while I was on the search for the perfect quote, I found this article and thought that it summed everything up so nicely.

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/why-youre-not-reaching-your-goals-and-what-to-do-about-it/

An idea is nothing if you do nothing with it.  So hears to achieving all our great ideas.  Good luck!

 

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!

Quick Tip: Meal Planning

It pays to plan ahead, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. — Unknown

This is my absolute favorite organization tip!!!  It is super easy, only takes about 10 minutes tops and saves money, time and headaches.  What’s not to like about that?

Once a week or every other week, take a minute and plan a dinner menu (and if you want breakfast and lunch).  I prefer doing two weeks at a time, and have even done a full month.  I just find that I stick to the plan better when I do it every other week.  I print my google calendar for the month, then I can see what activities I have going, this helps me plan which days to eat out.  Then I just write on that calendar what’s for dinner, but even just throwing it down on a scrap paper works.

The perks of meal planning . . .

  • I better use my produce because I have a plan, saving us lots of money!
  • It is a great way to push yourself to try new recipes!
  • You’re not constantly eating the same thing, this makes my hubby very happy:)
  • My kids complain less, because they have plenty of forewarning of what is coming:)
  • It makes it super easy to check if I have the needed ingredients for the recipes I’m using, so I also do my grocery list at the same times, which also saves us money, not buying un-needed items!
  • I can easily pull any frozen meat out the night before to defrost.  I usually pull it out after we finish doing dishes the night before.
  • It saves me from the daunting question of “What’s for dinner?”

Believe me, once you try it, you’re going to love it!

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:)

Weeding Time

Don’t water your weeds. –Proverbs

As I was weeding this past week, it got me thinking about what things in my life need to be weeded out.  These weeds can be a little more difficult to recognize and can vary from clutter to obligations to bad habits.  But once we spot them and remove them from our garden, it really can help our lives flourish.

Too many of us have burdened ourselves down with over-excessive dreams and wants.  We can gain much by letting go.  It is time for some simplification and new-found FREEDOM!

Evaluate your life over the next few days.  Where do you spend your time, and is your time spent where you really want it?  What items around your house haven’t been touched or used for years, and do your really plan to utilize them in the future?  Do you feel that your life is benefitting from holding onto to these things?

Find at least two things that you really think are holding you back from where you want to go in life.  Maybe it’s the back room of your house that you have been avoiding to clean and have been feeling guilty about all the while, or perhaps an obligation that you used to profit from, that now is a liability.

Once you find two things that you are ready to rid yourself from, make a plan and liberate yourself (and perhaps your family too)!  Give yourself adequate time to conquer these weeds.  Once you have your simple plan, put some safety nets into place to ensure you follow through.  I always like to make myself accountable for my goal, either by putting it on my calendar or asking a friend to check up on my progress.  Once these weeds have been removed, enjoy the freedom you have gained!

In simplicity there is freedom, freedom to do less and enjoy more. –Katrina Kenison

Nagging Mom Solution

Children aren’t happy without something to ignore. And that’s what parents were created for. — Ogden Nash, The Parents

This post if for you parents out there.  Not too long ago, I was struggling because I had become Nagging Mom.  Something I had promised myself while young that I would never become.  But no matter what I tried, it seemed like anytime I wanted my kids to do something around the house, I had to become Nagging Mom.

Then I stumbled upon a simple solution that has helped cure my Nagging Mom problems.  The solution has had other added benefits for both child and parent alike.

I purchased a couple of small dry-ease boards, one for each child, positioned them in a central location in our home and when there are things to be done, I simply write down a list (my kids like to have check boxes to mark off).  Sometimes I make the list once a day, sometimes more.  For my beginning reader child, I draw pictures next to the words to help him determine what is on the list.  We usually go over their list during breakfast or after they get home from school and I give them a time frame that I want the chores done by.  Free-time always comes after they have completed all the chores.

Since I have started the chore list, I have found that my kids are a lot happier to help around the house.  Here are some of the other benefits I have found from using the chores list;

FOR THE KIDS

  • It makes them feel important and needed
  • Gives them clear expectations, no more “I didn’t know I had to do that”
  • It boost their self esteem, they really enjoy crossing off the chores and are always proud when their list is complete
  • Helped them become more organized
  • It has helped my beginning reader with his reading skills

FOR THE PARENT

  • Helps to cure Nagging Mom/Dad
  • The house seems to stay cleaner

FOR BOTH

  • We generally have more family time because the children stay focused while doing their chores and they don’t need constant reminders, saving us both time!

It can be done a variety of ways, but I like the flexibility I get with using the dry-ease board.  If I want my kids need to do their usual chores, I put that on the list.  If I want my kids pick up something they dropped on the floor, I put that on the list.  The possibilities are endless with this solution and it is easy to keep up on, but I know that we all have to find something that works for us.

Since I have found this solution, I wanted to spread the message to everyone I knew because I had brought so much peace of mind to our home.

If you have found any solution to helping you stay more organized, please share!

Organization Basics

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”–A.A. Milne

Most people cringe at the thought of getting organized.  It can be a daunting task, but the reward is priceless and let’s face it, it just makes life so much easier in the long run.  If we could just get over the prejudice we have against organizing, we could come to realize that it is something that can greatly improve our lives.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle we have when we are trying to get organized is knowing where to start.  And with our over-committed schedule, we leave ourselves little time to think, much less, get ourselves pulled together enough to get organized.  To overcome this downward spiral, let’s take a look at the basics and take this bit by bit.

There are three basic parts of organizing;

  • Simplify
  • Plan
  • Prioritize

SIMPLIFY:

“Less is more!” –Unknown

There is simple truth to this simple saying.  Let’s learn the lesson from our forbearer’s and apply this wisdom into our lives.  We all want more out of life, and if doing less is what gets us there, then by golly, let’s do less!!

So many of us have such high expectations of ourselves and even our family members, especially all you parents out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very important to have hopes and goals for both ourselves individually and for our loved ones.  We just need to take a step back sometimes and realize what cost we pay for our excessive dreams.  If we are always stressed and unhappy, then something just isn’t right and we need to address it ASAP.

To simplify our lives means we need to take a moment and re-evaluate what we are doing and find ways to make it less complicated.  This can go in so many different directions, from clutter to time management.  When we simplify, and find ways to cut corners and perhaps lower our expectations by just a small degree, then we will find more time to enjoy life.  Isn’t that what we all want?

PLAN:

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”–Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s time to stop wasting our time wishing and start planning.  Plans come in so many different shapes and sizes, but they generally have one result, peace of mind.  When you take the extra time to pre-think what you are about to do, your chances for success increase dramatically.  There have been studies that indicate the fact that simply writing your goals down significantly increase your chances of accomplishing your goals. (http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-backs-up-strategies-for-achieving-goals.html).

Since a good chunk of society has a never-ending “to do” list and ever-increasing expectations of ourselves, perhaps if we could take this simple advice of writing it down and creating a simple plan, we might decrease our stress level and increase our chances for success in achieving our goals.

PRIORITIZE:

“Organize your life around your dreams – and watch them come true.” –Unknown

It is amazing how many of us spend a good chunk of our precious time doing things that really don’t matter.  When you get a chance, take a minute and evaluate how much of your day is spent wasted to TV, the internet or other time-wasting devices.  I know that these things can be useful and help us relax at times, but are we really using them to the best of our advantage.  I’m sure if you were to sit down and write out your life goals, watching a lot of television would not be on your list.  So then my question is this; why do we spend so much time doing things that really don’t matter to us?

Take a moment and write down what is important to you.  After you get a list, put them in order from most important to least important.  Does your list coincide with the amount of time you spend involved supporting these priorities?  If not, what can you do you spend more time
enjoying those things that are important to you?

Prioritizing our lives will help us find more happiness, because we will be spending most of our time doing the things that are important to us.  And who doesn’t want to be happy?

When we take the time to put a little effort into our lives, it is amazing how much smoother things seems to go.  I challenge you to try it.

“It is my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”  –Henry Ford

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