Archive for the 'Time Management' Category

Organized for Student Success, Part 4: Organize the Student

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

Give the students in your home every advantage by working with them to develop excellent organizational skills.

Organize Time and School Work

Help your student(s) develop a plan to organize their time. Most students will receive an agenda book. Hold your student(s) accountable to using it. Help them develop good habits. It takes approximately 21 days of constant repetition to form a new habit. Offer them grace, as you encourage them in forming this new habit. It will help them succeed as a student and they will learn valuable lessons of time management for the future.

Teach them organizing skills as you work with them to set aside specific places in their binder, notebook, or folders for homework, current work, and completed work. Many teachers will share their suggestions for organization with you and your students. Take advantage of their wisdom and experience. Finally, consider creating a file box at home to store completed work, filed by subject. When their binder or folders begin to bulge, they will have an easy and convenient place to file their work away, while still having quick access to it for future needs.

Organize a Study Area

A Functional Work Space from PBteen

Create an area in your home specifically for doing homework. This area should be will lit and quiet, with a work area and a supportive chair. It is also helpful to have storage for basic study helps and school supplies. This is the perfect time to inventory all your school and office supplies while reorganizing the area for ease of use. This is an easy process, which includes a few simple steps:

  • Think through how you want your space to look and function
  • Empty out any drawers, cabinets, bins or files that are storing office and/or school supplies
  • Group like things together. Create sub categories such as; Art Supplies, Paper Supplies, Pens and Pencils, Notebooks and Binders, Office Supplies etc.
  • Toss or donate any damages or obsolete supplies
  • Return the “keep” pile to the space and think through what, if any, storage accessories or containers you many need
  • Finally, store often used supplies close at hand, while utilizing harder to reach space for seldom used supplies

Happy (and Organized) School Days!

Cheryl

Be sure to check out all of the articles in the Organized for Student Success Series;  Part 1: Saving on Supplies, Part 2: The College Years, Part 3: The Traveling Student, Part 5:  Organize Their Space, and Part 6:  Organize Their School Memories.

Spring Cleaning, Really?

I LOVE spring. I look forward to it all winter. Many things come to mind when I think spring: light, clean, cool, Easter, outdoors, sun, open windows, longer days, flowers, and……. SPRING CLEANING?

I LOVE the IDEA of spring cleaning and actually having every surface of my home clean at the same time! But, I must say, I have 5 very good reasons NOT to spring clean. 5 acres, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 goats, 1 dog and only one life, and this life is ready to celebrate and enjoy spring! According to wikipedia, spring cleaning refers to the,

Yearly act of cleaning a house from top to bottom, which would take place in the first warm days of the year, typically in spring, hence the name.

In the past, homes were heated by coal and wood fires and come the end of winter, there was a definite need to open up the house and clean out, top to bottom.

I have the desire to have every surface of my home clean. But, I don’t want to spend my days cleaning, during what can be the most beautiful time of the year! So, what is the alternative?

Rather than cramming all your heavy cleaning jobs into a week or two in the spring, have a year long cleaning plan. Create a check off list of ALL the jobs you wish to accomplish throughout the year. Think of it as spreading your SPRING CLEANING throughout 12 months, rather than 2 weeks. Then set aside 30-45 minutes per week to devote to heavy cleaning. With very little effort, you have set aside almost 40 hours (45 minutes x 52 weeks) which, practically speaking, is more time than you would devote to spring cleaning anyway. And best of all, you have a clean house AND you are able to get outside and enjoy spring!

Throughout the year, do the jobs that make sense for the season.

Then in March and April do only your spring jobs. They might include:

  • We will be opening windows soon and getting outside, it’s the perfect time to clean the windows, sills and screens
  • Clean off the porches and decks. Pull out the cushions and deck furniture
  • Switch out fall and winter clothes for spring and summer. Take advantage of this time to purge and lighten your load.  Any clothes that you haven’t worn in the past season should be tossed or donated, depending on their condition. To protect clothes that are being stored, remember to wash them before packing them away and then, make sure they are stored in a clean, cool, dark, and dry place. It’s also the perfect time to take note of any clothing needs for next fall and winter and take advantage of winter clearance sales.
  • Switch out the snow suits, gloves and hats for the beach towels, goggles and suntan lotions.
  • Finally, get outside and begin your garden projects!

Enjoy spring AND a clean house!

Happy (and organized) spring!

Cheryl

Originally Posted April 5, 2009

We Talked. We Drank. We Got Organized!

This past Tuesday, I hosted my 1st ever Coffee and Conversation at Birdies Cafe.

Thanks ladies, for sharing that time with me. It was as I had imagined. Just a perfect opportunity to get women of different walks, interests, and ages together to encourage each other in our common pursuit of simplicity and organized living.

Yesterday’s topic was “Paper, Paper, Everywhere“. Yes, it is a universal problem!

Aside from discussing tips and habits for reigning in everyday mail and paperwork, we talked a bit about the overwhelming amounts of artwork that our little ones create. It’s a tricky, and often times, emotionally laden subject. We tend to feel that we have to save every single piece of artwork. As the months and years slip by, and with multiple children in the family, the artwork can take over! And when the volume is so great, it can become clutter rather than treasures.

When the artwork begins to overtake your home, it’s time to consider your options. The solution is twofold.

  • First of all you need to decide on a temporary display, what I will  call,  a “Creation Zone“, within your home. This might be in the kitchen, family room, playroom or your child’s bedroom.  When the creation zone is full of art, it’s time to take them down to make room for the next set of masterpieces.
  • Next, as you take down one group of artwork, simply pull out your favorites, your child’s favorites, or those pieces that truly show off your child’s personality and creativity and decide on a dedicated space to save these masterpieces. It can be as simple as a file box with hanging files for each year , a banker box with large envelopes for each year, or you can purchase an art file or or art box.

Mom’s (and Dad’s and Grandma and Grandpa!), check out these simple ideas for setting up a “Creation Zone” in which to display, cherish, and quickly and easily, change up your little one’s masterpieces…….

1. A tip from Tammy F. during Coffee and Conversation:

Gather all of your child’s artwork for the month (or the week, depending on the volume). Tape or tack them up on a wall and take a picture of your child in front of them. Next pick your favorites to save and store, and toss the rest. You are left with a chronicle of ALL their work, along with their current picture, and you have saved for the future.

Thanks, Tammy! This is an excellent tip that I will share with others!

2.  Check out this storage frames from Dynamic Frames.  This is a front-opening art cabinet with a latch. This frame can store up to 50 pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 artwork with the front piece being displayed. It couldn’t be any easier to display and change up your child’s artwork. It has a single bevel-cut mat and can be mounted to the wall vertically or horizontally, or it can be used tabletop with the stand that is included.

Easily Display and Store Your Child's Artwork

3. You can simply hang all your child’s creations for the week with clips along one wall in your home. Again, after this space is full, take out your favorites, and store them away, to make room for the next group of creations. Check out the 3 options below. Hang a curtain rod, equipped with  clips to hang their art. The picture below was posted on Make and Takes Blog, in an excellent article written by Heidi Smith of the Budget Wise Home Blog. Any clothes line with clip will work, or you can purchase the Work of Art Clips from The Land of Nod. Finally, try a simple cable system, as pictured below from West Elm.

Work of Art Displayed on a Curtain Rod

Work of Art Clips

 

It's So Easy to Display Artwork on a Cable System

3. Create a magnetic wall to simply display their artwork. It’s easy, quick, and fairly inexpensive. Magnetic paint is readily available at home centers. You can paint the area any color that you wish and trim it up with strips of molding, which can be nailed directly into the wall.

Make a "Creation Zone" with Magnetic Paint

Next, simply pull out your favorites, your child’s favorites, or those pieces that truly show off your child’s personality and creativity and decide on a dedicated space to save these masterpieces. Quickly and easily, create a portfolio with a file box hanging files for each year or a banker box with large envelopes for each year. Or you can purchase any number of products for a quick and easy solution.

  1. A quick and easy, home-made art portfolio:

A Home-made Art Portfolio

2. Check out The Art File from The Container Store. It is made of heavy fiberboard and has metal label holders on two sides.

The Art Storage Box

 

3. Finally, check out this expandable file by Alex Toys  made specifically for a  child’s artwork.

The options are unlimited. Get creative with your child, and design your own art portfolio!

Join us this Tuesday, April, 5th, as we tackle the subject, “Spring Cleaning, Really?”

I LOVE the IDEA of spring cleaning and actually having every surface of my home clean at the same time! But, I must say, I have 5 very good reasons NOT to spring clean. 5 acres, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 goats, 1 dog, and only 1 life, and this life is ready to celebrate and enjoy spring!

So, come chat about the “how” of actually getting our homes in order, without being locked in our homes during what (is going to be!) a beautiful spring!

What:    Coffee and Conversation

Why:    To Get “In Order for Life”!

When:  Tuesdays, 9 AM, Spring

Where: Birdie’s Cafe, 233 East Main Street, Westminster, MD

Happy (and Organized!) spring!

Cheryl

Get In Order for the Holidays, Part 4

Cleaning

This is the time of year when your doors are open, friends are in and out, and company is on the way! Make it easy on yourself, and get your house in order early, so that you can enjoy! This is NOT the time of year for major home repairs or projects – save those for the slower times of year.

First, decide what needs to be done. Then decide on a realistic schedule to get those jobs accomplished.

Begin with jobs that won’t get undone:

  • De-clutter and purge – make room for the holidays!
  • Clean carpets if needed
  • Clean silver
  • Do the Great Exchange:  Switch out spring & summer for fall & winter linens, platters and dishes. Switch out the beach towels and chairs for gloves & hats and sleds & clothes
  • Purge and organize your pantry – prepare for the holiday cooking and baking
  • Clean out the oven, refrigerator and freezer

Next, Get caught up on basic cleaning each week. If you are overwhelmed with your cleaning list, consider some of the following options:

  • Use a timer and set it for 15 minutes several times a day – it is amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes of focused time!
  • Eliminate some of the jobs in your list
  • Delegate! Get your family members involved
  • Hire help, if possible (this is a great gift for both yourself and your family!)

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time and Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide , Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Cheryl

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 2

Part 2: Take Time to Make Time

The countdown is on. It is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Celebrating Jesus.  Come to earth as a baby for you and me!

Over the years, our celebration has come to include SO MANY things; family and friends, meals out, gift giving, parties, evenings in, shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, and cooking. And the list goes on! In the midst of it all, life doesn’t stop. So, HOW do we fit it all in?

Plan first. Do second.

You have heard it all before. Make your list. Check it twice. I would like to add a third step. Cross off your list (before you DO it!).
Most of us shop too much, bake too much, cook too much, eat way too much, plan too much, and generally wear ourselves out. At a time when we want to slow down and appreciate what Christmas really means and enjoy those around us, we so easily clutter our minds and our time with so much busyness.

Truly, this bit of advice, to cross off some things on your list, will save you time and energy, and help make time for all those things and people in life that are most important to you.

As you are making your plans this year, take a few minutes to really consider what is important to you and your family. Take a few minutes to create a mission statement for your holiday season. A good mission statement will succinctly define what you and your family are trying to accomplish and what you value. It will provide you with a vision as you are planning.
As you think through your own mission statement, simply ask yourself what you really want for the holiday season (and what you don’t want!).

Personally, I want:
To draw closer to God and understand the meaning of Christmas
To have sweet time with my family
To be able to give and serve more to those in need
To slow down and put aside my To Do list
To catch up with old friends
To enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasures of the days

I don’t want:
To get caught up in the shopping frenzy
To spend $ we don’t have
To be too busy and over-scheduled

Take a few minutes to create your own holiday mission statement and use it as you are planning for the weeks to come.
As you are making plans, think through what traditions you have and why. Make a list of them. From decorating to Christmas caroling, from serving to gift giving, from spiritual life to family gatherings.

Keep those traditions that you love, and be willing to let go of those you don’t love or have outgrown. Families and people change! We tend to begin new traditions as our families grow. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to continue every tradition that you ever started.

Next, include your family. Share your list with your family. Ask what is important to them. You may be surprised!
Now it’s time to look ahead and come up with a plan that is both realistic and simplified.

Take time to make time for those things and people in your life that are most important to you.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Cheryl

Organized for Student Success, Part 3: Organize the Student

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

Give the students in your home every advantage by working with them to develop excellent organizational skills.

Organize Time and School Work

Help your student(s) develop a plan to organize their time. Most students will receive an agenda book. Hold your student(s) accountable to using it. Help them develop good habits. It takes approximately 21 days of constant repetition to form a new habit. Offer them grace, as you encourage them in forming this new habit. It will help them succeed as a student and they will learn valuable lessons of time management for the future.

Teach them organizing skills as you work with them to set aside specific places in their binder, notebook, or folders for homework, current work, and completed work. Many teachers will share their suggestions for organization with you and your students. Take advantage of their wisdom and experience. Finally, consider creating a file box at home to store completed work, filed by subject. When their binder or folders begin to bulge, they will have an easy and convenient place to file their work away, while still having quick access to it for future needs.

Organize a Study Area

Create an area in your home specifically for doing homework. This area should be will lit and quiet, with a work area and a supportive chair. It is also helpful to have storage for basic study helps and school supplies. This is the perfect time to inventory all your school and office supplies while reorganizing the area for ease of use. This is an easy process, which includes a few simple steps:

  • Think through how you want your space to look and function

    An Organized Space by PB teen

  • Empty out any drawers, cabinets, bins or files that are storing office and/or school supplies
  • Group like things together. Create sub categories such as; Art Supplies, Paper Supplies, Pens and Pencils, Notebooks and Binders, Office Supplies etc.
  • Toss or donate any damages or obsolete supplies
  • Return the “keep” pile to the space and think through what, if any, storage accessories or containers you many need
  • Finally, store often used supplies close at hand, while utilizing harder to reach space for seldom used supplies

Happy (and Organized) School Days!

Cheryl

Be sure to check out all of the articles in the Organized for Student Success Series;  Part 1: The College Years, Part 2: The Traveling Student, Part 4:  Organize Their Space, and Part 5:  Organize Their School Memories.

Kids and Time Management

Taking the Nagging out of Parenting
Sound too good to be true?
Read on……….
I returned home from teaching the first session of an organizing workshop.  One section of the workshop was devoted to “Becoming the family Manager”.  Some of the specific skills we discussed included:
  • Thinking through what needs to be done before forging through our day.
  • Based on these needs, developing a plan of action.
  • Writing that plan down and sticking to it.
  • Using the “Kindergarten Model of Organization” and storing everything needed for a specific task at its point of use.
  • And using a timer to help keep you on task.
Soon after returning home, I checked my emails and found a recommendation from a fellow organizer for a great new product, On Task On Time for Kids, by Timely Matters, Inc.  The timer is designed to help children develop these same time management skills.
On Task On Time for Kids is a unique time management system designed to be used by kids to help them organize routines in the morning (getting ready for school), in the afternoon (transitioning from school to home activities), and in the evening (getting ready for bed).
Daily routines are created by applying task stickers to a Routine Disk.  The Routinre Disk is then inserted into the On Task Timer Unit, and the child sees what tasks should be completed, what tasks should be done now, and what tasks are coming up next.
It is designed for children between the ages of five and twelve and is available with both girl and boy illustartions.  It is easy to read (even for pre-readers), fun to look at, and easy to carry.
“Let On Task On Time for Kids ease you and your family in and out of your day, reduce stress, and take the nagging out of parenting!”
Check it out.  Give it a try……….
Visit Timely Matters, Inc. at www.timelymatters.com for ordering information.
Hmm……Do you think we could come up with a version for the High School student!?
Blessings to you!
Cheryl

The Timer is Our Friend

I am a morning person. I wake up ready to move, with a racing mind and many good intentions. Generally, there is more on my mind than I could possibly accomplish and I have a tendency to try and accomplish way too many things at one time, moving from one project to another, not accomplishing any of them.

On my best days, I hit the floor running and I multitask beautifully. On a good day, I discipline myself to finish one thing before starting another. On a jumbled day, I start many projects at one time, both physically and mentally jumping from one task to another, and end up a bit frustrated and behind.

I always have a mental (and often a written) list of what needs to be accomplished within the hour or even the next few minutes. But as I begin work in one area, I am too often thinking about and moving on to other areas.

That is where the timer comes in.

If you find yourself “wandering” from one task or project to another and having difficulty completing any of them, try utilizing the timer. It is amazing what you can accomplish in a specific room or on a specific task when you are truly uninterrupted.

If I set the timer for just 10 minutes and determine to focus on one area (for example, the kitchen and only the kitchen) for those 10 minutes, I can truly whip that room into shape. Then I’ll turn the timer off and move on to more, shall we say, exciting or challenging tasks at hand.

You can also use the timer to help you complete larger jobs. Rather than being overwhelmed with the enormity of a job, try setting a timer for 30 minutes or an hour. Truly focus on the task at hand, and determine to stop when the timer goes off. Then repeat this process as many times as necessary to complete the task. I think you will be amazed at what you have accomplished in a short, uninterrupted period of time and you will find it will go much faster than you imagined.

Moms, you can also use the timer to help your small children complete a task. They too, may be overwhelmed by very simple jobs. A timer with a challenge to complete a task in 3-5 minutes can help change their focus, even making it seem fun, like a game.

Yes, I truly did have to discipline myself NOT to leave my partially clean kitchen, to wander into my office and begin this article.

Happy tasks!!        

       

  


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Organizing Just Got Fun!
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