Holidays are wonderful but they can also cause anxiety when we are trying to get too much done. Constantly trying to remember to buy this gift, send that card, pay those bills, make these arrangements and more will certainly cause many of us to get out of balance.
Use tools to remind yourself to do certain things. For instance, I send myself a reminder via Blackberry every night to make sure the doors are locked, homework's checked, the stove is off and that lunches are packed. You can send yourself an electronic reminder, a virtual reminder that will come to you via email or even call your voice mail and leave yourself a message. Post-it notes can be put on your mirrors or your computer monitor at work. Try to find something that works for you to take the burden off of having to remember every single little thing.
It's here - the holiday season and Christmas is right around the corner. Regardless of how much celebrating you do this month, it's still easy to get off balance pretty early on. Try to take a minute or two today to look around your house for potential 'designated spots'. These are places that can temporarily hold items until you have enough time to deal with them. Designated spots can also keep your house from looking like a tornado blew through during a time when you want everything to be festive.
I keep wrapping paper and all accompanying items in a long, flat plastic container under my bed. Everything is sort of jumbled up in there but when I need to wrap a gift (all year 'round), I know where to go. Important school papers go on a silver clip on the fridge and the checks for the music teachers go there too - I never have to hunt for them. Bills go in a brightly colored pocket folder - not in date order, not in alphabetical order - they just go in the folder. When it comes time to pay the bills, viola! There they are. Coats, backpacks and shoes go in the hall closet - I don't even care if the coats are hung up - just that they are in some way, shape or form in that closet. Sports, dance and lunch bags go on this amazing hook that goes on the back of my laundry room door - it's wide enough to hold about six bags!
So look around your house for 'designated spots' so you can have some semblance of order in your life - and free up some time so you can joyfully await the many minute miracles of Christmas.
As the holidays fast approach, now’s the time to get organized. But who has time? Not me, that’s for sure and the same goes for a lot of people I know. Trying to purchase gifts, plan meals, clean and decorate, wrap gifts, attend parties and budget for the holidays all while working, raising kids and doing what we need to do can be taxing!
Making a commitment to getting organized might be just what you need to jump start the holiday season and it only takes one minute to make that commitment. Make a commitment to learn how to improve productivity in your own life - that’s a great start! Or make a commitment to overcome procrastination in your everyday life - why put off for tomorrow what you can do today? Can you manage your time better during the day? I think all of us are guilty of time mismanagement so you might want to make a commitment to managing your time better during the holiday season.
A big problem that we all face is over-committing this time of year. Don’t be afraid to make a commitment to yourself and learn how to say no. You don’t have to have the most uber decorated house in the neighborhood and you don’t have to go broke buying gifts for family and friends. You don’t have to attend every party or give to every single charity that asks. Remember - the word NO! is a complete sentence. Don’t forget that!
As the saying goes, the best way to eat an elephant (ew, I know) is one bite at a time - so for today’s one minute miracle - just decide to make a commitment to do some things a little differently this holiday season or maybe even the whole year through!
I'd go crazy if I didn't keep lists. I keep them for everything - article ideas I want to submit, chapters for my novel and ideas for new ones, work projects (with deadines), groceries, Christmas gifts, party plans - well, you get the picture. If you have a minute, write down a list to keep yourself organized. You can't live up to your full potential if you're constantly running around looking for things you lost, rushing to make payments on bills you forgot or running out to get dinner because you don't have all the right ingredients on-hand. If you have a few minutes, get yourself a small notebook or learn how to use the notes feature on your blackberry - whatever you have - just start a list. Start small - maybe bills that need paid this week (with due dates) or healthy dinners you've been wanting to try. To make it easy, I've provided a link for healthy five ingredient dinners. Making lists won't fix all that ails ya but doing so may calm the chaos just a litle - and wouldn't that be a miracle!
A God box is a place to put things that you might be worried about. Write your worry down on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in the God box. Say a litte prayer to God or to the Universe if that's what you beleive. Then forget about your worry - it's in the God box meaning it's in God's hands or in the hands of the universe. And then trust that it will all work out! If you have one minute, find an old box or container around the house to use as a God box.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has proclaimed the month of November as Adoption Awareness Month. Spend a minute today determining how you can help this worthy cause. Are you thinking of adopting or becoming a foster parent? If so, pick up the phone and make that call. Can you donate to an adoption charity or cause? And even though it isn't what Governor Kaine had in mind, don't forget about adopting a four legged friend - animals need adoption too. This could be a one minute miracle that lasts for a long, long time!
Make a gratitude list and keep it near your bed or carry it with you. Spend a minute writing down the things you are grateful for. My gratitude list includes my daughters, my parents and extended family, my health, our pets (sometimes - see blog below for paper eating incident). My job and the fact that I have some freelance writing opportunities are also on the list as is my house, my jeep and of course, my friends. But keep the list simple, take a minute to write it and add to it each day. Theologian Meister Eckhart wrote "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough"...and he was so right!
When I started this blog, I had every intention of blogging at least a few times a week. Of course, at that time, I had less demands too as I had just gotten laid off from my job at Circuit City. And I've since gone back to work, which is where I spend my days and a big bulk of my time. That said, I was trying to think of ways I could continue to blog without spending a big chunk of time writing. I also thought that, if I didn't have a lot of time to write, most of you probably wouldn't have a lot of time to read, right?
So I came up with my One Minute Miracle idea while I was writing a freelance article yesterday. The article was called how to be thankful when you don't feel like it. I incorporated an idea about writing a gratitude list which really shouldn't take a whole lot of time. It made me realize that we often have a free minute or two throughout the day where we could stop and have a mini attitude adjustment, so I thought I would start to write these One Minute Miracle blogs with ideas that I'll research on things that can be done to enhance a person's serenity in a minute (or two or three). And I'll share them here so we can all benefit from getting a little bit of peace throughout the day. I'll start it tomorrow though, because the dog's eating paper and the kids are yelling and I took more than a minute just to write these few lines. But I'll be back tomorrow...I have a feeling I'm going to need it!
I've been home all week with my daughter who has the flu and strep throat. She's just been knocked out by these bugs and it's tough to see her feeling so sick. The nice thing for me is that she wants me around a lot which is unusual. Well, not really - she does seem to like me around but has her moments when she wants to be alone and I get it. So I'm feeling all nice thinking about the Harry Potter marathon we are planning for today as I take her sister to school. As I'm driving there, I hear a DJ come on KISS XM - a station that technically should not have anyone talking. I purchase satellite radio so I don't have to listen to people talk. Anyway, she comes on as Breaking Away by Kelly Clarkson starts to play and she announces how some guy had a heart attack at Kelly's recent concert. Then the DJ in her infinite wisdom and unending wit says "and he was also baffled by the size of her thighs".
Okay, I'm maybe going to go out on a limb here, but I don't think that was really necessary, do you? I mean - a guy died. A guy who might have had a family (certainly had parents, possibly siblings, maybe a wife and kids). Maybe he took his daughter to the concert and she'll have that memory to deal with every time she hears Kelly sing. Maybe he was there on a date. Who knows. But the fact is, he was there and he died. Does this DJ really need to make a joke about it? Not to mention how insulting her comment was to Kelly too. Who is this DJ and why such an absence of class? To get listeners? Ya just lost one. I know in the overall scheme of things, that means little but I won't be listening to your station anymore.
You can't really hide from it - Michael's body wasn't even cold yet and the jokes were all over facebook. People I considered friends laughing at his expense. Does it make it easier to be morbidly funny at a time like this? Does it make people feel better about themselves? I don't get it. I don't want to resort to the colloquial 'mean people suck' because that puts me on the same level. But I don't want toxicity in my life. So I hid further comments from the 'friends' on facebook and I'll be sure to find a better station on XM. Because it's up to me to surround myself with that which leaves me feeling good...and so I shall.
Well, regardless of all the resistance I could muster, back to school week came anyway. Even though I didn’t really have those lazy-days of summer that some folks might have enjoyed, I still had a soccer-free, piano free, Religious Education (RE) free three two and a half months. But, that’s about to change. Because starting tomorrow, not only are my kids going back to school, they are also back to soccer, guitar, piano, acting lessons and RE and, for that matter, so am I.
Gone are the days of sleeping in until 6:20 a.m. Now, I am up at six so I can wake my youngest up at 6:20. She gets on the bus at 7:08 and her sister at 7:45. Then it’s off to work until 4:30 when I race to the Learning RX Center to pick up the youngest who attends daily. Leaving there at 5, we race home (lots of racing, I know) to meet the guitar teacher on Monday and the piano teacher on Thursday both who arrive at 5:15. It’s a close call; but we can make it. If nothing, that is, goes wrong. Wednesdays and Fridays we have a little more leeway as we don’t have to have my oldest to soccer practice until 6. Saturday mornings are games and Sunday mornings we have RE which both girls attend and I teach. Somehow we have to fit homework and music practice along with dinner and showers into the evenings. If only I didn’t have to sleep!
But there is a way to stay sane and even serene during these crazy back-to-school days. First off, I tell myself that we will get into a routine so I’m not going to let fear make me nuts this early in the game. Second, I really have to keep things organized around my house. I do so by keeping a daily calendar where I write down everything including when I need to wear a suit to work and what I need to pick up at the store. I carry it with me in my purse and even though it’s bulky, it has saved me on numerous occasions from over-committing.
I keep an excel spreadsheet for my bills on my PC. I keep them separated into columns so I don’t miss any payments. I even wrote an eHow.com article which you can see here. I shop twice a month and I plan 15 days worth of easy meals -in my calendar - so I know what we’re eating and what I need to buy. I keep the grocery list there too.
But Sunday afternoon is really my key time to make sure I have everything done for the week. Since I do my shopping on a Saturday evening (I know, boring…but it works for me), I have everything I need to make a few dinners on Sunday. I make fillings for taco, casseroles, and pasta or fruit salads. I chop veggies for salads and I pack anything I can for the girls’ lunches. I buy a $2.00 bag of popcorn and separate it into baggies in single serving sizes. (Hey, single mom on a budget, what can I say?) I slice strawberries and bag them up too. That frees up my evenings as I only have to make their sandwiches and throw it and the baggies into a lunch box with a napkin and viola - I’m done.
I wash soccer uniforms and gym uniforms. I buy extras of both of them too - it is worth the investment because I seem to always have a clean one on hand. I also wash shin guards and goalie gloves making sure they’re ready for the week ahead. Even though soccer practice isn’t until Wednesday, I make sure the bag is packed so it’s ready.
I also take care of sundry details like going to the bank, filling prescriptions, buying dog food or filling up my car. I don’t have time to stop during the week so I make sure that’s all done on Sunday afternoons.
By about 5:00 on Sunday, I am pretty much finished with errands so we can just chill on Sunday evenings. It would be nice to have a whole day to relax but it’s not happening around here for this single mom any time soon so we do what we can with what we have. And take it one day at a time.