the shrink ‘rap: premiere issue
In this issue:
- Not Spare, Not Free – How to take control and manage your time.
- Organize Your Kids – Keep it together and help to instill good organizing skills.
- Water Cooler Rap – Sort the mail and keep it from overwhelming you.
Not Spare, Not Free – It’s Just Time, and it’s Yours for the Taking
No Such Thing as Spare Time
Summer is here.
You plan to go to the beach and promise to take the
kids to Sesame Place.
You are without a doubt going to repaint the
house, win an award for your landscaping, and take up yoga.
you are even planning to take a few computer courses for job
enhancement. There is just one problem, isn’t there? You cannot find
time to do all of these things because you have so many other things you
HAVE to do. Undoubtedly you have been telling yourself that you will
pursue your summer goals in your “spare” time? Is there such a thing?
The answers are simple. You get to do what you WANT to do when you
schedule time and commit yourself to doing those things. And…no, I am
sorry to disappoint you, but there is no such thing as “spare” time.
Spare – (spair) n. – additional to what is usually needed or used, time
not needed for work or other purposes (Oxford American Dictionary)
Can you even think of a case where your time is not needed for “work or
other purposes”? I can’t. So if there is no such thing as spare time,
and you always have things that need to get done in the 24 hours that
you do have every day, when do you get to do the things you WANT to do?
When does the fun begin and the work end?
Managing Your Want to Do List
First, set aside time by scheduling appointments with yourself and your
family. If you intend to wait for a free weekend to take your kids to
Sesame Place, you should just tell your children that you will meet up
with them in the summer of 2020. There is always something you have to
do, and if you do not schedule a dedicated time to fulfill your personal
wants/goals list, that list will always be pushed to the back burner.
Gain control of your time by prioritizing the things you WANT to do.
For example, take the list of summer goals above and decide what is most
important to you.
- Spend 3-4 hours per week on landscaping
- Spend two weekends at the beach with family
- Buy a yoga instructional DVD and practice 2-3 times per week
- Take the kids to Sesame Place
- Research trade magazines and subscribe to the 2 that are the most relevant to my industry
- Repaint the house
- Research computer courses offered at local venues. Sign up for 2 classes.
Look at this list and then find time on your calendar that you have not
already committed. What makes the items on the above list different
from some other typical appointments you may have (wedding, school play
etc) is that these items are not time restricted.
Make it Happen – Hold Yourself Accountable
The key to successful time management is fitting your WANT list into
your lifestyle of HAVE-to’s. For example, you may have a wedding on
Saturday. Sunday you do not have anything planned. Sure, there are a
million things you could do, but commit to doing something you WANT to
do. Get one step closer to winning your neighborhood’s landscaping
award (or avoiding the “worst lawn award”). Fulfill goal #1 by working
on the lawn on Sunday morning.
Then take a look later into the week. You have client meetings on
Tuesday morning. However, you have two unscheduled hours on Tuesday
afternoon. What a great time to research computer courses! Put
“research computer courses” in your calendar and commit to keeping that
appointment with yourself. Do not allow yourself to be interrupted
during that time. If you are unable to find two courses that you want
to sign up for within two hours, schedule another appointment with
yourself to continue the research on a different day.
Go through each item on your WANT list, glance at your schedule, and
block some time off to complete those items.
Give yourself a break, take control of your life, and commit yourself to
getting what you deserve – the chance to ENJOY life. Time is what you
make of it. You have control over how you spend it. Remember that when
you think about all of the things you WANT to do.
A thought to ponder –
“Time is life’s only common denominator.” – Tim Connor
Organize Your Kids – The Simple Way
Life is not supposed to be one big scavenger hunt – Wouldn’t it be great
if your kids could find their own shoes without asking for your help?
If you added up all the time you have ever spent looking for your
child’s missing shoe, backpack, favorite toy or homework assignment, you
would probably feel that you have been working a part-time job. Wouldn’t
it be nice to alleviate those frantic search-and-find missions so you
could actually do something for yourself? Imagine what you could do with
an extra fifteen minutes a day (You can imagine more time if you have
more than one child or experience multiple scavenger hunts per day).
Okay, now that you are thinking about all those “me” minutes, how can
you make them a reality?
First, question why these search-and-find missions occur. The answer is
not that your kids are sloppy or lazy. In reality, your kids probably
need help getting organized. Organization is a learned skill. Remember
when your child started to crawl and people would tell you, “Get on the
floor and crawl around so you can see what they see. Only then will you
truly be able to recognize where the household hazards lie”? Organizing
children requires a similar technique; try to think how they think,
recognize what it is that they see and will be able to reach, and keep
Second, clearly identify the obstacles that prevent your child from
being organized. Is there a specific place for each of your child’s
belongings? Can your child reach all the shelves, cabinets, and hooks
he/she is supposed to use? Is there an established process for finding
and putting away things? Does your child find the organization process
exciting? Ideally, establishing a designated space, time, and process
for everything will pave the way to organization. Making the process
exciting will encourage it.
Here are some simple things you can do to help your child get organized.
- Use simple systems. Do not make the organization system too
complicated. The process should involve steps that are easy to follow
- Color code storage boxes for certain types of toys or
articles of clothing. A blue storage box can be used for action
figures, a green box for art supplies and a red box for puzzles.
- Be consistent. If you have toys and craft items in multiple rooms, try to
use the same storage and color-coding system for each type of item in
- Ask your children for their opinions on their organizing
system. Perhaps they will tell you that they prefer another type of
box, a different shelf, smaller hangers etc. Listen to your children.
They are more likely to maintain an organization system if they have
input on how it is structured.
- Provide your child with shelves or
hooks that are within reaching distance. You cannot blame a child for
not hanging up his/her clothes if he/she cannot reach the hanger and rod
in the closet. For safety purposes, try to avoid storing items in
places that are only accessible by using a stool or ladder.
- Label storage boxes and shelves. If your child is too young to read, tape a
picture of the items to be stored in that box or shelf to the front of
the container/shelf. Labels and pictures indicate exactly what goes
where and not only make things easy to put away but also easy to find.
- Make a game out of organizing and putting things away. After you and
your child have worked together to find a home for every item, have a
contest to see how quickly your child can put away his or her toys.
Once your child knows where everything goes, clean up and maintenance
should be easy. Your child will enjoy “beating the clock”. Perhaps the
reward is an extra story at bedtime.
- Praise your child’s efforts.
Positive reinforcement will encourage your child to maintain the system.
- Set an example for your child by keeping your own belongings organized.
Water Cooler Rap – Simple Tips for Daily Living
- Designate a certain time of day to review your mail. Most people find
that addressing mail at the beginning or end of the day works best.
- Throw away junk mail immediately. If you are not going to attend the
event, respond to the offer, or purchase the product within the next 30
days, toss it in the trash.
- Keep your trashcan close to the place where you open your mail.
- Sort all other mail into one of four categories – To Do, To Pay,
To File or To Read. Keep the files or shelves with these four important
categories visible and accessible.
Need more help getting organized? Call Cluttershrink® for more information on receiving hands-on assistance organizing your home, office or relocation. Phone consultations, customized seminars, mentoring for new organizers and gift certificates are also available. Call 215.431.0590 or e-mail Crystal Sabalaske at email@example.com.