Friday, February 24, 2012

The Next Day Prep Checklist calls it the before bed routine. Others think of it as planning for tomorrow. Whatever you call it, the routine you go through to prepare for the next day is critical to staying organized and stress free. Here are some tips to make it effective for you.

Pick the time of day that works best for you. A before bed routine is great IF you are at least somewhat of a night person and have the energy to do the thinking and prepping. But what about if you are more of a morning person like me? Then a dinner hour routine may be better. While dinner cooks, do the prep work for the next day.

Include on your list the things that stress you out the most. Do you get most frustrated in the morning because
your technology isn't charged (i.e. phone, iPod, iPad or laptop, etc.) or because your outfit isn't picked out
Maybe you can't stand to leave the kitchen a mess. Whatever most stresses you, make sure this item is on
your "next day prep" checklist.

Prepare for more than one day in advance. If you are making sandwiches, for example, why not make a
couple more if it's the type that can remain fresh? For example, you can freeze peanut butter and jelly or
peanut butter and honey sandwiches for use the rest of the week.  When picking out one outfit, why not pick
out two or three?
Everyone's "next day prep" checklist will be different. Make it unique to you. When you wake up the next
morning, you'll be glad you did it! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Be Ready for the Unexpected

Do you ever have days where things go wrong...your phone isn't charged, you forgot to take the package you were supposed to mail, you've run out of laundry soap, the computer starts acting up, your neighbor needs a last minute ride to pick up his car at the shop. It can really put a crimp into your day. Here are a few tips to help keep these unexpected things from totally derailing your day.

Recharge nightly. As part of your end of day routine, check the status of electronic items you use daily such as a cell phone, laptop, or tablet. If necessary, plug these items in. (Sometimes it is better to let them run almost all the way down so they take a greater charge but still check them nightly.)

Create a spot for "to leave the house" items. You could put a nice basket or shelf by the door you most enter/exit from, or hang a tote bag on a hook. When you prepare a package, for example, to go to post office, put it by the door immediately.

Avoid running out of items. When you get toward the bottom of something like laundry soap, immediately add it to your shopping list. Don't wait. For some items, you may even want to be "one ahead." For example, you might start by buying two containers of laundry soap, and when you use up the first one, buy the next, always having one backup.

Allow cushion. Because technology inevitably seems to have a hard time working perfectly daily, allow some cushion, or as some folks put it, margin in your day. If you typically need 15 minutes each morning at the computer, schedule 20 or more. Turn on the computer and go do something else while it goes through its warm up cycle.

Clean and gas your car weekly. Pick one day a week to gas your car and while the gas is pumping, clean up the inside a bit by collecting trash and perhaps washing the windshield. Every few weeks, if you can afford it, take the car through a thorough car wash that also includes vacuuming. I pick up several of their free trash bags which will last me until the next major wash, if I switch them out with the weekly touch up at the gas station.

I recently had a last minute opportunity to pick up a friend for an event and it was nice to know my vehicle was relatively clean and presentable.

Some good systems exercised regularly can take the pressure off when the unexpected happens. You may not be able to forsee all interruptions, but you can be more prepared for them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Use Your Style

Discover whether you are primarily visual, auditory, or tactile, and organize your life accordingly. If visual, use a variety of colors on calendars and notes. If auditory, carry a small tape recorder to verbally "jot" reminders to yourself. If tactile, use a variety of surfaces--i.e. index cards to move around, a mix of styles of pens, etc. Most people are a combination of learning styles, but use your primary style to your advantage.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pictures are worth 1000 words!

This photo essay is of a small home office that a friend of mine reorganized over the holidays for about $75. I think the pictures explain the "before and after" so enjoy, and thanks to Lori for sharing!