Category Archives: Lifestyle

Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep – 8 Tips to Create a Restful Sleep

To maximize productivity for the following day, it is important to start off on the right track. Preparing yourself for your day’s events begins with a good night’s sleep. If you are tired of tossing and turning, follow these 8 tips to enjoy an uninterrupted night of shut eye.

1) Organizing yourself the night before can help to alleviate stress allowing you to benefit from a more restful sleep. Gather all materials that you will need for the next day. Prepare your lunch and breakfast to save time in your morning routine, finish your assignments the night before and have your bag packed and ready to go. When you are prepared, your mind can rest and stop racing about what needs to get done in the morning. Creating a routine of things you do before bed, as well as, what time you go to sleep and wake up at will help your body gear towards a healthy sleeping pattern.

2) Wash your bedding and sleepwear regularly. Use all natural products when doing your laundry. A good mattress and pillow can help with back and neck problems and other health issues. Poor sleeping patterns can have a negative effect on the immune system, therefore increasing injuries and illness. Just as you must change your running sneakers to guarantee proper support, you must change your mattress every eight to 10 years. Spend a little extra to buy a top quality mattress. After all, over a third of your time is spent in bed, so it should be comfortable and inviting.

3) Try not to exercise right before you go to bed. Instead, wake up half an hour earlier and begin your exercise routine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Exercise no later than early afternoon to give your body time to cool down fully. Another reason to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day is because people who exercise have an easier time falling asleep than non-exercisers do.

4) It is important to try to cut back on all caffeine products, but especially be mindful of your consumption before bedtime. Keep track of how much chocolate, tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol and coffee you drink. Instead, have a glass of water or juice. These healthier alternatives will not speed up your heart rate and keep you awake as caffeine products can. Avoid spicy foods and try not to eat at least three hours before you hit the sheets. If you are hungry, have a glass of milk. The serotonin will calm brain chemicals. The higher the level of serotonin, the more relaxed you will be and able to fall asleep easier.

5) Give yourself enough time to get a pleasant and relaxing sleep. Your body and brain need to replenish. We often underestimate how much sleep our bodies really need. We think we can function on as little sleep as possible, but our bodies need an average of eight hours per night. Doctors recommend falling asleep before 11pm. Go to bed earlier than you normally would. This can also help you to avoid constantly checking the clock and worrying about getting up. Also, keep the same sleep routine even on the weekends. Have a 20 minute nap later in the day if you are tired. Don’t overexert yourself and think you can catch up on your sleep on Sunday morning.

6) It takes some time to gear down from a mentally and physically exhausting day. Try to watch something light hearted on television before you go to bed, listen to soft music or read a calming book. Save repetitive and soothing chores for the end of the day, such as ironing or folding laundry. Pay bills and do heavy cleaning at least 2 hours before bed. Our minds continue to think about whatever we were doing before we fell asleep, so it is a good idea to create a restful mood for your mind and body. Turn off phones to avoid late-night disturbances and stop using your computer several hours before bedtime. Keep a notebook by your bed and record worries and task for the next day. This will help you clear your mind. After 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, get up and go into another room. The change of scenery will help you to get in the mood for sleep when you return to your bed.

7) Create a conducive and healthy sleep environment. Too much light may be keeping you awake. Dim the lights an hour before bedtime to prepare your mind. Turn your alarm clock away from you it has a backlight or digital display. Make sure your blinds block enough sunlight or wear an eye mask and earplugs. Providing full darkness for your eyes will aid you in falling asleep faster. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature. You need lots of clean air space and a toxin-free room. Remove any candles or scented products that may be interfering with your sleep, and throw away piles of papers or old magazines in your room. Declutter any extra dust collectors that promote unhealthy air quality. Wash bedding and drapes in hot water to kill dust mites. Remember to replace your pillow every two years or at least wash it hot water periodically. Dust covers can be purchase to trap dust mites away in your mattress. To completely seal it off use duct tape over the zipper closure. Have you carpets cleaned periodically.

8) Try deep breathing while counting sheep. Try counting your breaths. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose.

The effects of sleep deprivation on our everyday performance can keep us from living up to our potential. Even a modest half hour lost per night can affect the way the body functions during the day. By following these suggestions, you will see an improvement in your sleep patterns and wake up feeling refreshed.

Advertisements

Professional Organizers of Canada Guest Post – Downsizing. Now What?

Are you ready to downsize? Know someone who is? A well organized move can make the difference between chaos or a peaceful transition.

There are ways to plan for a stress-free move. Follow our Downsizing Checklist to start on the right path:

1. Start the discussion early: For some, the decision to move may not be a welcome idea. Plant the seed early to start discussing the benefits of downsizing.

2. Determine what isn’t moving:Next is the time to do some space planning and decide what you don’t want to move. Decisions can be made to sort into the following categories: 

  • Pass to family/friends
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Waste

3. Contact a Realtor: Ask for referrals, find someone you enjoy working with!

4. Declutter and stage: Time to get the house ready for sale. Consider decluttering and staging if your home needs an update.

5. Book moving company:Make plans for truck rental, moving assistance, or hire a moving company.

6. Packing:Purchase packing supplies, enlist the help of family and friends, or hire a Professional Organizer to get the job done quickly.

7. Update address:Be sure to notify utility companies, services and personal contacts.

8. Moving day:Assign one person to be in charge of all questions of what is going where.

9. Unpacking: Make the transition as smooth as possible by unpacking right away.

If you are stuck or require assistance anywhere along the way, call a Professional Organizer – we are here to help!

Happy Organizing!

They Can Do That? A Guest Post from the National Association of Professional Organizers

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

When people think of the services professional organizers provide, de-cluttering closets, setting up filing systems, creating time management strategies, or designing custom garage storage systems typically come to mind. But professional organizers specialize in many different areas, and can help overcome a variety of organizing challenges faced at home or at work. Here is a list of some lesser-known services they offer:

  1. Specialty Moving & Relocation: Need help packing the kids up for summer camp or moving your college student into his or her dorm?  There’s an organizer for that! Hiring a pro lets parents stress less and spend more quality time with their kids before they go away, and helps college students get off to an organized start when living away from home for the first time.
  2. Organizing and Cataloging Collections: From photographs to memorabilia to wine, if you need to manage the items in your collection for insurance purposes, display, or simply for easy access, a professional organizer who specializes in collections can help you keep track of the items you have so carefully curated.
  3. Blending Households: A professional organizer can help preserve household harmony when new spouses, stepfamilies, roommates, or parents find themselves sharing living space, and need to find places for everyone’s stuff.
  4. EcoConscious Organizing: Everyone is more aware of humans’ effect on our environment, and for those consumers who actively try to reduce their overall impact, there are organizing professionals who specialize in sustainable ways to reduce clutter, organize and recycle unwanted items.
  5. Technology Organizing: Need someone to help set up your new smartphone?  Need help keeping track of documents and files on your home and work mobile devices? Need help figuring which apps to use to help you stay organized?  Tech-savvy professional organizers can help you get the most out of your electronic devices.
  6. Personal Assistant/Concierge Services: If staying organized means you need a helping hand running errands, scheduling appointments, or fulfilling other commitments, professional organizers who also provide assistant or concierge services will keep you in control of all the aspects of your busy life.
  7. Medical/Legal Office Organizing: Establishing effective filing systems, chain-of-custody protocols, and document retention policies is vital to successful case management and protecting sensitive and confidential information. A professional organizer experienced in medical or legal organizing can help improve office efficiency and maintain client privacy.
  8. Estate Sales: When a person passes away leaving behind a home full of possessions, sorting through a lifetime of memories may be too much for grieving loved ones to handle.  Professional organizers who offer estate sale services coordinate the sale or donation of unwanted items, taking the burden off family or friends at a difficult time.
  9. Working with People with ADHD or ADD: For people who struggle with attention-deficit disorders, routines and systems can dramatically help them maintain focus so they can be more productive at home, school, and work. Organizing experts who specialize in working with those living with ADHD or ADD understand their everyday challenges, and help them develop habits to minimize frustration and become more successful in all aspects of their lives.
  10. Emergency Preparedness: Disasters can strike home or work at any time, and a good emergency plan can keep you, your family, or your colleagues safe, and get you back on your feet sooner. Professional organizers can help you create a plan to keep your vital documents safe, create an emergency kit, put together disaster evacuation and communications plans, and develop recovery  procedures, so your life is disrupted as little as possible in the face of disaster.

These are just some of the specialized services that professional organizers can provide, so if you feel overwhelmed by an organizing dilemma, you don’t have to tackle it alone.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO’s Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Seven Places to Tame Clutter At Home

7 #Clutter Problem Areas And How To Tame Them http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trulia/7-clutter-problem-areas-a_b_11408348.html?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 via HuffPost Lifestyle

News Years Resolutions or Fatal Attraction?

Have you set and broken many of your New Years Resolutions already? The law of attraction says we will draw those things towards us that we spend time thinking about.

Attract more of the positive and create brighter possibilities:

Don’t get caught up in the New Year hype.

Instead of focusing on making a resolution, focus on what you have accomplished last year and how you can take those positive events and use them towards making this year the best yet.
Look back on how you made your special memories and how you can create more to last a lifetime.

Picture those activities you shared with loved ones. 
Think about what you are most proud of in your career.
Live your life with meaningful intent.
Take charge of your own well-being, embrace it and enjoy everything that the New Year has to offer you.

Resolve to evolve into the person you want to be by attracting what you want.

By

7 Things NOT To Do When Making a New Year’s Resolution

One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:

1. Don’t keep it to yourself. “I don’t want my friends to know I am trying to quit my bad habit.” Let others know! This gives you leverage and allows others to encourage you along your journey.

2. Don’t leave it in your head. “I don’t need to write it down, I know what I want to do.” Research has shown that those who write down their goals and track them have an increased chance of success.

3. Don’t be vague. “I’m going to lose weight”.  How much? At what rate? By when? Make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and time bound.

4. Don’t be inflexible. “I’m not going to ever do that again” Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch. Sometimes you need to wean yourself off of a bad habit. Sometimes you will backslide or slip up. It’s part of life. Get used to it and get used to being more successful for the long haul by recognizing that people try and try again at their goals before they reach them. Some reports suggest an average of 14 times. Persistence not perfectionism pays.

5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh. “I’m not going to eat any sweets.”  “I will exercise 2 hours everyday.” It is not always realistic to deny yourself. Life is meant to be celebrated. Think moderation and think about small incremental steps that will advance you toward your goal. It is better to be doing a smaller action for the long term than a larger goal that doesn’t have a chance of lasting a week.

6. Don’t take on too much at once. “I’m going to quit smoking, join a gym, meditate 10 minutes every day, lose 20 lbs, and spend more time with my kids.” This is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus on a couple of things and the activities that will take you towards your goals.

7. Don’t take the first step TODAY. “I’ll start next week…”  There always seems to be a better time than right now. You may think you need to wait until after a special date or occasion, or once the holidays are over or start on a Monday…the list goes on. The truth is now is always a good time. Start by visualizing where you want to be and eliminating negative self-talk that will keep you from reaching your goals.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

– Anonymous

By

Start the New Year Right

It’s a new year, and a time when people like to start fresh and sample some new approaches to areas in your life you would like to improve. You have seen the development of the organizing and redesign shows take over our television stations. It’s been called the latest trend, the new dieting, but finding improved ways to organize your life is here to stay. Why? There’s just so much return on investment.

One thing we often forget when making changes and it’s especially true this time of year is the importance of starting slow and making small goals:

1. Your desk is a workplace- remove other non- work related items and place them clean deskelsewhere. Hang photos on the wall and place awards, personal objects and knickknacks on a shelf or credenza.

2. Keep the things you use the most close by and within reach, and items that you require only occasionally further away. This includes files, supplies and personal items.

3. Get rid of the extras- how many of one item do you really need-157 pens, 4 coffee mugs- give away, throw away or return to the stationary/supply area.

Speaking of extras, we usually have between 5-10 extra pounds that we have put on over the holidays. Looking for healthy time saving ways to get back on track? Here’s a few tips:

1. Plan your meals and grocery list ahead of time. You can save time and money. Eating healthier during your day will keep your energy up and your waistline down.

produce isle2. Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery stores. This is where we find our core foods, like fruits and vegetables. It’s a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables. Think of these as a healthy snacking alternative. Try a fruit you’ve never had before.

3. Cut back on your portion sizes- especially when eating out. Order half portions or ask for a to-go container for the remainder of your meal. This also gives you another meal you don’t have to prepare.

By

Life Strategizing for a Successful New Year

Having a strategy is not just for business. Living your life with intent allows you to plan for uncertainties, accept what comes your way and move forward in health and happiness.

A life without some strategy is like a boat without a rudder. You need to contemplate what’s really important to you. Carefully consider the “who, what, when, where and how” of your life to assess your goals and wants.

You will feel better and approach life more confidently when you have a clear plan with achievable goals. When life throws you curve balls, it is easier to stay on track when you have a plan. Being thoughtful about many areas in your life will help you assess damage and get back to where you need to be.

Don’t be afraid of losing your spontaneity because of planning – it’s quite the opposite! When you have a map of how you would like to live your life, you are able to take unexpected detours without losing your way.

Here are 10 ideas to help you reflect and plan your upcoming year.

1) Look at the data from the previous year. Did you do what you were going to do, or are you still stuck in the same place? Instead of blaming others or circumstance get real about what part you played in both your successes and disappointments this past year.

2) Look closely at your strengths and know where you fall short. There are several books out here that can help you with this.

3) Who do you spend your time with? Ask yourself some tough questions. Are the majority of people in my life people who encourage me and help me work towards my goals. Do I like being around them or do I feel drained and discouraged in their presence. We have a lot of people in our space – family, practitioners, suppliers, colleagues. Make sure we are spending time with those who make regular deposits to our emotions bank accounts and not just withdrawals.

4) Simplify a complicated worldtry the power of three.

  1. If you divided your world into the following areas – career, health, money, recreation/fun, romance/significant other, friends and family, personal growth – what would be your three most important areas for you to focus on in the next year?
  2. What are your top three goals for each of these areas you choose a priority?
  3. What are the first three steps to create an environment for success for each of these goals?

5) Make it concrete. Write it down, do a mind map, create a Pinterest board or a vision board, tell your friends. Create tasks associated with your goals and electronically schedule them.

6) Make it a game. Sit with your partner and write out what is important for you to accomplish in these time lines within one year, two to five years, five to ten years, 10-20 years, before you die.

Set a timer for 2 minutes and write quickly. Share with your partner when the buzzer goes off. Some of these will become family goals and each partnercomes away with a sense of not only what is import to them, but their spouse as well.You now have a timeline to work with.

7) Be flexible. Murphy’s Law applies to life. You may have a meticulously thought out plan about how you see your life progressing, but be prepared to adjust it if things go off the rails.

8) Bring in the professionals. Whether it’s a financial planner or a coach, take advantage of the services available to you to ensure you’re following your best path.

9) Review and Reward. Once you’ve achieved a goal in the timeline you were striving for, treat yourself to a small reward.

Take the time now, as the year comes to a close, to look forward to the upcoming year and make decisions about what is important to you and your family. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve this year with a little forethought.

Use what you have – the cure for your post-Christmas financial blues

 

Save money-use what you have.You’ll be surprised at how many items you have lying around that you’ve never used.Items that, by using them, will create more space in your home and save you money.

For example:

1. Use those gift cards and certificates you received over the past year.

2. Those decorative candles?They were meant to be lit and to burn out, so use them before you buy new ones.

3. Check your books and magazines.There’s always one you haven’t read.Consider canceling subscriptions. 

4. Take an inventory of the food that you have and think about ways to use it.

5. Why rent when you can catch up on movies you’ve collected, or programs you’ve recorded?

6. Built up a lot of points on your merchant loyalty cards for air travel, products or services?Now is the time to redeem them.

7. You probably have more beauty supplies than you realize.It’s time to take stock and start using them.

8. Have a lot of loose change around your house?Gather it up and use it.

9. Instead of a new hobby or craft, revisit one that you set aside. You’ll save money on supplies.

What are your ideas for using what you have to save money?

By

Have a Hassle Free Holiday

It’s the holiday season.  A time for buying gifts, throwing parties and decorating your home.  All that work can leave little time for enjoying what should be the most wonderful time of the year.  So here are some quick tips to help make your holiday season merry and bright.

  • Make a list of all the people you plan to shop for with gift ideas that match their tastes. Consider gift certificates, which are easy to wrap and create less clutter.  Be sure to set a gift budget for everyone on your list.
  • Check weekly flyers for sales to plan your trip to the mall. The best times to shop are weekday mornings when there are fewer people shopping.  Some stores have personal shoppers who can assist you in finding the right gift.  And many stores have websites that allow you to save time by shopping from home online.
  • Set yourself a deadline to complete your gift buying so you have more time to enjoy the holiday season.
  • Planning a successful holiday party is much like planning any party. Start by selecting a date, preferably one that doesn’t conflict with other holiday gatherings.  Once done, determine where you want to host your party – at home, the office or at a favourite spot – and make reservations if necessary.  Now you’re ready to draw up your guest list!
  • Make a plan. Before you drag out boxes of lights and tinsel, visualize how you want your home to look. A good plan covers everything from your theme – such as An Old-fashioned Christmas – and colour scheme to the decorations you want to use and where you’ll place them.
  • Toss it. Sift through your holiday decorations and donate or purge any outdated or unwanted items. Be sure to test your lights to make sure they work properly. Replace all burnt-out bulbs and frayed cords.  If you need to buy new outdoor lights, consider strings with built-in timers.  They’ll save you time and energy costs.
  • Make a party of it! Invite family and friends to help you decorate, with the promise of eggnog and other holiday treats.  You could even purchase some craft supplies and have your friends over to create some memorable tree decorations. (And a few holiday season memories!)

Follow these simple ideas and enjoy the holidays the ways you were meant to – relaxing with friends and family.

 

%d bloggers like this: