disorder2order blog

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Survival List of All Lists of Things to Do!

So, my friend Mary and I were talking earlier this month about "how we were
free digital photos: stuart miles
going to survive the summer..,"
I know a few of you moms (and dads) out there were and are feeling the same way. It's not that we don't love our children - it's that we want to just make it through the next 100 days! If you know what this intersection is like you would agree! Here is the problem:

  • The kids have reached the point that aren't old enough to get a summer job, and camps only go so far. 
  • All they want to do is plug into a screen (which we know is just no good).
  • Every idea that once worked before is now lame...

So what do you do? Well, Mary and I thought it would be fun to get some of our fellow moms together (for happy hour of course) and create a strategic plan of how to survive the summer. At this wonderful late afternoon event, we identified some key points:

1. You can't have too rigid of a schedule (teens just don't like that).
2. You have to give them options (teens need that).
3. You have to have SOMETHING FOR THEM TO DO OR THEY WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY (moms need that).

So here you go ladies (and gents)... our master list of how to survive the summer. Pick and choose what works for your family. Thanks Mary for being my partner in crime... Please share with your friends. Feel free to stop by Mary's other fun Parenting site.. CAMP WHOOP A.S.S. Enjoy!

free digital photo - by stuart miles
Incentive Adventures 
create an incentive and give them a reward, it can be whatever you want but these were a few of Mary's favorites:

Peak to Peak - do a hike get a burgers @ Twin Peaks in Hood River
ICEcycle - go on a bike ride and get ice cream at Mike's in Hood River
Swim & Smores - go swimming and get smores after
Letters for Letters  - write a letter to grandma (or grandpa) and earn a new book
Apples & Essays - Write an essay and go to Apple Valley (Hood River) and get a milkshakes
Kill and be Killed - Kill weeds in the yard and get a trip to KillerBurger (White Salmon)
Photography Challenge - take YouTube photography class take pictures and, enter them into the county fair
Teens & TJ’s - clean out your closet and take a trip at the end of summer to shop at TJ Maxx with your teen

free digital photos - by basketman
Get a Job!
offer up the options for your teen or pre-teen, give them the option of making money!

Babysitter (cool school)
Mother’s Helper
Sport Tutor
Yard Worker
Dog Walker/Sitter
Smart Phone/Tablet Tutor
All in One TV Remote Programmer
Golf Swing Videographer

Portland Day Trip or Trip in Town
From Wikipedia
Fill an entire day with fun activities in PDX! Enjoy the sites, and some of these can be at a low expense or even free!
Play or Concert

Scheduling + Routine:
Sometimes (especially with the littles), you need a structure day - - try one of these fun daily tasks

free digital photos by digitalart
Make-it Monday: art, craft, fort or food
Trip Tuesday: library, park, museum, bike ride, factory tour
Wet Wednesday: swim, play in the sprinkler, squirt gun, wash car
Thinking Thursday: research, read and give report at dinner time
Friend Friday: have a friend over!

Fun Outings:
Photo by yours truly
Enjoy a few of these Gorge inspired activities for kids or as a whole family!

Bike Twin Tunnels
Post Canyon- Family Man Mountain Biking
County Fair - Hood River
WAAAM! - Western Antique Air Auto Museum
LostLake: hike, swim, picnic
Bike: Cascade Locks trail, The Dalles trail
Hike: Tanner Creek, tour Bonneville damn 
The Dalles Rodeo - July 16-18

Maybe you need a break! Do you need some long-term help? Consider a longer camp just days or sleepaway! 
YoungLife camp 6th graders  | Aug 4-8
Community Ed: tennis, horse, sailing

free digital photo by khunaspix
Sometimes you just need to get them outside, burn off some energy and enjoy a new activity - - indoors or outdoors.

SUP aka Stand Up Paddle
Zip-line: Skamania, Warrenton, Ski Bowl
Camping in the backyard
Make movies
Craft projects
Board Game
Wii Dance
Bowling Alley
Family Movie Night

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I hate cleaning. Do you?

Do people really clean their windows like this?
Do you hate to clean? 

I do. 

There is nothing worse than realizing that you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the bathroom. This is why I hate to clean! I hate to clean so much that I have raised the bar for the boys so that they can do it - and not me! For ever I struggle with feeling like if someone else did it, I wouldn't be happy with the results. No sir. Not anymore. 

In Martha Stewart’s Living, she offers a great section called Gentle Reminders. Here she frequently gives great ideas of thing that need to be done in your home at that season, like when to clean the windows or the when to clean out the garage. Seriously, I can not even remember the last time I cleaned the windows. 

Cleaning doesn’t have to be everyday and it doesn’t have to be perfect every time. I find that if I break the task down into manageable pieces, it doesn’t seem so big. Here are my Top Five Quick Tips to cleaning:

1. Wipe Before You Walk-Away. If you leave a surface, wipe it before you leave it. Doesn’t matter if it’s the bathroom counter or the kitchen counter, just wipe it.

2. Scrap the Scraps. Make sure you toss, recycle or reuse items that are empty, expired or useless. There is no sense keeping things to add to clutter.

3. Manage Mail in the Moment. As soon as you get the mail, recycle all the paper, file what needs to be filed and you will be left with a nice stack of things to review. Don’t hesitate – if you hesitate that is when things get lost, misplaced or left behind.

4. Employ Help. Make sure that everyone in the household has some responsibility to manage or job responsibility. It should not just be one person managing everything (especially the ladies in the house!).

5. Tackle It Tonight. If you can set aside 10-15 minutes every night before you go to be to do those few little tasks that might save you 5 minutes in the morning… it’s worth it. Things like make the coffee, load the dishwasher (or do the dishes) or maybe plan your to-do list for the next day… can be a life saver.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Save Time in 6 Easy Steps

Good time management can bring so much more than just an organized calendar. It can give you the control and success for planning out your day. If it’s organizing your closet, kitchen or schedule, you have to find a starting point and go from there. Here are seven tips to getting organized with your time.
1.    Use a Planner: This is a helpful tool in keeping your schedule organized. Deciding what kind of planner will work best for you is important? Paper or electronic? Calendar versus binder? A few things to consider when choosing a planner is your learning style, your visual preference or the size and shape.

2.    Make a List (aka do a “Brain Dump”): Write down all of the items, tasks or appointments that need to be done. Sometimes it’s helpful to have your list in a section of your planner. During the course of your week you can continue to add to this list as needed.

3.    Break Down Tasks: Breaking down your list into categories will help when it comes time to assign time slots for each task. It’s best to code your list into helpful categories like tasks, appointments, personal or business just to name a few. As new items get added to your list you will easily know how to categorize them.

4.    When are You at Your Best? What time of day are you most productive? Knowing your energy cycle1 is a key element to knowing when to assign certain tasks. Difficult tasks should always be assigned during your high productivity time and easy tasks during your lower productivity time.

1 The concept of energy cycles is taken from Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

5.    Estimating Time. Knowing how long a task will take is something you learn over time. The important thing is to estimate how long tasks will take and assign the appropriate amount of time for the task. NOTE: Things happen; we have interruptions, kids or distractions that take us away from our focus. Don’t worry about it! Accounting for those things is helpful when estimated how much time a task takes.

6.    Maintenance! In my opinion, this is the most important step in keeping up with your schedule. Scheduling regular maintenance for your calendar should be the most important appointment during your week. Usually, I recommend that this be an end of week appointment, to plan out your coming week. During your maintenance appointment, you can review your list, add new items, delete items etc. The most important thing is that you are maintaining your time!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Why the fitbit can make you more productive...

The fitbit was a popular gift this last holiday season. I know about 6 people that got one for Christmas. I didn't really understand what the big deal was, but from the sounds of things, it
comes down to awareness

That little band, strapped to your wrist, gives you a ton of information. It tells you how many steps you take (or don't take) each day, and how well you sleep each night, just to name a few.

So, about a couple of weeks ago, I decided to invest. I have to admit, I love it.
I  find myself being more mindful of taking a walk each day and loading my sleep log into my app. 

At first, it was fascinating to see that on days I didn't hit my step goal, I was a restless sleeper and sluggish the following day [duh, right!]. 

It's so clear to me that rest and exercise have a direct effect on our productivity! If I'm not rested, I don't think as clear and my brain processes things so much slower... therefore making me less productive.

Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital did a study that resulted in people who limited their sleep to 5.6 hours each night took longer to preform tasks and find information quickly on your computer than when they had adequate sleep (1). I know that seems obvious, but I think we forget to be aware of just how much this impacts our day.

Some things you can do to help reduce your increase your exercise and sleep cycle to ultimately increase your productivity...

  • Park farthest from the door at your appointment or office
  • Choose the stairs over the elevator
  • While on the phone, pace or walk around your office
  • Track your sleep cycle, watch for patterns
  • Start by heading to bed just 15 minutes earlier
  • Take a nap during the day (Even a 20 minute nap can change your life)
  • Try a fitbit...
Finding that perfect balance of a healthy lifestyle takes constant effort... but, really... what doesn't take constant effort? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Keep versus toss.. that is the question!

Winter is when I do my best organizing and purging. For some reason - when I'm stuck in the house on the cold winter days, I get lost in cleaning out closets, purging the pantry and most of all... tossing things we just don't use any more.

I think it started when the kids were small and Christmas was coming... I always felt the need to donate well loved toys so that come the new year we would have replaced them with shiny new toys. As the kids get older, their needs change and for whatever reason the purging still happens. It always feels good when I make more room in my closet - or clean off a shelf.

For many people, the struggle of what to keep or what to toss is always a hard choice (but still a choice). Sometimes it's the tossing or "letting go" that plagues our hearts... I use the word toss loosely... for me, tossing something usually means it's going into the garage sale pile first and then if not sold, it's donated or recycled.

It's a challenge even for me, when faced with making the decision to keep or toss, but I have a few rules in place to help me make that decision a little easier...
Closet Graphic from Morgue Files by auttiedot

When it comes to cloths...

KEEP... if its a usable item, loved and won't embarrass me in public. TOSS... if it doesn't fit well, something I don't like or embarrassing. [I just tossed an evening gown from 20 years ago that I just realized I will never be a size 8 again = felt good to let it go].

When it comes to the kids things...

KEEP... if it's a first item, well done work or paper that my child is proud to show off. TOSS... if it's unimportant, insignificant or one of twenty of the same items. [I just tossed many of the kids action figures, cars and board games they haven't played with in years = made more room for a new family game.]

When it comes to household goods...

KEEP... if it works (or can be repaired), I use it regularly and serves a purpose. TOSS... if it's un-repairable, I have never used it, don't like it, or have multiples and don't need extras. [Tossed a bunch of photo frames, multiple utensils, books, framed art that we don't use, don't like and kept from our old house that doesn't really fit in our house now = made room to pick new art if we feel like it and cleared out a bunch of full drawers.]

When it comes to mementos or memorabilia...

KEEP... if it serves as a happy reminder of a special moment or milestone. TOSS... if it's a negative reminder of a moment or milestone, or insignificant because I have multiples of the same items. [Although more difficult, I try to review this regularly. With kids art, I find letting them decide helps to narrow the decision down.]

It's a great idea to sort, purge and organize on a certain schedule. Once a year seems to work best for me, but if it's hard, overwhelming and too big of a job to get done, every six months sometimes helps to breakdown the task.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Would you be mad if I used the F word?

Do you ever get over one of those humps and feel like... "Oh, Dear God... why did it take me so long to get here..." 

Well, I'm having one of those kind of weeks. I've given my website and blog a face lift. New updates and a fresh look! You would think "no big deal..." Well, actually, it's a very big deal (for me that is).

It's one of those things that you sit on, ponder, wonder, consider, research and add to your to-do list... all the while, not getting it done. Well, it's done (almost). It's not perfect, but it's up. With everything... work in progress. 

Finding the traction to get over that hump is such a hard thing to put into words. If you've ever struggled with "the hump" you know what I mean. It's not that we aren't capable. It's not that we are incompetent

It's that f*** word... Fear

#fearnoshame! Prince Harry has recently opened up doors for people to share there fear in hopes to raise awareness... read more here

Fear is one of those things that can stop you in our tracks. It' takes any form of progress or motion and little puts it into a frozen state (kind of like Gru in Despicable Me). It's not that we don't "want" to move... but the fear takes hold.

So, how did I get over it you ask? Well, it's been a process. I have spent more hours than I care to admit being afraid of that next step - and this is why...

1. Learning Curve.
2. Not Enough Time.
3. Judgement of Others.
4. Making a Mistake.

Do any of these things sound familiar? I think we can apply these fears to just about anything. Right?! It's not just about getting things done - it's about overcoming that stupid fear. 

Hopefully, you can see by putting it (aka me) out there... telling you about it... I'm slowly overcoming... I have to be honest... it feels good. 

It doesn't feel perfect, but it feels good to know that I'm past a few of those fears. I took the time to address each fear and... done! 

Thanks Harry... for putting it out there! It's kind of nice knowing we have something in common! #fearnoshame

Do you have a fear? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's 5pm... what's for dinner?

Do you ever find yourself standing in front of the pantry, wondering... what the heck can I make for dinner? As if something magically is going to jump off the shelf, onto the table, piping hot... and ready for your hungry family. 

The thought of it actually doing that cracks me up!

Pantry problems are more than just figuring our what to prepare for dinner... it's knowing where things belong, how much do you need (or have) and when you need to shop for more! Often, I find that when working in a pantry it's important to determine what are the missing ingredients... Here are a few...

Courtesy of Etsy - The LovelyWall
People laugh at me all the time. They will say... "labeling is for kindergartners..." Well the fact of the matter is - everyone loves it once they have it. 

A pantry is the best thing to have labeled in a busy household. It identifies where things belong and reminds others where to put things away (rather than just stuffing them back on the shelf). Things like chalkboard labels, tags or a label maker can really clean up a pantry.

Courtesy of OXO

For me, there is nothing worse than going into the pantry for a box of graham crackers and... the box is empty (I hate that personally and I just know it drives my clients nuts).

Clear containers can help you quickly visualize how much you have left, not to mention helps you find things faster. Open baskets or bins help with items that are individually portion sized items such as granola bars or snacks make it accessible for everyone! Not to mention it make it easier to grab and go!

Courtesy of Container Store
Pantry shelves are never big enough! They typically allow for those tall items such as pastas or large boxes, leaving valuable unused space.A Stack-able shelf can offer a ton of extra shelf space for smaller items such as can or boxed goods.

There are tons of pantry options, you just have to start looking at what's unorganized... and find a solution.

Who knows... maybe tonight, dinner will actually make itself! Got a pantry secret to share?