Thursday, July 19, 2012

30 Simple Tips for Busy People (One Tip to Adopt per Day)

One of my close girl-friends appears to be the most self-contained, organized, together person I know - that is outside my sweet DH.  Then again, is she really?  Last week she asked me how I always seem to keep it all together!  Go figure!  I was like, "WHAT!!!"

Believe me, and DH can tell you how scattered I can be and how he wonders that things get done.  I guess we all have our own method of doing things.  I'm the queen of lists and little pieces of paper.  EVERYWHERE!

I'm really good as long as I keep a running list of my 6 most important things to do each day.  As long as they get done, I'm okay with everything else.

In fact, the days that I tend to stay in motion are the days that I'm super organized.  What I mean by that, is that I like to write on days that I'm feeling creative.  Days that I'm not feeling creative are spent doing research, organizing, making lists, writing emails, etc. as long as I'm moving forward.

I also find that it's much easier for me to stay focused if I work in 60 minute increments; for a full 60 minutes I concentrate on one thing and then the next 60 minutes is something completely different.  As soon as the bell goes off, whether I'm finished or not, I go on to the next thing.  I'm allowed to come back to the project for another 60 minutes later.

Here are 30 Simple Tips To Get You Started:

  1. Plan menus (or sign up to receive Substance of Living's Weekly Menus).
  2. Keep a running list of items needed in between shopping trips, then shop.
  3. Keep lots of good-quality ingredients on hand for quick and easy meals such as pastas, canned beans and tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and cheeses.
  4. Consolidate your food preparation.
    • Make two separate casseroles using similar items.
    •  Make a double-batch of a one-pot dish (lasagna, chili, enchiladas).  Serve one now and freeze one for another night.
  5. Make plain rice, pasta, or beans and use them throughout the week.
  6. Get everyone involved.  Have them choose a meal for the next week.  It might be as simple as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with soup, spaghetti, french toast or grilled pizza.  They might be more inclined to help with the dishes or cleaning around the house.  :)
  7. Decide what is important and "Just say No" to the rest.  A lot easier said than to actually say but have faith and keep trying. 
  8. Simplify.  Remove one task from your list a day or at the very least a week.  Do the dust bunnies under the furniture need to be swept every day?
  9. Get a Daily Planner to keep everyone's schedule in one place.  Use a different color for each family member.
  10. Color code your monthly planner:  Blue for spiritual time, Yellow for family, Green for work, etc.
  11. Corral the chaos in your entryway or mudroom by having bins, buckets, hooks, shelves for each member of the family.
  12. Clean for 10 minutes each day.
  13. Keep the floor clear of clutter.  The house already looks cleaner!
  14. Multitask. 
    • Clean out a kitchen drawer while waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning.
    • Set out tomorrow's clothes while waiting for the bath water in the evenings.
    •  Organize refrigerator before grocery shopping.
    •  Purge your wardrobe when putting away the laundry.
  15. Keep a donation basket and drop it off each month.
  16. Schedule time in your day to read emails, make or return phone calls or get on the computer.
  17. Take your trash with you every time you get out of the car.
  18. Keep a cleaning basket in each room for quick clean ups.
  19. Make a list of the 6 most important items that need to get done during the day.
  20. Schedule a "Date Night" for you and your sweetie.
  21. Have each family member keep a personal calendar to write down future events.
    • With the advent of smart phones and the ability to have a calendar attached to your email, everyone can link or invite another member of the family so everything gets logged.
    • Have one email set up for the entire family.  Leave notes or reminders.  Use this email for doctors, dentists, coaches to use.
  22. Schedule and pay your bills online through your bank.
  23. BREATHE.
  24. If you work from home or are a stay-at-home mom or caretaker, remember to take care of yourself.  Take time out each day to take a shower and get dressed - even if you're not planning to step outside.  I know this sounds like a no-brainer but it is vital to your self-esteem.
  25. Designate a file folder, bin or box for each family member.  Important papers that need to be signed, bills, notes, etc. go in each specific slot.  Go through the bins at night and then again in the morning before leaving the house.
  26. Create a family bulletin board.
  27. Write letters, cards, sort mail while waiting at the doctor's office or during your child's practice.
  28. Send text messages (NOT while driving) to stay in touch, send reminders, say a quick hello, and to schedule a convenient time to talk or get together.
  29. When leaving voice messages, leave detailed messages so the other person can do the necessary research before returning your call.
  30. Automate.  Automate.  Automate.  Use technology to your advantage.
Instead of trying to incorporate all of these suggestions at once, try adopting one simple tip each day.  Then modify the tip to fit within your life.

How do you stay organized?  What are some of your secrets?  Do you have an area in your house dedicated for each person to drop their things?  Please share with us!

Here's to hoping you have an organized day!

P.S.,  Please link your organizational charts, secrets, posts, lists, or DIY projects here and be sure to grab a Substance of Living Button over on the right side of the screen to place on your post.  Thank you!

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