Holidaze? Keep Calm and Plan

Both fall and winter bring much anticipation and energy around various holidays.  So many of us find ourselves busy with endless tasks of decorating, cooking, baking, events, gift wrapping, sending cards, parties…the list is endless.  Much of these activities are happening right in the middle of the busy life that you already have! 

Wondering if it’s possible to feel less stressful during the Holidaze?    With proper planning and time-management strategies, you can create your ideal holiday season.  Below are five steps to help you enjoy the Season of Seasons.

imageStep 1:  Create a vision.

Find a quiet time to imagine an ideal holiday season.  Think about each holiday that you celebrate during this time and develop a vision for each of them.

Think about what appeals to you and what doesn’t.  Ask yourself “What are my goals?  What is important to me?” Do you want to increase time spent with your family? To spend time with close friends?  To participate in holiday/religious activities?

Step 2:  Make a list.

Now set your TimeTimer for 5 minutes and make a list of all of the tasks and events that you want to accomplish for each holiday.  Using a timer will decrease the likelihood of becoming overwhelmed with too many details.  When adding items to your list, ask yourself “Is it manageable?  Does it support my vision/goals?”

Step 3:  Use a Calendar

Now get out your calendar.  You can use either a paper or digital planner, whichever best fits your lifestyle.  Place events and  activities on your calendar from your list, work/school calendars, religious organizations, Evites, emails, etc.  Remember, only add items to your calendar that are important to you and that align with your vision for the holiday.  It’s also helpful to color code your calendar either by holiday, family member, or work/personal/school.  Don’t forget  to schedule a time for tasks such as baking, decorating, gift wrapping, and even un-decorating!  Using a calendar creates a timeline and makes your schedule visible for you and your family. 

Step 4:  Create a System.

As you go through the various tasks and events of your holiday season, create a system for keeping track of necessary information so that you will have access to them each year.  Consider using a binder, a program such as OneNote or Google Drive, or a tub/basket with folders to organize your items.  Label your system for information such as decorating ideas, party themes, guest lists, addresses,  favorite recipes, etc.  You may even want to take pictures of your decorations and holiday storage items and add them to your system.  Creating a system will save you valuable time during the next Holidaze.

Step 5:  De-stress.

Whether or not you follow the first 4 steps, finding time to de-stress will be the most important thing that you do for yourself and others around you.  Between the endless cooking, spending too much money, and overcommitting, you will need regular intervals of time to de-stress.  Whenever you feel anxious, stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed, try a few of these strategies to get centered and refocused on your goals.

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation (even if it’s just for 2 minutes)
  • Gratitude journal
  • Regular movement/exercise
  • Seek and accept support.  Delegate tasks and ask your family to share in responsibilities.  Enlist help from friends or even hire help for cleaning, cooking, and professional organizing!
  • Say “Yes” to saying  no. Give yourself permission to say no to obligations and traditions that do not support your vision. 

However you plan to celebrate this holiday season, intentional planning can help fulfill your vision of the ideal holiday season!

Read more on http://www.timetimer.com/blogs/news/holidaze-keep-calm-and-plan

 

Summer = Time-gained, not time lost

We’ve all heard about the amount of learning that students lose during the summer break.  But one important thing to know is that summer does not necessarily mean that time will be lost.  Here are three tips to help your child gain time during the summer!

 

Tip #1-Read:  Parents often ask, “What can I do to help my child with his/her reading over the summer?”  More often than not, they are looking for the best workbooks, apps, camps, or programs.  But the truth is, the #1 way to gain reading skills is for your child to just read.  Read whatever he/she enjoys–graphic novels, sports magazines, humorous fiction, a favorite series, nonfiction, whatever! Sure, your child also needs to tackle the summer reading requirements (if any) from school, but find time to let them get lost in a good story.

Tip #2-Relax:  Don’t overschedule your summer.  Give you and your child permission to rest. The school year can be pretty demanding for families.  Develop aimage summer schedule that works for your family.  If your kids enjoy sleeping in, then allow them that opportunity.  If mealtime is important to your family, then don’t rush through lunch just to make sure your child gets that math practice in.  Enjoy your downtime and schedule your child’s work time.  Use Time Timer as a visual way to keep track of your child’s work time.  When the timer goes off, it’s done.  Allow him/her to go back to the activities that are enjoyable.  Click here to view the various products offered from TimeTimer.

 

Tip #3-Rejuvenate passions:  All camps do not need to be academic or focused on your child’s weakness(es).  Allow your child time to enjoy his/her passions without the typical worries of arranging their hobby around their school schedule.  It’s their summer, too!  Check out the daily themes in this family’s summer schedule.image

These are just a few ideas for creating a summer where time is gained and not lost.  If you’re headed back to school in a few weeks, it’s not too late to start with some of these tips!  The key is consistency, not duration.

Interested in jump-starting your child for back-to-school, schedule a Student Assessment and observation to help your child gain organizing and time-management skills to prepare for the upcoming school year!

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Your organizing coach,

@tiffanyblass

twblassingame@gmail.com

 

5 Steps to Organizing Kids’ Schoolwork at Home

Recently, I saw an Instagram post of a family participating in an annual burning of their children’s many worksheets, workbooks, and unnecessary papers to celebrate the end of the school year.  I was quite proud of the paper-burning mom’s attempt to declutter and to rid her home of paper clutter. It reminded me of questions that I am asked often by overwhelmed parents, “What do I do with all of the ‘stuff’ that my kids bring home from school?  Do I throw it away? How do I know what to keep? Is it possible to manage it all?”

Here’s the 5-step reflective process that our family implements each school year.

Step 1:  Purchase a 12 x 12 scrapbook case for each child.  These cases are large enough to hold standard worksheets, several art projects, and memory items.


Step 2:  Each week during the school year, go through each child’s weekly folder/backpack and determine papers to keep.  In our home, we keep all graded work (because teachers sometimes make mistakes, I know because I am one).  All papers to keep are placed in the the scrapbook case.

Step 3:  Consider placing holiday cards, memory items, and celebration programs in the scrapbook case throughout the school year.

Step 4:  Once the school year ends, pull out the scrapbook case WITH  your child.  Along WITH your child, pull out the trash can and recycle bin and begin to declutter the items in the scrapbook case.


DISCARD:  All worksheets, tests, school announcements/newsletters, and used workbooks.  This task will get rid of the majority of the items that are in the case.  It is probably what the paper-burning mom enjoys setting fire to each year.  However, my son enjoys keeping graded work that demonstrates his effort of studying/practicing hard for something.  So we usually keep those papers (usually no more than 3-5).

DONATE:  Barely used composition notebooks, pencils, erasers, and books.  This year, we donated all notebooks except for math-that notebook happened to have really good notes and reference pages that he will use for his summer study routine.

KEEP:  Interesting artwork; Memory items  (Grandparent’s Day photo, 5th grade graduation program, thank you notes from teachers); special folders that showcase an experience (science camp folder, school visit in Peru, technology fair); certificates and awards.

Step 5:  Place all KEEP items back in the scrapbook case.  If your items do not fit, you may need to go through the steps of DISCARD-DONATE-KEEP again with your child.  You might also consider showcasing your child’s artwork in the home or taking pictures of the projects/bulky items that your child wishes to keep.

Remember, your child should be an integral part of the process.  Sure it’s much easier to go through all of those papers and throw (or burn) them without several interruptions and protests.  But going through this process with your child is actually teaching them to make decisions and to be reflective about their choices.

If you find this process to be difficult for you or your family, contact me at twblassingame@gmail.com to schedule a decluttering session with your child.

Best wishes for the end of the school year and to transitioning to summer activities!

@tiffanyblass

 

3 Quotes from Prince to Keep You Organized

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Don’t worry about the rules and  methods that you keep reading about. Just take action and be determined to master the mess!

                     8340999_600x338-500x282-1.jpgBe prepared.  The unexpected happens. Keep emergency kits, copies of important legal and financial documents, and extra pairs of clothes and snacks (for the kids!) in a place where you can find them when you need them.                                             6e36ca466b429569f0055ecd4f6ca623.jpg

 

 

The ultimate goal of getting organized is to simplify your life.

 

 

 

Has Prince inspired you?

Get your playlist together and contact Simple Organization to get started today on simplifying your life!

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3 Key Action Tips to Reclaim Your Energy

 

Most of the time when we think about decluttering, we think of cleaning off our kitchen counters, organizing our workspaces, and finding the space we need in our closets.  But lately, I find myself drained, tired, and overwhelmed to the point where it’s difficult to tackle my household and family needs because I’m depleted both mentally and emotionally.  This led me to begin searching for ways to declutter mental stress and to reclaim my energy!

I read a recent blog by Patrice Washington who says “It’s your job to teach people how to treat you.”  This I know for sure:  You can’t do this by sitting around hoping that others will “get the picture” and recognize what you need.

So here are some Key Action Tips to Reclaiming Your Energy!

Action Tip One:

Protect your energy by saying, “NO!”  That’s right…say it with me, “N-O, NO!” Before you can begin decluttering the unnecessary stressors in your life, you must first start with not bringing any additional stress on yourself.  Just because an idea sounds good, doesn’t mean that you have to say yes to doing it.  Just because you want to be polite, doesn’t mean you have to agree to adding one more thing to your laundry list of things to-do.  What activities or opportunities are you allowing to continuously find themselves on your calendar?  Give yourself permission to Just Say No.

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Action Tip Two:

Schedule time for yourself.  For me, this is the key to my sanity.  I realize that when I am often frenzied and anxious throughout the day, it is because I have gotten out of the habit of scheduling time for myself.  Each morning, I begin my day with prayer, scripture, and meditation.  It’s before I do ANYTHING ELSE for ANYBODY ELSE.  I give myself the moment that I need to find peace and to foster mindfulness.  I look over my schedule, and I organize my thoughts on the best ways to maximize my productivity for the day.  It only takes 15-20 minutes of my time.  But I’ve taken care of myself FIRST.  And that’s what matters.  What does scheduling time for yourself look like?  Is it a cup of coffee in the morning?  An inspirational podcast at lunch?  An evening workout?  A meditation walk? Find time each day and block out that time on your calendar for yourself.

Action Tip Three:

Do a FRIEND-entory.  Yeah, and you probably need to add some family members to that list as well.  The truth is, many of our friends and family can take every ounce  of our energy.  As harsh as it may sound, it’s important that you begin asking the right questions about the people who you are allowing to take up mental space and emotional energy in your life.

1-Who are they?

2- What are they doing?

3-Where are they going?

The answers to these questions should line up with the answers that you would give if you asked the same questions about yourself.  If your friends aren’t sharing similar dreams, traits, and life plans, it’s time to reevaluate the emphasis that they have in your life.  It doesn’t mean that you stop talking to them or checking on them, but it does mean that you find ways to schedule them into your life versus scheduling  your life around them and their needs.

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Here’s a BONUS TIP:  Try this same practice with evaluating your friends and who you are following on your social media sites.  Your feed should not be full of someone’s disrespectful words and ignorance just because they were in your ninth grade World History class.  Unfriend or unfollow that person if they are bringing negative energy in your life.

What’s next?

START NOW!  It’s that simple.  Start today with putting these key action tips into practice.  Remember, it takes practice to develop a habit.

For more details about decluttering and simplifying your life, follow @tiffanyblass on Twitter and Simple Organization Facebook page.

🙂

Tiffany

#teacherpreneur

 

 

 

 

Student Organizing 101

Many families search for ways to get into a new routine or to get back on track during the school year.  Below are my top tips for creating and maintaining systems for your children at home and school.

  1. Assess your child(ren)’s time with the 24-hour wheel (attached).   
      • Choose a day of the week.
      • Fill in the required hours of non-negotiable activities (sleep, school, commuting)
      • Determine amount of time for meals, morning and bedtime routines, after school activities, homework, chores, etc.IMG_4293
      • The amount remaining is the available free time that your family/child is able to spend for self-selected activities.

 

2.  Choose an All-in-One Method. The All-in-One strategy creates 1 place to find items.

      • Use a large basket (laundry or home storage unit) as a launching pad for each child.  When the child gets home from school, everything goes in the launching pad—backpack, lunchbox, gym clothes, soccer cleats, phone, EVERYTHING.  With your child, determine an organizing time-possibly after dinner, during homework, or right before bed to go through the items and clean out things that are not needed as well as to put in necessary items for the following day. The next morning, all items should be in that one place for you to dash out the door!
      • Use a shower caddy or clear bin to create an all-in-one school supply station for each child. Place everything in the caddy/bin that your child will probably need during homework or study time.  This station will lessen distractions and help your child to remain focused on the his/her assignment rather than finding a pencil, favorite pencil grip, USB cord, or the yellow crayon!
      • Use a Master Binder to keep all work, assignment information, and loose notebook paper.  I suggest

~Duo 7-Pocket Accordion File Binder: Amazon.com. An all-in-one binder that combines a 3-ring binder with an accordion folder.

~Case-it binders: caseit.com. An all-in-one master binder -the Dual-101 comes with two sets of rings.

3.  Talk with your child about strategies and solutions for staying organized at school. Ask him/her to share ideas of how to stay better organized and what challenges he/she faces.  Determine one or two key areas to focus on and communicate your plan with your child’s teacher(s).  It is important for your family to come up with the plan and to reach out to the teacher for support of that plan.  Don’t expect the teacher to devise the plan that will work for you.  Your child’s organizational strategy should be personalized for your family. 

Then, be patient with the process 🙂

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Looking for a way to help your child reach his/her fullest potential?

Our online assessment considers the whole child, not just grades. It includes the following:

  • activities and interests
  • strengths and challenges
  • goals
  • personal habits such as eating, sleeping, and exercise
  • study habits
  • learning style
  • thinking style

It only takes about 30 minutes to complete and you will be rewarded with a variety of recommendations for helping your child organize their space, manage their paper and time, and study effectively; all specifically tailored to the way they learn and think.

Email Tiffany at twblassingame@gmail.com to get started today!

Looking forward to serving your family,

@tiffanyblass

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