2013 New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple

Blah, blah, blah … resolutions … yadda, yadda, blah! We all know the top three resolutions made by people everywhere each year:

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Some form of fitness: work out, get in shape, walk, run, weight train, etc.
  3. Get organized.

Right? Good luck if these are your goals. I prefer not to make annual goals because I know I’m only setting myself up for failure. Those three things are HUGE goals. Without breaking them down into baby steps, they are very difficult to achieve.

Let’s take losing weight as an example. Perhaps in January, a goal can be to cut out or drastically limit something unhealthy from our diets. How about sugar? How much sugar do you consume each week? Each day? Probably too much. New Year’s Day is a freebie. It doesn’t count. If you have any cookies or candies hanging around from Christmas, now is the day to eat them. Share with others if you have to. Just get rid of them! By the end of the month, you should be eating healthier snacks in place of the sugary ones. Here’s a page with some quick and helpful sugar facts. Don’t worry! It’s not full of detailed, scientific jargon. A kid could understand it!

If sugar isn’t a huge issue for you, how about portion sizes? Perhaps it’s more an issue of frequent grazing. Do you find yourself looking for something to eat even if you’re not really hungry? This is usually because you aren’t eating well balanced meals to begin with. Take a look at your three main meals each day and be sure you are starting your day with enough protein to help you power through without crashing, which leaves you seeking snacks to perk you back up. Smoothies are great for that, by the way. Try keeping some low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt, orange juice, bananas, and frozen fruit on hand for this yummy treat.

Also in January, if you want to take baby steps towards multiple resolutions, you could start “moving”. Start adding activity to your life, but don’t jump into a full-blown workout routine. You will certainly risk burning out fast. If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle, start with a walk around the block. Still feeling good after one round? Go around again! Pay attention to how long it takes and make note of that. Next time you won’t have the excuse of not having enough time. By the end of January, maybe you’ll be walking a mile at least two or three times per week.

Organization? You want to go there, too? OK. Schedule 15 minutes (you can even use a timer – it can be fun to race the clock if you’re a competitive type) and tackle a drawer or two in a room of your choice. If you haven’t used or worn something in the past year, get rid of it. You obviously didn’t miss it! Well, there are exceptions. Maybe you have been missing that shirt that somehow made its way to the wrong drawer. Go ahead and keep that one. If you beat the timer and want to keep going, add another 15 minutes and go for it! After 30 minutes, give yourself a break, though. Again, you don’t want to burn out quickly. Reward yourself … but not with a sugary snack! Time on Pinterest would suffice for me. :)

Don’t give much thought to the rest of the year. Take one month, week, even day at a time. Break it down as small as you need to. Whatever works for you … as long as it does work for you! I don’t know about each of you (whoever you may be), but I’m very easily distracted and derailed. Setting smaller goals and tackling smaller tasks works better for me. I see more success rather than failure that way.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a year of not only achieving goals but surpassing them!

Desk Makeover

Lookie what Greg made for my desk! I already had my laptop on a riser, but my second monitor was placed on top of an inverted Steralite storage box. I still wanted it a couple inches higher because my neck was still protesting a bit. So I asked if this was possible, and he did it! Now I don’t have to reach around my drink to get to my phone either. When I need more desk space, I just push my keyboard under the shelf. And that Steralite storage box is now being used for … wait for it … STORAGE! :D

That little bear has been on my desk since right after I started. It represents the company mascot. :)

Keeping it Real | How Does She Do It?

I hear this a lot: “How do you do it all?”  The answer is complicated. I’m not as “together” as you might think! I would love to be able to do it all consistently, but I really don’t. I try a lot of things, and it’s hard to fit everything I like to do into each and every day. So I don’t. I try. I really do.

This is why I leave things out and create such a clutter. If I do find time to work on jewelry, for instance, it’s already out and waiting for me to sit down and create. I don’t have to waste a half hour dragging everything out and setting it all up, ultimately losing any creative ideas I may have had to start out with.

Unfortunately, this system doesn’t work so well when it comes to paperwork. Filing is something at which I fail miserably. It’s also something that comes back to bite me in the ass when I have no choice but to set aside three hours to tame the paper pile monsters. Why don’t I keep on top of filing? Because I’d rather spend that time doing things I enjoy doing! This is partly how I do it. I’m a time thief as well as a time waster.

I steal time from things I should be doing to do things I want to be doing. Somehow, it works out in the end. So I should be able to come up with a better system that allows time for everything more consistently. Right? Wrong! This is where I waste time. Coming up with a schedule for everything absolutely brings my entire world to a halt, and nothing gets done. Deer in the headlights. Just run me over!

Scarlett O’Hara Butler didn’t sit around hoping for things. She went out and made it happen. She also had an entourage of servants helping her! Delegation is a wonderful concept, but I would need someone like-minded and equally anal to delegate things to! (Yes, I just ended my sentence with a preposition!)

Either I do it all myself, or I constantly complain about how it’s done (or not done). With so many things in life so far out of my control, is it too much to ask that a few things be done consistently? Everyone should pick up after themselves. That’s a given! I’m the queen of forgetting to do things. However, if I’m in the family room and have something on the table (snack, beverage, etc.), I remember to pick it up and take it to the kitchen when I get up. I don’t understand what’s so hard about this one. While on the kitchen subject, let’s talk about rinsing. I’m not the only one who empties the dishwasher, so it blows my mind that no one else can see which things do not come clean as they put the dishes away. Peanut butter left to dry on a spoon does not come off (nesting spoons is another issue entirely). Eggs, ketchup, tomato sauce, and potatoes left to dry on dishes (especially eggs) do not come off in the dishwasher. I’m not as fanatical as all but washing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, but come on people! Common sense!

More kitchen details … Everything has a place, and everything should be put back in it’s place. This makes it so much easier to see exactly what we have and what needs to be replaced. Also, when everything is neatly put away, there’s room for more. How can anyone argue that this doesn’t perfect sense? These things bother me. The twist-tie not being replaced on bread bothers me. Gunk and crumbs left on the kitchen counter bother me. Moving on to the bathroom – toilet paper not being replaced bothers me. Running out of toilet paper bothers me. How does this happen? Add that to my list – inventory all bathrooms daily.

Lists. Let’s not even go there. I’d need lists to keep track of my lists! Ideally, lists and schedules would work for me. Unfortunately, having ADD makes scheduling a painful and long process. Fortunately, the ability to hyperfocus that goes along with ADD allows me to stick to schedules set forth by my employer. Getting paid by someone who appreciates my meticulous attention to detail (you might call this being anal) is a wonderful motivator! When this mindset isn’t shared by all, though, it just goes to hell in a hand basket.

So when you see status updates on social network sites of accomplishments and ask how I do it, just remember that there are many other things I’m not doing in order to do something else. I guess it’s just a trade-off. I can either do everything I should be doing all of the time at the expense of any enjoyment, or I can steal time from those things to do the things I want to do and allow myself some enjoyment.

I Scream

It’s true that I’m generally a happy person, and I like to have fun and not stress over every minor detail of life.  Those minor details, like crumbs on a kitchen floor that scatter to the baseboards, eventually become very noticeable.  That’s when I scream.  I may not always audibly scream, but I’m screaming on the inside just the same.

I scream because I feel if I don’t do things myself, they won’t get done.  I scream because these things don’t seem to bother anyone else enough to do anything about it themselves.  I scream because I have ADD, which makes it hard enough to keep my own life organized much less organize the lives of everyone else in the house.  I scream!

I scream at the IRS!  After many years of receiving a sizable refund, drastic changes were made causing us to owe money the past two years.  Now I scream because we no longer have the luxury of traveling much for vacations.

I scream at people!  Instead of wasting energy bad-mouthing people and things (I’m not going to offer specifics because that’s not the point here), get out there and do something to try and make a change!

I scream at kids!  I especially scream at young adolescent girls on the cusp of becoming teenagers who walk a fine line between just being smart or being smart asses.  Note to such girls: Mean Girls Suck! Note to my own such girl: Don’t lose your compassionate, caring nature, and be watch out for those “friends” who have a tendency towards a mean and sarcastic nature.

I scream at the corporate world full of mergers & acquisitions, job descriptions, the addition of rungs in corporate ladders, and the politics of it all!

These are just a few of the crumbs that make me scream.  What makes you scream?

Organization Eases the Mind

I have been overwhelmed by the growing stacks of papers in my office.  These growing stacks resulted in expired license plates, for which my daughter received her first ticket while driving with her learner’s permit!  So I decided not to work more overtime today and revamp my filing system instead.  Thank God for label makers!

There are so many things that need to be saved.  I found this site interesting to figure out how long to save certain documents, statements, and other bills.  Warranty paperwork should also be labeled and saved for easy access.  Case in point: our 52″ LCD TV that had to be replaced after 14 months.  Amazingly, my dear husband came through on that one because he had tucked that paperwork away somewhere himself.

With files labeled and grouped into corresponding pendeflex folders, I filed everything from January to present only.  My previous system was to pay the bills and stuff the entire stack in one pendeflex labeled “Bills”.  I’m drawing the line at taking the time to go through all of those and file accordingly.  When the time comes, those statements will be shredded.

I gave up making enough in overtime for our entire family to go out for dinner at a nice restaurant (or to buy a SanDisk Extreme IV Compact Flash card) to get this accomplished as well as fill out our Census and take care of some other paperwork and correspondence.  The peace of mind is worth it!