Make Your Bed (And Other Productivity Tips from Mom)

A young woman making the bed and organizing the roomMoms love to make rules. We love to spout advice and impart little words of wisdom on our precious ones. But is anyone even listening? I know I didn’t feel like listening when I was a child. All of my mom’s rules and advice seemed so restrictive and controlling. But now…now that I’m a mom and can see how foolish I was…I know that mom’s advice was spot-on. Even if she didn’t realize it at the time, my mom’s rules helped me develop a good work ethic and create a lifetime of productive habits.

Five Habits Your Mother Was Right About:

Make Your Bed. I used to think making my bed was a waste of time. I figured I would mess it up again each night, and nobody would even see it during the day to know if it was made or not. But I discovered that the act of making the bed actually helps me set the tone for the rest of my day. If I wake up and make my bed then I’ve already accomplished something before the day has even started. I know it sounds strange but when I get dressed and leave my bedroom for the day, a tidy bed translates into an organized state of mind. So now matter how chaotic the day becomes, at least I’ve started with some semblance of order. And – here’s the bonus – when I collapse into bed at night, I’m not reminded of the messy pieces of my life.

Go Outside and Play. If you grew up the same way I did, you spent most of your weekends and summers outdoors. As soon as my chores were finished I left the house to ride bikes, play with friends or explore the woods behind my house. The exercise, fresh air and nature discoveries were abundant. I think that’s a huge part of what made me happy, healthy and creative. It’s not as easy now as it used to be, but I start most of my days outdoors – running or riding a bike. And I try to get outside every evening, even if it’s just to eat dinner on the back porch. Nature has a way of recharging me and giving me a fresh perspective to tackle whatever task I have at hand. [Read more…]

Organize Your Life in 20 Minutes a Week

summitA few weeks ago I completely missed an important lunch date with a friend. It was something I had been looking forward to – and it was on the calendar where it shouldn’t have been overlooked. But when she texted me to confirm just 10 minutes before our scheduled meeting, I knew instantly I had messed up. I had entirely forgotten our appointment. This doesn’t happen to me often because I’m slightly Type A when it comes to my calendar. But when it does happen, it’s always a result of one thing – I had neglected to conduct my Sunday Summit.

The Sunday Summit (a name I borrowed from a mentor of mine although I adapted her process to fit my lifestyle) is a weekly meeting I hold with myself to get organized and focused for the week. If you’re like most women, you’re juggling many different roles and responsibilities. And even though you are good about keeping your calendar up to date and managing your ever-expanding “To Do” list, things inevitably slip through the cracks. The Sunday Summit is my attempt to prevent that from happening. And it has the added bonus of helping me prioritize, reflect and communicate.

Here’s how it works: [Read more…]

Three Free Tools for Saving Time on Social Media

One morning I opened up my Facebook Page, determined to share something encouraging or funny or at least somewhat valuable and I stared at the blank “status update” window for about five minutes. I started typing a few times only to quickly delete the text and resume my writer’s block. Then, I did what any productive professional would do – I spent the next 20 minutes browsing through my feed hoping to be inspired or, at the very least, distracted. Eventually, I closed my browser without having left a comment. And I got to work.

Has that ever happened to you? I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we’re told that social media is a wonderful tool for business and that we need to make sure we’re active online. But sometimes, we’re just not in the mood to be social. Other times, we’re perfectly happy being social, spending hours mindlessly watching pet videos and liking someecards when we should be working…or spending time with our families. But we get swept up in all the smiling faces and we can’t seem to click away. (It happened to me twice while writing this blog post!)

That’s why I use a few tools to help me organize my time on social media. I’m not trying to be sneaky by pre-scheduling updates. Instead, I’m trying to be productive so that I’ll be able to spend my time online having real, live conversations with people – not stressing over what to write. And I’m getting help sifting through all the distracting (but entertaining!) messages so I can concentrate on the ones I want to read and comment on.

I rely on these three free social media management tools to help me better prioritize my time online: [Read more…]