Savor the Season

Two more weeks until Christmas. This holiday season has been different, yet I still want to keep the season as normal as possible. I want to savor all the wonderfulness of the season.

About mid-October I usually plan out my timeline for the upcoming holidays. I love having the plan and ten not having to worry about the details.

This year is different. About the beginning of October, we realized that my husband, Rob, has cancer. Now, we really are expecting to win this fight but meanwhile with radiation five days a week and chemo once a week, life priorities have shifted.

Right off, instead of sending out a “save the date” email for our annual holiday party, I sent off a “we are cancelling our party this year” email. Then, I looked over my usual list of holiday tasks, most of which I really enjoy, and made some modifications.

I wanted to decorate our house. I left off some of the trimming but basically did most of it. Rob was able to help me get the tree up and my son, Darin, was able to help with some of the outside decorations. I still sent out cards, but with shorter notes inside. I still baked cookies but did not have to prepare food for the party. Most gifts were ordered on line and some were sent directly to the recipients.

There comes a point at the end of each day that I sit in the living room with Rob where we enjoy our decorations, listen to some holiday music, and work on the crossword puzzle together.

On Christmas day, my son will come over and spend the day with us. Our meal will be much simpler than usual, but we will enjoy each other’s company and just relax together. It is a wonderful time of the year!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Priorities – Friends and Family

Our lives are busy, and it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day business and forget to carve out time for the things that are important to us.

For me, family and friends rank right up on the top. I schedule times to visit my children and my siblings. I schedule time to visit with friends. Probably not enough but I do make a regular effort.

This past weekend we really got it together and had an 80th birthday party for my husband, Rob. His family pulled out the stops and came from as far away as Texas. Both of his sons and his step-daughter plus many grandchildren attended. A lot of Rob’s friends also attended including one couple who came all the way from Ohio for his party! This get-together took a lot of effort for a lot of people but was so worth it. It was a good reminder that taking time to keep strong relationships with our family and friends really pays off.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Importance of Taking a Vacation

Our work and our life style often leave us tired and a bit stressful. Getting away for regular vacations lets us leave our everyday stress and gives our bodies and minds a break. The change in our routine and getting more rest helps our body recharge.

For me, vacations allow me to spend more time taking care of myself. I tend to walk more, eat foods that are more varied, and have more down time to read and rest. I feel healthier.

When I return from a vacation, I feel I can focus and concentrate better. I get a clearer perspective on projects I have been working on. It helps me revisit my priorities and just step back and look at what is really important.

The time away from home is also good for strengthening family relationships. My husband and I have more quality time together and this last trip also included other extended family that I had not seen for a some time.

Vacations are fun! They make me happy. Not only am I happy during the vacation but also during the preplanning and imagining and then the looking over pictures and recapping the experience with my husband.

Do yourself a favor. Make yourself a priority and take some time off. It can be a long vacation abroad or just a long weekend away from home. Enjoy!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Priorities




Your life is very busy. You don’t know how you’ll get it all done. Your calendar is booked months out. And then you get the phone call from a close friend’s daughter. She wants to give a surprise birthday party for her mother – in a few weeks and in a town 5 hours away!

What do you say? You say, “Wonderful! How can I help?”.

Friends are one of the most important resources that we have. I got together with other friends from my area who were invited, and we put together a delightful scheme. I invited myself to my friend’s home for the weekend. She was delighted that I wanted to come for a visit. The daughter reserved a villa for the other out of town guests and a restaurant for Friday night. The gang from my area planned on bringing in food for 2 brunches and a dinner. A cake was ordered and was going to be delivered by another friend who lived near the town of the party. We all pulled it off! It was a delightful surprise and meant a great deal to our friend.

And you know what? I came away from that long weekend happy and relaxed and even more ready to tackle all the tasks and chores that awaited my back home.

It’s important to remember our priorities and friends should always have a top billing.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Priorities – Me Time


I love my work and I work hard but that is only one part of my life.

I love my husband and my family as well as a whole set of friends who are almost like family. I love my home but I also love to travel. I know the importance of taking care of myself.

So, for the next 15 days I am going to take care of myself and travel with my husband to Greece. Going back to visit Greece has been on my bucket list for a long, long, time.

For the next 15 days I am going to eat a lot of delicious food, walk a lot, meet new people,  and jut relax. I intend to come home with a whole lot of experiences and memories. I will stay connected to clients, family, and friends while gone but only minimally. I plan to come back invigorated and ready to resume my normal routines.

ασφαλή ταξίδια (safe travels)

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

February is Time Management Month

Good time management is really good choice management. We can’t save time. We can’t speed up or slow down time. We all have the same 24 hours or 1,440 minutes a day. It’s up to us to spend it wisely.

Easy to say – harder to do.

Below are 9 tips to help you stay in control of your day:

  1. Know how you are using your time now. Track how you are using your time for a couple of weeks. The first week you might track Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The second week you might track Tuesday and Thursday. Add in weekend days if that is also an issue. Use a timer and every 1/2 hour make a quick note of what you are working on. No cheating! (Wow, the timer is about to go off, I’d better log off Facebook and pay some bills!)
  2. Notice what interrupts your time and pulls you off task. Do you answer every phone call? Do you really need to? Do you have an audible alert when emails come in? Do you check them when they come in? Do friends or colleagues feel they can drop in at any time? Anytime you are pulled away from a task, make a written note of what you were doing just before answering the phone or talking to the person in your doorway. That simple task locks in the importance of your task and makes it easier to return to it.
  3. Never multitask. Having said that, you can fold laundry and talk to your husband. You can go for a walk and mentally put together a plan for tomorrow. What you can’t do is write a report and talk on the phone or pay your bills while checking emails. Neither task will get your full attention. It is exhausting for your brain to keep switching back and forth. The adrenaline rush will hurt your concentration. There is no way you can get into the zone where work flows easily. Do one thing and do it well.
  4. Know your priorities. What is important to you today? What 3 big tasks need to be worked on or completed? Are you keeping in mind other priorities besides work? Is exercise and a time to eat a healthy meal a priority? Is family time a priority? Keep in mind that some priorities are not urgent things to do today but tasks that will help you down the road.
  5. Use your calendar. The calendar is your friend. I like calendars where I can see the whole month. Every appointment, every obligation, every birthday/anniversary is seen at a glance. As soon as I have a known date for a commitment I put it into my calendar. Long term projects are put on the notes side of the calendar of the months that I intend to devote the time on.
  6. Use a daily schedule. My calendar holds the big things, but my daily schedule has the details. This is where I not only have down what I plan to do for the day but also when I plan to do it and how long I have allowed for the task. I work in transition times between tasks. When life happens – and it does – and I know I will not get through everything on my schedule, I pause and do triage. I pick out what must get done and move the rest to later in the week.
  7. Know your peak production times. These are the times you schedule the tasks that are more difficult and require concentration. For me, I kick in about 9:00 am and need to stop the morning by about 11:30. In the afternoon I can get into heavy lifting around 1:00 and am getting weary by 5:00. Anything I do after that is mostly automatic non-thinking tasks.
  8. Delegate. Some tasks I know I do not have expertise. Some tasks I can do very well but I choose to use my time on another task. So I pay for others to do these tasks. I also am lucky in that my husband is willing to run errands for me like taking items to Goodwill or going to the post office. I have clients who can delegate some tasks to their children like taking on the shredding. Don’t try to do it all.
  9. Come to each day rested and spend some of the day on you. If you are not rested, well nourished, and centered you will not concentrate on tasks at hand. On your daily schedule allow time for breaks, meals, whatever centering practices that you use, and a decent bed time.

Look over the above list and choose a couple to concentrate on for February. I would love to hear some of your wins.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Priorities and Self Care

I love my work and I love my hubby. Sometimes it is important to put the work aside for a few days and just enjoy some “our time”.

I try to schedule a couple of days each month for us to just go off and play but sometimes a little more is needed. It’s great to put the daily routine aside and really let go and relax. I find myself laughing more, enjoying food I haven’t prepared, taking in different scenery, and just feeling grateful for this time. I feel healthier and invigorated. I know I’ll come back from vacation a renewed person.

Good memories are made on vacations. I’d rather have a vacation than a piece of expensive jewelry or a new gadget. When we vacation we experience new things and meet new people.

It’s important to take time to take care of yourself and enjoy vacation time. Vacations are healthy. When we return, we will both appreciate our home life even more.

Now, pardon me while I pack.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Priorities – Taking Time for Self


I love my profession and I love my clients, but…….. sometimes, I just need a break. I love taking small vacations and grab them when there is an opportunity. This past week, Rob and I took a small vacation and attended a Road Scholar program in Florida. We met some wonderful people and learned about close harmonies, leading ladies Meryl Streep and Julie Roberts, and movies made into musicals (imagine Rocky as a musical!). This program was held on Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. The instructors were great and the food was tasty. Then we spent a day and a half at my sister’s home. There she gathered local family and we had a wonderful time catching up with everyone. I had some quality time with my hubby and family as well as attending classes with a wonderful group of people.

While on my vacation, I checked emails and responded to clients. I did a Zone Plan Coaching call from the car using my cell phone (worked fine but couldn’t record the call). This did not take a lot of time and I still felt in vacation mode.

When I returned, I was refreshed and ready to get back into the full swing of things at work and for the holiday preparations. I hope all of you find some time to take care of your needs to rest and relax this fall.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Self Care


“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~ Eleanor Brownn

Part of taking care of me is going away on vacations. I find that if I am at home, even if I have taken a day off from work, I still am working from the office or around my home. I always like to have a vacation planned to look forward to. Once a year or two, I like to take a long vacation and then scattered in between, I like long weekend trips.

I really reboot during these times away. I get uninterrupted time with my hubby or any family members we are visiting. I rest more. I eat different foods. I usually walk more. I come back with more energy to give to others.

I think of the spiel given by the airline personnel – “Put on our own oxygen mask before helping those around  you.” You are good to no one if you are dead – either literally or dead exhausted.

This next week I am going on a trip to Europe to study WWI sites and history. This trip will be headed up by my favorite brother (OK – only brother). Hubby is going with me as well as some other family members, friends, and others. I will not be working during this trip but I will take my IPad to check emails probably once a day. I am really looking forward to this trip and have been excited about it for a while.

When I return I will get back into harness with a renewed spirit.

Bon Voyage!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Priorities


“If you want to have the time of your life, change how you use the time in your life.” ~ Tim Fargo

As my family gets older and more geographically and age spread out, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time to get together and visit. When that opportunity does arrive, I want to  make certain that I grab it with both hands.

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to have family time with my 2 sons and wonderful daughter-in-law (as well as hubby). I feel so blessed to be able to have the whole day to visit, hug, walk, cook, eat, and talk, talk, talk. Everything else that I usually schedule for that Sunday found another time slot or got dropped altogether.

When I know family events are coming up, I look forward to them and make plans to enjoy the days to the fullest. I know that this summer I will see some of my family on a trip to Europe that my brother is heading up. This will be a glorious time for which I am already making plans. I also hope and expect to visit with some of my family at some other time – not yet determined.  I love my family time.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer