Taking Back the Time I Waste on Social Media

social media

We love social media. Some of us admit to being downright addicted to checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts many, many times a day. I’ve come to realize all my social media “checking” comes at a big cost. This cost is time, energy, stress, and anxiety.

Josh and Ryan, aka “The Minimalists,” spoke at The Neptune theater in Seattle recently, and told their story of how they rescued their lives from debt and consumerism to a huge captive audience. It was an instructional evening in many ways, but my main take away from the evening was this: minimalism is much more than the purging of physical stuff or rejecting consumerism (although that is a large part of it). Josh and Ryan could call their presentation: “How to Live a Deliberate Life”: ridding ourselves of everything in our lives that weighs us down, stresses us out, imprisons us, distracts us, kidnaps our thoughts, confuses us, overwhelms us, or keeps us from being able to do only those things which are truly important to us.

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Part 2 – Does the Thought of Tax Preparation Make You Panic?  How We Can Help

Organize your paperwork

Unless you are an accountant, for many of us, filing our tax returns ranks on the list of fun activities right next to root canals. Some of us get through this yearly chore one way or another and file our taxes by the deadline.

For others, it is not so easy. Many Americans who struggle with this deadline may end up paying hefty penalties for filing their taxes late or not at all. There could be many potential reasons for filing late, but for some, the reason is simply disorganization.

All over the United States families struggle with the volume of paper coming into the home. Catalogues, magazines, kids’ schoolwork and projects, work papers, receipts, oh and – mail, enter our homes daily.

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Organize Your Home by Marginal Gains

Marginal gains contribute to a more organized home.

If you improve how you manage different areas of your home by just 1%, would that lead to staying more organized in the long run? You bet.

This brilliant concept, called “aggregation of marginal gains” was utilized by Dave Brailsford, who took a historically good but un-winning U.K. cycling team and made many small improvements, which contributed to their win of the Tour De France just three years later.

For the U.K. cycling team, this meant 1% improvement in a whole slew of things from aerodynamics, nutrition, healthcare, the list goes on and on, but the sum of all those incremental changes contributed to the Tour de France win. Great athletes, with incremental changes and improvements in their training regime became winning athletes.

Some families suffer from chronic disorganization and benefit from outside assistance to get to a base level of functionality. Marginal gains would be helpful but not enough for those families. For many of us, who have average organizational struggles, we can identify a list of problem areas that are causing us to be late, unproductive, stressed, scattered or anxious. Tiny changes in each of these problem areas will contribute to marginal gains, thus more productivity, less stress, and lower anxiety in the long run.

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Why Decluttering Your Kitchen Will Help You Eat Healthier

Eat Healthier
It’s the month of January and many of us are trying to eat healthier and make better food choices. We know that clutter causes stress, anxiety and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Not many realize that a cluttered environment can also keep us from being successful in making good food choices. What if our home environment, specifically our kitchens are sabotaging our dieting efforts?

Tired and hungry after a long day, you may be confronted with all the clutter and to-do’s in your kitchen. In that moment, your stress level may go up, but it is unlikely you will want to declutter! Your brain will seek something pleasurable instead, and you might want to reach for the bag of chips on the counter.

Research shows that if we unclutter the kitchen counters and pantry cupboards we may eat fewer snacks. Brian Wansink, PhD., Cornell Food Psychologist, author of the book Slim by Design states that according to research, people who live in cluttered environments eat 44% more snacks than people who live in clean environments.
Tackling clutter can give you a sense of control over your environment and may also help you feel less stress. When we feel less stressed, we are less likely to stress eat and we may have more energy to cut up veggies or cook a healthy dinner at home.

It is much easier to control our environment than it is to control our cravings. Keep snacks off the counter, hide junk food out of sight, or better yet – reduce it. In a tired, stressed or hungry moment, you will more likely eat something healthy, if it is the only thing you see.

According to a Nutrition Action article, we can extend this strategy to dinner time. When serving dinner, leave everything but the salad on the stove. People tend to eat what is right in front of them, so they are less likely to have seconds, or another dinner roll, if they have to leave the table to go get it. They may just reach for more salad instead, thus eating fewer calories.

When we open up our pantry and survey eight boxes of cereal, it becomes harder to choose the healthy cereal. You want to be able to open the pantry and see only a few options, to keep decision making easier.  If you need help, work with a professional organizer on pantry organization. According to Brian Wansink, the average person can make about 200 food related decisions each day. With an uncluttered kitchen and pantry, we may have fewer decisions to make about what to eat and we are more likely to have those decisions be in line with our diet goals.

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A Calmer Home Environment May Help Reduce Your Anxiety

anxious woman

Anxiety: You Are Not Alone in How You Feel

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US. That is a lot of folks who very often feel panicked, overwhelmed, tense, may have low self-worth, intrusive thoughts, and paralyzing self-doubt that affect their daily life. Sometimes you may successfully hide how you feel while in public, sometimes you withdraw. Anxiety can be mentally and physically exhausting. It affects every facet of life. Sometimes, not even those closest to you, understand
what is happening inside you.

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Do You Need a Clutter Diet?

One in four gifts may go unused. Sparefoot.com study says.

What to do With Unwanted Gifts

Once the holidays are over, “on average, more than 1 in 4 gifts go unused.” “79% of Americans admit they never use some of their gifts,” found a recent study by Sparefoot.com. That means in a family of five receiving 4 gifts each, every holiday season 5 items would go unused. If these unwanted and unused items remain in the home over 10 years this would be 50 items. 50 boxes taking up space needed for other things. This number is very conservative – many more gifts are given in a typical family. This statistic also doesn’t include gifts received for birthdays and other special days as well. All these potentially unwanted gifts contribute to our clutter, our overstuffed closets, cupboards, and toy chests.

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How Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is Killing Your Productivity

FOMO is killing your productivity

Every second of everyday, we are barraged with TV and internet ads, special sales, loyalty program offers and marketing messages cleverly designed to instill FOMO and to make us want to buy “stuff”. Of course, we need some “stuff”, but it takes serious mental strength to resist the FOMO and the constant pull toward over-buying.

“May we have your email address so that you can receive special promotions?”

Every time we visit a store (physical or online) we are asked for our email address so that we can receive coupons and special offers. We give out our email, we join the loyalty program because we might miss out on a good sale or promotion if we don’t. Even if we don’t frequent a particular store more than once a year, we don’t want to miss out on something special, so we sign up.

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Get Ready for A Stress-Free Holiday Season

Get Ready for a stress-free holiday season
Let’s face it, it’s hard to get ready for the next week, much less for the next season! You are super busy with life, children, jobs, family. Life is pretty hectic as it is. But the last thing you need this fall is extra stress because your furnace suddenly stops working or because tree branches damaged your roof. What you do want is calm. You’d like time to spend with your family. It would be nice to entertain your friends and family in your home this winter.  It would also be nice to have gorgeous photos of your family and cute holiday cards printed and ready to go before Thanksgiving. Yea, not going to happen you say?

This mythical holiday bliss is possible! You just need to get started now.

Get Ready for the Holidays

• Schedule family photos. Now. Photographers are booking up.
• Arrange holiday travel plans. Buy your plane tickets and reserve your hotel and rental car.
• Update your address list for holiday greeting cards. Order holiday greeting cards.
• Begin a gift list. To keep track of what you have already purchased and what you still need try a list app such as Wunderlist or Todoist. Share the gift list with relatives.
• Consider “experience gifts” or gifts that do not create clutter. Downsize toys before the new ones arrive at Christmas.

Get Ready for Winter Sports

• Inventory winter clothes such as gloves, ski jackets, helmets and pants and make note of what you will need to purchase for winter.
• Inventory ski/snowboarding equipment and see what needs to be replaced. Sell or donate old equipment.
• If you plan to ski this season, but don’t own gear, arrange gear rental for the season.
• If you buy season passes, take advantage of early purchase discounts.
• Downsize and put away summer sports equipment.

Get your Home Ready for Winter

• Change smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
• If you own a generator, start it up and make sure you have fuel on hand.
• Schedule car maintenance. Replace windshield wipers.
• Schedule a chimney sweep to maintain your wood burning fireplace.
• Drain water spigots and cover them for the winter to prevent pipes bursting.
• Clean or replace furnace filters and schedule furnace/water heater maintenance.
• Cover or put away deck and patio furniture.
• Clean your grill and (if you don’t grill year-round) store it grill in your shed or garage.
• Schedule gutter and window cleaning.
• Schedule a tree service to remove any overhanging tree branches that could damage your home in a storm.

Take Care of YOU

• Say “NO” if your calendar is becoming overwhelming. Too many obligations can take away from the joy of the season.
• Book a facial or massage for early December. Self-care reduces stress.


Print out this list in checklist format here .
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The ADHD Guide: Getting to Work on Time

ADHD Guide getting to work on time

Those who have adult ADHD rely on routines to get through what they need to do, to free up time for what they want to do. Mornings can be especially tough. Even an ingrained morning routine is hard to follow when you may not feel fully awake. The following are strategies that will help speed up your morning:

Two alarm system

Get two alarm clocks. If one alarm clock fails to fully rouse you, consider placing a second alarm out of arms reach – such as on your dresser- so that you are forced to get out of bed to turn off the alarm.

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Paper or Digital Calendar: Which is Better?

digital calendar

The short answer is of course that it comes down to a matter of individual preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the paper or digital type of calendars. We love all things digital, and many digital calendar apps are great, but there are many instances where the paper calendar diary works just as well, if not better. Our preferences may change over time and depending on the task at hand.

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