The Importance of Flexibility

We all are aware that if a tree is not flexible in the storm, it will break. So, it is with us.

When the storms come, we must have the ability and the willingness to change or compromise our plans for the upcoming day or longer.

My husband is now recovering from a cancer. The radiation has made it very difficulty to swallow much food and so we are doing tube feedings for nutrition 5 times a day. This means both of us have had to adjust our schedules accordingly and this has not been easy. This will be temporary and in time the tube feedings will diminish and finally be a thing of the past.

Usually we don’t have such big things that change our day to day life, but frequently little things can require flexibility if we don’t want to become upset or stressed. Almost weekly, I have some client that needs to change their appointment with me. Almost always it is a very good reason. Sometimes it is just because of their lack of planning but then again that might be something the client and I are working on. The bottom line is that my day’s schedule must now be changed. I have the choice of what to do with that “found” time. I can choose to write. I can also choose to read. I can work on a project. What I don’t want to do is squander this time.

Most of us have had to deal with such schedule changes due to a car not working, power outage, broken appliances, colds and other illnesses. Instead of stressing about the situation, look for a way to use that time. I find it helpful to have a list of tasks with an idea of how long that task will take. If I only have 15 minutes, I can clean out a drawer or take a short walk. If I have 30 minutes I can work on a blog or read.

The key point is that when events disrupt our lives, routines, and schedules, don’t shut down. Practice flexibility. Discover other directions and not squander this time.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Time Management and Health

This morning another client wanted to change his appointment for an organizing session. This happens fairly frequently with clients and often the reason is illness, exhaustion, or overwhelm. I’d like to explore how not just reducing clutter and organizing your space but also developing some good time management techniques could actually improve your health.

Here are some practices that help a person stay healthy.

  •  Healthy eating
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Keeping mentally active
  • Maintaining strong relationships
  • Taking vacations
All of the above practices take time and at best should become routine. If we push ourselves all day long at work and then squander what free time we have on social media or grabbing a snack, we will deplete ourselves and illness, exhaustion, and overwhelm will become a mainstay in our lives.
To allow time to develop these health practices we need to:
  • Develop schedules that are realistic – block off times for self as well as for work and then honor those times.
  • Prioritize – choose the 3 most important things you want to accomplish in a day and start your day with exercise and a good breakfast. Then end your day in time to get enough sleep.
  • Stop multitasking – do one thing and do it well. Aim to complete a task before moving on to another. When you take breaks from a task, make it a meaningful break not just a scroll through twitter or facebook. Instead, read an article or work on a puzzle or take a walk.
  • Schedule times to do things with friends and family. Schedule lunch dates. Schedule vacations. People who take annual vacations are less likely to die from heart disease. They are also less likely to suffer from stress and depression.
I struggle with some of this misuse of time myself and I know lifestyle shifts are not easy but our future selves will surely thank us if we start working on a couple of these practices.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Flexibility and Time Management

Nothing seems to happen exactly as planned. Well, rarely. Life happens.

You just can’t control the universe. Bad weather happens. Overpasses collapse. Illness happens. Other people have changes in their schedules that affect your plans. There seems to be daily obstacles to overcome so remaining flexible is key to survival.

Setting up a daily/weekly schedule certainly helps you manage your time. Routines are great! With daily/weekly routines you don’t have to think about every single task you do.

Each morning, as you start your day, look at the big 3 things you want to accomplish and any other tasks that are floating around. Then prioritize and pin actual times down to these tasks. This helps you focus on the important and high priority tasks first. This sets your intention for the day.

Keeping a balance between work, home, and personal health and well being is vital. Times for all these facets of your life should be scheduled and honored.

But at any given moment something might happen that throws that plan right out the window. Someone cancels an appointment with you or someone badly needs your help right now! The cat gets sick and needs to go to the vet. The computer crashes. You get the idea.

When these life events happen, step back and evaluate what just happened. Take a few moments to just breathe into this new reality. Don’t do an immediate knee jerk reaction. What is your priority now? How can you adjust your schedule? How can you keep a positive attitude? Here is where the ability to be flexible can keep your day or week from crashing down around you.

Take another look at your calendar. What can be dropped or moved to another day? If a cancelled appointment opens up time for you, what upcoming project can you work on now that will save you time and stress down the road? Breathe and move into your new reality for today. It’s all going to be OK and another day and opportunity will come tomorrow.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Getting Prepped for Back to School

It seems unreal that it is already time for school to begin but yet it is indeed that time. Planning ahead will make the transition from school break to back-to-school less stressful.

School generates a lot of paper even though more and more of it is on line. Make a plan for it now.
You will likely receive:

  • General school information such as calendar of events, school hours, rules, fees, team sports available, contact information, PTA news
  • Welcome letter from your child’s teacher with her information
  • List of needed school supplies
  • Lunch schedule
  • As the year progresses, student work and art will also pour in
I have seen people do very well with having a notebook for each child holding their school information and schedules as well as report cards. Others have scanned forms and reports and stored them on their phone or computer. A bin is helpful to store papers and art work.
Always keep graded school work until the end of each grading period. If there is a question about a grade, you have something to carry into the conference. At the end of each grading period, cull most of the work keeping only the best.
When the school calendar comes in, immediately put important dates into the family calendar. You don’t want to be caught short when there are teacher work days, early dismissals, known field trips, etc.
When the first general informational letter comes in, put into your phone important contact numbers such as the main office, the guidance counselor, or the nurse. Put titles into the contact list as well as the name (Nurse Sara Nightingale).
Set up a plan for all incoming paper your child carries home. Have a landing pad for all papers that you need to see such as field trip permission slips, picture day schedule, and item requests. At the beginning of the year, each day ask your child “Do you have anything that needs to be put in the basket for me to look over?” As the school year progresses you can fade out the questioning and let him become independent.
Most schools have planners where the children log in their homework assignments. At the beginning of the school year, check these daily. Have a calendar at your child’s workstation where he can learn to schedule projects that take more than one evening. Weekly clean out the backpack and put all graded work and art into a bin.
The first weeks of school can be stressful so plan ahead. Start practicing the week before school waking up to an alarm and following a morning routine. In the beginning use timers so that your child can play “beat the clock”. How much you break up the morning routine will depend on your child’s age and maturity. Older children might just need:
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Gather all supplies to go out the door
While younger children might need:
  • Wash up
  • Brush teeth
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get ready to go out the door
Have an assigned place for backpacks. Make it a nightly ritual to have backpacks ready and in place for the next school day.
Establish regular routines to minimize the morning hassle. Shoes will be lost. The soccer uniform will not have gotten washed. The dog will throw up on the rug. So control what you can and leave time for life absurdities.
Have a great school year!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Summer Freedom

Summer is usually a time when our schedules shift. Sometimes this leaves us feeling like we have more time than we really do. Our expectations change. I love to have the freedom to be spontaneous but I also need to have routines to ground me.

Routines block out my times so that I can see when I can have the luxury of unscheduled fun. Leaving some empty blocks on my calendar can be very exciting. I keep in mind my personal energy levels and try to schedule difficult tasks when I am at my peak. Some afternoons and evenings are better times to leave open while it is usually work as usual in the mornings.

I have a bucket list of some things I would like to accomplish during the summer. I love to give a summer party. I like to have some times to have lunch dates with friends. Usually during the rest of the year, our work schedules prevent this. I like to take in some outdoor concerts. I enjoy going to the Botanical Gardens. I love just sitting on the deck with my sweetie. I enjoy a mini vacation or two. But I do still have to plan and schedule in order to feel great about doing these fun activities. Life and work does go on in the summer even if it is at a slightly different level.

I am looking forward to a wonderful summer with all the extra freedoms that some good planning allows. Pardon me while I go pack.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer