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Your A-toZ Guide to Getting Organized (Part 1 of 4)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Keeping your stuff and your life organized can be harder than a college physics exam. But with these savvy tips & tricks, it’s as easy as A-B-C.

A – Assign a color scheme
Banish cries of “It’s not mine!” by color-coding your kids gear all through the house. Stick to a signature shade for each child’s toothbrush, bath towel & backpack, so you can tell at a glance which stuff belongs to which kid. Buy a colored bin for each child, too, to use as a handy drop spot for stray toys & clothes. Each night before bed, have your kids empty their own bin, returning items to their rightful places.

B – For a bucket brigade
For an easy way to stash office supplies, stock small unused paint buckets (available at home improvement stores) with tape, scissors, pens, envelopes, stamps, a calculator, etc., then hang them from over-the-door hooks tucked inside a closet. When it’s time to pay bills or write a note, bring just the buckets you need to the table.

C – Call for help
Download reQall, a free voice recognition tool (reqall.com) then call the toll-free number from your cell phone to leave yourself reminders, like “E-mail Jen tonight.” ReQall organizes the recordings & plays them back to you as lists of to-dos, notes & shopping items. If you have an iPhone or BlackBerry, the program transcribes your messages & automatically sends you reminders via e-mail or IM. You can even program in locations or places you usually go (store, dry cleaner, etc.) and reQall will use your phone’s GPS to figure out where you are, display to-dos in that area (“Buy milk”) & send you an alert.

D – Designate a dropoff drawer
Keep countertops clear by emptying a kitchen drawer & converting it to a grab-and-go spot. Now your family has a place to drop cell phones & keys, the kitchen can still function, and you won’t get irritated by the mess.

E – Evaluate your system
Live in your digs long enough and you won’t even notice what’s making your life chaotic. So take a second to think about won’t causing your biggest messes, then brainstorm solutions-like creating a cell phone recharging station on your dresser, or repurposing a stranded side table into a backpack landing pad. Can’t figure out your clutter culprits? Ask a friend for fresh-eyed help.

F – File faster
Four folders are all you need to rein in out-of-control paperwork. Within a day of bringing it into the house, slot incoming mail & various papers into folders labeled To Do, To Pay, To File, and Pending (a halfway house for things you’re waiting to take action on, like a rebate form). Keep it up and you’ll prevent a Himalaya-like pileup on your desk.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QTPI36 12/5/2009 9:22AM

    I've never heard of reQall. I think I might have to check into it. Thanks.

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GOSPELCLOWN 12/3/2009 1:57PM

    I'm going to implement the 4 file folder system tonight!

Karen emoticon

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BAILEYSMOM7 12/2/2009 9:14PM

    Good stuff! Tips are always great. Thanks.

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BOUDICA26 12/2/2009 1:35PM

    I absolutely love the bucket idea! Thanks for the tips.

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DDOORN 12/2/2009 1:21PM

    Love your ideas...just in time to help get ready for the holidays!


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PJSTIME 12/2/2009 11:46AM

    Thanks for the tips. I have done the one about the drawer in the kitchen it has helped.

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POMLADY1 12/2/2009 11:06AM

    Thanks for the suggestions and will be watching for more.

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MYSPARKLER 12/2/2009 9:02AM

    Thanks for the ideas! I will be watching for more!


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MATCHA 12/2/2009 8:49AM

    Thanks for sharing. I'm a neat freak always looking for new tips! emoticon

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Stay Motivated

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

1. Music is key, so blast it when you work out. Listen to your playlist only when you exercise so you’ll look forward to it.

2. Give yourself a no-food reward after a week of eating well & exercise. Get a manicure or buy yourself flowers.

3. Find a workout buddy. Pick one day every week to call your friends & set up exercise dates.

4. Put out your workout clothes the night before or keep your gym bag in your car. This is a great reminder.

5. Hang a calendar where you see it often and mark the days you work out & eat right. Seeing evidence of your hard work will inspire you to keep it up.

6. Pick a time of day to exercise & stick with it. This way it becomes part of your schedule and you feel more committed.

7. E-mail your workout log to a close friend each week. Being accountable makes you more likely to stick with it.

8. Slip on your workout clothes and don’t take them off until you sweat.

9. TV can be another motivator, believe it or not. Try watching ESPN (with the sound off while listening to music) because all those athletes will hopefully get you psyched up.

10. Make healthy foods look pretty. Put yogurt in a bowl and alternate layers of yogurt & fruit, or add a garnish of mint or parsley to fish & veggies.

11. Keep a food log. Studies show that people who kept food journals lost more weight than those who didn’t.

12. Remind yourself that you’ll always feel better after you exercise than you did before (or if you skip it)!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOSPELCLOWN 12/1/2009 2:18PM

    Glad that you suggested visiting your blog on The Huddle...

Well done,

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PJSTIME 12/1/2009 8:09AM

    These are all good reminders and tips. Thanks for sharing. I wish you a wonderful Tuesday. emoticon PJ

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Healthy Resolutions You’ll Keep

Monday, November 30, 2009

We’ve all made live-healthier declarations at the start of a new year (Exercise every day! No dessert!). Problem is, most of the time, they’re just too grand. The key to making resolutions stick is to take little steps toward your main goal. Here’s how to boil down those ambitions into action-size bites so that by year’s end, you’ll count yourself among the resolution keepers.

Your goal – Lose Weight
Resolve to---sit down whenever you eat. This simple behavioral change can help you lose several pounds without even trying. In fact, one study found that people ate 30% more when standing up. That’s partially because we tend to eat more quickly when we’re standing up and miss our body’s “fullness” signals that tell us when we’ve had enough.When you sit, you’ll eat more slowly and savor each bite, which will help you feel more satisfied.

Your goal – Eat Healthier
Resolve to---snack on one-ingredient foods. Many of us get a ¼ of our day’s calories from snacks, most of which aren’t healthy. Switch to one-ingredient snacks (think fruits, yogurt and nuts) or combos of one-ingredient foods (like trail mix) & you’ll eat fewer packaged & processed foods, which will help boost nutrition while decreasing calories. The more ingredients, the more processed it is. And processed foods tend to be higher in fat, salt, sugar & additives that we don’t need.

Your goal – Exercise Regularly
Resolve to---walk at least 5 minutes daily. It may not sound like very much, especially when you’ve heard you need to do at least 30 minutes daily. But at this point, it’s all about setting the groundwork to make exercise a habit. Building a habit gradually & consistently makes it more likely that you’ll stick with it long-term. After the first week or two, bump those walks up to 10 minutes; keep adding 5 minutes every week until you’re walking 30 minutes or more every day.

Your goal – Have More Energy
Resolve to---list 3 things you’re grateful for every day. It might sound silly, but it works. Negative thoughts are a big energy zapper, and this can help even the grumpiest of people feel just a little more positive. When researchers asked people to do one of 3 things-keep a diary of what happened to them that day, record unpleasant experiences or list the things for which they’re grateful-the gratitude group has 25% more energy. They also slept better & felt more alert & enthusiastic.

Your goal – Stress Less
Resolve to---hug someone every day. Studies show that hugging decreases levels of stress hormones & lowers blood pressure. In fact, one study found that people who have loving contact (like hugging) in the morning are protected against stress throughout the day. Cuddling with a pet counts, too, as a growing body of research shows that the mere presence of pets can help alleviate stress and lower blood pressure.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELEST 12/1/2009 12:49PM

    I really enjoyed these pointers. I agree that smaller bits make the big goals more doable. I remember when I decided to read my bible from cover to cover in one year...I started off great, but typically stopped after a while. But someone encouraged me to read just 4 verses a night to get into the habit and gain appreciation for what I was reading and it really worked. 4 verses was very doable. I'm going to complete it this year, and I', going to reach my goal weight by Oct next year.

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PJSTIME 11/30/2009 7:56AM

    You've got it. One of my biggest problems is eating too fast. I need to slow down and enjoy my food more. Thanks. PJ

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Christmas Magic

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We did our holiday decorating today - that was great fun! The house really looks great. This year, I let my husband do a lot more decorating - I decided that he had some better ideas of where to put things. I was right - the place looks wonderful - better than last year.

Last year, we bought a fiber optic tree that we really love. We both can't wait for the sun to go down so we can turn it on. We would love to have a larger tree, but with ferrets, we can't take that chance. They would probably knock it over. We have a really cute little snowman doormat that makes me smile every time I come into the house.

I love decorating for the holidays even though I'm Jewish. I believe in the magic of Christmas!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJSTIME 11/28/2009 6:00PM

    We have or had a small fiber optic tree also. I loved it, unfortunately it quit turning so the lights just stay on. Tried to find a new motor that was impossible so I guess we will be purchasing a new one or maybe just look at it that way this year.

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The Best Decision Making Tool Ever

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's called the 10-10-10 rule, from best-selling author Suzy Welch. It's a way to re-think your thinking. What you do is, when faced with any complicated decisions - assess the impact it's have on your life in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years.

For example, the author decided to take her children with her on a business trip to Hawaii. However, nothing went right along the way. One child got sick on the 12-hour plane ride. The other one got heatstroke. As if that weren't enough, both kids escaped from a hotel-run hula class and burst into the middle of her big client presentation. At that time, she realized she needed to make better choices.

That's where 10-10-10 comes in. If she'd left her kids at home, in 10 minutes they might have been pouting. But in 10 months she's have been able to take them on a proper vacation with the money she'd earned. And in 10 years, they's all have forgotten that she'd even been away fro 3 days way back when.

This is a really neat process. I think it would work for anything at all - including cravings. If you really want that chocolate bar, think about it...in 10 minutes, the craving will probably be over. In 10 months, you will have lost more weight. In 10 years, you will be at your goal weight & feeling great.

I like this 10-10-10 and plan to start using it alot.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MUSHCAT 11/24/2009 6:57AM

    Very interesting. I wonder if I time my cravings if they WILL dissapear in 10 minutes. Certainly worth a try.

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NUTRON3 11/24/2009 6:56AM

    I read about that too

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