The flight attendant is right, we need to put on our oxygen masks first sometimes!

We all need a break sometimes. Have you ever noticed how when you come back from a relaxing vacation or even just a weekend away that some of this issues on your task list that were bothering you before you left are a snap to wrap up when you get back? Now, I’m fully aware that although we’d like to be able to jet off to Aruba every few weeks it’s’ just not practical but what is? Could you schedule a massage for yourself after you’ve dropped the kids off at school one morning next week? What about just getting a pedicure? How about indulging in a matinee or just have lunch with a girlfriend and clock out for a few hours.

Personally I have been burning the candle at both ends for a while now and it’s become a concern to those that are close to me. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and don’t have much of an appetite. This isn’t healthy. One of the things that I started doing a few months ago is to schedule lunch with a girlfriend or even a work associate a few days during the week so that I have to eat and I can stay productive. I also have a few trips planned that will allow me to get out of my routine for a few days and come back fresh.

Keep a few of these suggestions in mind when you are at the end of your rope. I know that each and every one of us have been there at one time or another and it’s really hard to break things down when you are so overwhelmed, but try. Get out of the office, get out of the house and take a deep breath. Find a girlfriend or just go treat yourself to a pedicure or massage and don’t talk. Whatever works for you. The best part is, you don’t have to tell anyone you’re doing it either, it can just be our little secret, I promise!

What are you going to do for yourself today?

Elle Woods and the Power of Nice

 I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but haven’t had the time. I came up with the title a few months ago (as the way I usually come up with my topics) and this one is very close and personal to me. You see, I’m a nice person (at least I like to think I’m a nice person). I’m helpful, I do my best and I’m friendly. I’m certain there are a few people in the world that might not like me but hey, you can’t please everyone all the time and at my age I’m old enough to not worry my pretty little head about them anymore.

 I absolutely LOVED the movie Legally Blonde. I could relate to Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods. When I moved up to Greenwich, CT from Ft. Worth, Texas smack dab in the middle of high school I had the cutest outfits, did my hair and wore a smile on my face all day. Well, the east coast didn’t know exactly what to do with me so I decided to order some clothes from LL Bean, dye my hair back to brown from blonde and try to fit in a little more. I was miserable. Spring rolled around that Junior year in high school and the weather warmed up a bit and I realized how many adorable outfits that I had. Guess what? I decided that if anyone didn’t like what I was wearing, tough! I started wearing my cute outfits, doing my hair in the AM and yes, I still got teased but I threw it all back at them & everyone loved it, especially me. I’d found a way to “fit in” but on my own terms and I’ve been doing it ever since.

That taught me a lesson at an early age, be yourself and all will be fine. I’ve got to go to an Executive National Convention in early June and I’m terrified but guess what? I’m going to just be myself and those that “get me” will love me and those that “don’t” that’s their loss.

There is nothing wrong with being friendly and outgoing & it is my goal in running this business that I am able to run it effectively without becoming a bitch. Life is too short and its way too exhausting for me to behave like a bitch anyway, it’s just not in my nature!

Can you relate to Elle Woods?

Thoughts on a 20th reunion…

As I’m on my way to the airport to head out to Ohio for my reunion at Ohio Wesleyan I can’t help but think about how excited that I am to see all of my friends but also how might I be able to gracefully exit around 10 or so each night without catching too much garbage from my well-meaning friends that require far less sleep than I do…

We’ve just taken off out of LaGuardia airport on a glorious day and I’m flying over Yankee stadium & the George Washington bridge right now. It’s hard to believe that I’ll be down among the rat race next week while we attend the National Stationary Show at the Javitz Center.

For now though as the pilot says, I’m going to sit back, and enjoy the flight and try not to worry about out how to get myself out from the inevitable late night drinking that lays ahead. Hey, my Dad is there this weekend too. Maybe he can write me a note!

When is your next reunion?

Do only what you can do, it’s OKAY!

A lot of my Professional Organizing clients just needed me to “hold their hand” and give them permission to let go of certain items that they weren’t sure they needed anymore. I’m taking a similar tack with this post but I’m talking about planning your schedule.

If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that I have a massive football commitment with my son’s team from mid-August through to December 1st. Should any of our teams make the playoffs, November is insane for me. I have a weekly network meeting early on Monday morning. I spend most of my day Sunday at the football field and come home exhausted. Most of the time getting to that meeting is tough but during the playoffs it’s brutal. I am able to get a substitute which I’ve done occasionally but I’ve also just learned to cut myself some slack and if I can’t make it & don’t have a sub then that’s just the way it’s going to have to be. I won’t get kicked out of the group for an occasional absence and they know me well enough now to know that there would be good reason for me to have missed a meeting.

If you are going through a rough patch, look at your calendar and see where you can lighten your load. Is there an appointment that you could just reschedule until next week when things are quieter? Can someone else do the potluck? Could you just bring a cheese platter to the teacher appreciation instead of the scones you were planning on making from scratch?

It’s okay to not be at you 100% all the time. Taking a shortcut here and there or asking for help even (GASP) isn’t against the law. You might even find that many will commend you for asking for help and you might even show them that it’s okay to ask. There is way too much self-imposed stress on all of us these days. We need to learn to care for ourselves but more importantly, we need to learn our boundaries & then stick to them.

What has you overwhelmed at the moment?

Ever Misplaced your Coffee Maker?

Okay, I realize this is a lighthearted start to the day but I’m trying to make a point… your coffee maker sits on your counter in the kitchen, right?!  It has a place… if everything you need readily available had its place then you wouldn’t mis-place it as often because you’d always put it back where you found it.

Think about it, you wash the coffee carafe and then put it back with the coffee maker for the next day.  Why wouldn’t you do that with your car keys?  Put them on a hook by the back door (or the door to your garage).  If you have a handbag, put it under your desk (or use one of my favorite tricks and drill a hook underneath so that you can keep your bag up off the floor.

It’s a simple concept but one I’d like you to ponder…. If I didn’t keep my coffee maker in the same place, would I lose it?  If my car keys could always be at the back door how much time (and aggravation) would I save myself daily not having to look through the entire house…

What is it that you are always misplacing?

Overwhelmed by disorganization? Here is where you start…

What room or area in your home makes you cringe when you walk into it every day? This is precisely where you need to start getting organized.

Is your “mud room” or entry way making your skin crawl because there are shoes everywhere and coats/jackets thrown on the couch? Consider using these cubbies from Ballard Designs or even their coat rack which we use with a basket on the lower shelf for shoes.

Another problem area is the kitchen. Do you “air dry” your dishes? I’m not a big fan of this to be honest with you. Take the extra 3 or 4 minutes to finish the job completely and put everything away. It’s such a bummer to wake up to a mess the next morning so just finish it up or even better use the rule we have in our house, whomever cooks doesn’t have to clean the dishes that night.

Bedrooms got you down? Pop up laundry bins like these from Bed Bath & Beyond are great and you might remember me saying that I think everyone should have their own bin, don’t share! If you haven’t read my 5 Laundry Tips keep checking in, I’ll post it next week…

My garage makes me nuts so we’ve gone through and purged as much as we can so that we can fit our car into our single garage. It means we don’t have as much gardening pots and accessories as we used to but truth be told, we didn’t need them anymore anyway. I’d much rather protect my car than stuff we are no longer really using.

Start with what bothers you most and take a little time today to think how you can adapt the space to how it is being used. Chances are it will be very difficult to “break” your family’s habits so I suggest that you suck it up and figure out the best way to accommodate how the space is being used and come up with a solution that doesn’t make your eye twitch each time you go near it!

What part of the house makes you cringe?

Easy way to start the day fresh!

One of the things that I hate waking up to in the morning is coming downstairs to get my coffee and seeing dishes “air drying” on the counter near the sink. I’ve never understood how people can let dishes pile up in the sink either but that isn’t the problem in our house, it’s the ones that are drying from the night before.

I much prefer to come downstairs to a “clean slate” where I don’t have to deal with anything in my way from the night before.  My children do the dishes for me at night (love them) and I’ve taught them to just take the extra few minutes necessary to use a towel and dry the dishes completely and then put them away. It is an amazing feeling to know that with few exceptions I can leave the kitchen after dinner and they will take care of the rest. Do your kids help with the dishes? The process of teaching them definitely isn’t glamorous but definitely worth it!

What do your kids help you with around the house?