Tag Archives: new years

Get Real With Your Goal Setting


Do you have hopes and dreams for a new project in the new year? Have you been inspired by the Japanese phenom, Marie Kondo and want to spark joy and tidy your life? Do you want to learn a new skill? Or have you been fantasizing about taking a trip to France to learn cooking techniques? The “what” doesn’t so much matter because the steps to make your dream a reality are pretty much the same.

An often-used concept in coaching is to set “S.M.A.R.T.” goals. Keep this in mind as you plan out your journey to success.

S – Specific

Is your goal well-defined? For some “Getting Organized” is their goal. But it isn’t specific enough. Enlisting a coach or friend to help you do big-picture planning is one way to start. Defining what you truly want and are willing to work for may be more challenging than you think. If you’ve started projects in the past and not completed them, getting specific may have been the missing piece.

M – Measurable

Identify the milestones as you progress. If you are organizing your home, emptying out one closet and re-filling it in a way that makes sense to you is a measurable task. It’s good to define your goal in a way that lets you measure your progress and success. Instead of “Get organized”….”Clear out the hall closet” or “Create 2 bags of donations from hall closet.”

A – Action Oriented

What specific actions are required to move you toward your goal? It’s difficult to take action on something that has many components, breaking the pie-in-the-sky project down into concrete, manageable bites helps. What would be the next logical first step? Is this action observable? It could be that you schedule 1 hour progress sessions. Or an action step could be to write a certain number of pages on your novel. Instead of “thinking about what your novel’s introduction would be, the action might be to write for 15 minutes on a introduction draft.

R – Realistic

Have a realistic game plan. If your specific goal is to lose 25 lbs, then telling yourself you’re going to the gym 5 times a week may not be realistic … especially if you haven’t even been to the gym once! Telling yourself you are going to organize your house in a weekend when you work full-time and have 2 kids who are active in sports isn’t realistic either. Make your plan do-able.

T – Time-Based

What is your deadline for achieving your goal?  And is there enough time to achieve it? A realistic time frame can keep you sane. Remember that trying to fit a new project in an already-full life, no matter how inspiring it may be, can be a stressor. Blocking out time to act on your plan helps ensure success. What can you NOT DO in order to create time to do what you are most excited about?


Enjoy the surge of motivation the new year often brings and set yourself up for success by taking the time to record your desires and spend time planning to turn those intentions into actions…and results. If you can make the journey satisfying, you’re more likely to stay on the path.


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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies, Time Management

Organized Hosting

Hosting doesn't have to be stressful!

Hosting doesn’t have to be stressful!

What makes a successful party at your home? Good company, good food and good atmosphere!

Good Company

  • Be choosy about your guest list. Keep the numbers to a limit where you can still enjoy your party. For larger groups consider hiring or recruiting some prep and party help to lighten your load.
  • If there is a challenging personality included in the guest list be mindful to also invite someone who may get along well with them and also be mindful about where you seat them.
  • When guest offer to lend a hand, take them up on it. Think ahead of a few simple tasks they could do. Being involved helps some people feel more engaged and comfortable in social settings.

Good Food & Drink

  • Use tried and true recipes. Don’t let your party guests be the guinea pigs for your first soufflé.
  • Use food that can be prepped in advance OR buy prepared food for some or all of the dishes to reduce cooking time.
  • Consider having 2 entrees and a variety of sides. Make lots of flavors available and accommodate guests with dietary restrictions.
  • Don’t go overboard on drink variety. In the holiday theme, a simple offering of a spiced wine, spiked eggnog OR hot cider is sufficient–in addition to the standard wine & bubbly water.

Good Atmosphere

  • Music: make managing the music easy by using online streaming services such as Pandora, or creating a party playlist that can run for several hours. If this isn’t your fortè, recruit a music fan or techie to help you out.
  • Layout: if necessary re-arrange furniture to create easy flow during the party. Position the food and drink strategically to pull people through the space and not clog up one area of the house.  Place a few extra trashcans around to catch cups & plates. Folding chairs are a simple way to add extra seating or create small conversation zones.
  • Décor: Keep it simple. Focus on one or two key areas – such as the front door, food and drink tables. You can always add to decor if time allows. But getting some basic decorating done a day or two in advance lightens your load on party day.

Remember, hosting a party is something you do share time and experience with friends. And, your guests are coming for the same reasons! If you’re comfortable and prepared, you’ll create a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere for everyone, including yourself!

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Filed under General Organizing, Holidays, Strategies

To Do Lists Demystified

Plan how to spend your time this year!

Plan how to spend your time this year!

Happy New Year! This time of year we hear lots of advice around goal setting, resolutions, and intentions. Visions aren’t realized and goals aren’t accomplished until you follow through on action items. The best place to keep track of these is a list!

The purpose of a to-do list is to clear our brains of all the ideas swirling around, creating clutter. Lists making can be as simple as jotting down items on a piece of paper or as complex as using a variety of electronic task managers and calendaring systems.

Regardless of the tools you choose, here are suggestions for list management:

Create a Master List. Consider creating a master list to hold all your projects and a daily or weekly list for priority items. Master lists provide a parking lot for a full brain-dump and allow you to categorize tasks either by priority or activity type or activity category.

Make time estimates. Making some rough time estimates on particular tasks helps you be realistic about where tasks will fit into your schedule. When you’re realistic about how long things take you have a much better chance of actually getting things done instead of leaving things half finished and feeling bad about it.

Time estimating is a learned skill that doesn’t come easy to everyone, so be patient with yourself but try to keep track of how long things take so you can make better estimates in the future. Break large tasks into smaller ones to be even more specific about time.

Review & prioritize. Make the time regularly to review your master list, review your available time and pull tasks to your daily or weekly to-do list. Regular review of your lists is essential to re-setting priorities. Seeing the list of things you want to accomplish can help motivate you to rearrange your schedule to create the time necessary to take action.

Say you want to get organized in 2015…what does that mean exactly?

Create a list of the specifics, for example one item may be “Turn grown children’s room into a craft room.” What does that mean exactly? Get even more specific:

  • Donate old bed
  • Clear out closet
  • Plan shelves for craft supplies
  • Research and shop for new furniture

 Now you have 4 specific tasks on the list that you can make rough time estimates for and schedule into your calendar. The more specific you are the more chance you have of getting your project accomplished because you can schedule the tasks when you have the time to do them.

Beware of perfectionism. While the need to review your lists is essential, beware of spending so much time managing complicated list systems that you never actually get something done!

Celebrate your success! No matter how small.  Lao-tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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Filed under Decluttering, Empty Nest, General Organizing, Perspective