10 Anti-Procrastination tips.

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procrastination

Procrastination is not my friend.  Although we use to hang out a lot.  I have a habit of looking up frequently used words to see what they really mean.  I also check to see if I am using them in the correct context.  I looked up the word procrastination on dictionary.com and this is the definition that it gives:  Putting off or delaying, especially something that requires immediate attention. Oh boy, that was my college years in a nut shell.  Now I have gotten better with hanging around with procrastination, we might do coffee at times but no more being room mates.  Here are some of the tips that I use to make sure that my unwanted guest stays it’s distance.

1. Create a to-do list.  I create a weekly to-do list of about twenty task.  Then I break down those task into daily task.  I create my to-do list on Sundays.  That is when I reflect on my previous week and prepare for the week to come.  My mind and entire life functions with a list.  If it is not written down somewhere it does not exist in my world.

2. Prioritize your task.  Look at the tasks that you are wanting to complete.  Then put the task in a category of must and wants.  Your must category are the things that must get completed today.  Like car pool or dinner.  Your want to list may consist of cleaning out the closet or dusting.

3. Spread out task through out the week.  Once you have completed your must and your want list.  Then you will be able to know the things that you must do today and then plan for the rest of the week.  Do not think that everything has to be completed today.  That becomes very overwhelming and discouraging.

4. Create and keep a schedule.  When things are scheduled out I tend to stick to them.  They are on my calendar and I know that is what you should be doing.  For example on Thursday nights you and your family know that the bathroom gets a thorough cleaning.  It is on the cleaning schedule for Thursday’s.  Which brings me to number 5.

5.  Make some things habitual.  Just like the Thursday night bathroom cleaning. Set somethings for certain times or days and just get in the habit of doing it.  Before you know it your body will just start doing the task when it is scheduled to be completed.

6. Plan ahead for pre-scheduled events.  We all know that the holidays come every year.  Start planning early for them. I would even suggest to start planning for the next year right after this one has passed.  For example on the day after Christmas start talking about where you will spend Christmas next year.  Start budgeting for the ideas that you come up with. Or as soon as one person’s birthday has passed start planning for the up and coming birthday.

7. Cut out excessive idol time.  I know that we all have our favorite tv shows and things that we really like to just chill out and do.  However when we start to limit those things we can actually see that we have a little more time to complete other task that really need to get done.  You become less stressed out and your 24 hours are really enough.

8. Do things as you go.  There are some small task that you see that need your attention and it takes little to no time to complete them.  Go ahead and do them in passing.  If you see that there are only a few dishes in the sink go ahead, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. It may take you only 10 minutes at a time to do that instead of waiting for a sink full of dishes to pile up before you do anything about it. Now that may take 30 minutes.  You just saved 20 minutes.

9.The more you put in the later pile the bigger it gets.  Just like the dishes.  The more you say “oh I can do that later” and sit in front of the tv or your tablet the more gets piled up.  Also what if something pops up that is unexpected that demands your attention at the time that you labeled as later.  The mole hill becomes a mountain very fast.

10. Empower your team.  You have a built in team that you can empower to help you with task.  Delegate somethings on your to-do list that they can do.  Give instructions and let them complete it.  Do not micro manage or this will not work.

I hope that these help you the way they helped me over come procrastination.  I really want to hear what you think.  Come and share with me on Facebook and twitter.  Come and hang out with me on Instagram.

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Can’t live with it, Can’t live with out it.

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colorful laundry

When I am having a conversation to a mom about family and household challenges one thing that comes up with out fail is Laundry.  Now I know that we have been discussing parenting strategies and practical child rearing things, but laundry is a dark cloud of doubt that hangs over us.  We tend to feel, if I can’t get the laundry right, can I do anything right?  You are doing a great job rather you have 1 load of laundry or 4 loads of laundry to wash and fold.  Now for me the washing and drying part is simple it is the folding and putting away that slows me down in the race to clean clothes.  Laundry is not going any where if anything it will continue to multiply, until you have an empty nest then you may miss it. But, for now here are some practical tips to make laundry not so over whelming.

1. Set a schedule. When you set a schedule you can impliment it to where each family member has a certain day to have their clothes washed.  You can set a day for just whites or just dark colored clothing.  Set a time as well.  Tell yourself “I am going to wash clothes from 6:00pm until 8:00pm this week.”  Then be on it. When the washer is finished put it in the dryer and keep your cycle going.  With my washer and dryer 2 hours of consistent laundry will allow me to wash, dry and put away about 3 loads of laundry.  That may only scratch the surface but you have completed more than if you ignored the ever growing piles.

2. Gather the troops young and old.  Something tells me mom or dad that you didn’t wear that 6T shirt yesterday.  Since you did not wear all of the clothes yourself you should not be expected to wash all of them yourself.  I know that you may have a specific way of washing. And there are rules to conserving the quality of clothes when you wash them.  So let this be a lesson to your little ones.  Make it into a game.  “Let’s see how fast you can put all of the white socks in this basket.” You are teaching colors, motor skills and there is one less task you have to do yourself.

3. Use the Get To method of thinking.  We talked about this in a previous blog but just to recap when we take the get to approach to our to-do list it brings a sense of gratitude.  Think and say “I am so grateful that I get to do my families laundry.  I am thankful that we have clean clothes to wear.”

4. Do laundry often.  Just like any task if we tackle it while it’s small it will be easier to accomplish and we will feel as if we actually can do it.  It is easier to wash the mole hill of laundry than the Mt Everest of laundry.

5. Get a systematic method.  This can tie in with the scheduling and can go farther to the actual separation of clothes. Do we wash the jeans first?  Do we check pockets as we are loading the clothes or during separation?  Find out what works for you and do that over and over again. Then you will have a system that you can do with your eyes close.

6. Separate daily.  Have a basket for dark colors and  light colors.  As well as any other category that you may have.  Put them for your children’s use as well.  Then when it is time to wash one task is already complete.

Ok as always I love to hear from you. And thank you so much for reading.  Share your laundry stories and what works best for you and your family.  Connect with me on facebook and twitter.  Happy imperfect parenting.

Get to vs have to, these little words can change your life.

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get to

I was listening to a motivational speaker this morning, Mr. Eric Thomas, and something that he said really struck something within me.  He said (in my own words) that there are two types of people in the world, the ones that say and think that they have to do something.  Then there are the ones that think and say that they get to do something.  Two small words that mean so much.

The have to crowd says I have to take Blake to soccer practice the get to crowd says I get to take Blake to soccer practice.  Now just let that settle in for a moment.  When we say that we have to do something for our family or our kids we turn it in to a chore or work.  Just like a great mother and father would say I have to make sure that my kids are safe.  I get that it is something that must be done.  It takes on a serious heavy tone.  Now on the other hand when we use the phrase for the everyday ins and outs of the family we tend to see it as a burden which can easily get us overwhelmed.

When we say that we get to do something, it is a privilege just like when we were younger some of the get to phrases we would say were.  I get to have a sleep over, I get to have ice cream for dessert, I get to go to the mall.  They were all things that we were excited to do.  When we use the words I get to it brings about a feeling and mind set of gratitude.  I get to cook dinner for my family today.  How awesome is that.  Some people may have lost their families so there is no one to cook for any more.  Or others may not have enough food to cook for their families.  But we get to cook for our family we get to provide them with nourishment, we get to see smiles on their faces because they are not going to bed hungry.  These are just some of the things that we get to do.  We will be grateful.

So let us change the words have to, to get to, and see how it will over flow into our children.  They get to clean their rooms what a privilege.  There are some children who do not have rooms or nice comfy beds to sleep on.  They get to go to school.  That is awesome, some children are not able to go to school because they go to work to help out the family.

Make a conscious effort to change the words that you are using.  Let me know that positive effects that it has on you and your family. Try it out today and then go to facebook or twitter and share your family’s changes.

Are you time in or time out??

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time outToday I read an article on ahaparenting.com that was about a fairly new to me concept of “time-in” instead of a “time-out” approach to discipline. The article spoke on how having a space for a child to have cuddle time if she is acting out her emotions in a negative manner. Time-in says that you should let the child know that you recognize that she is having a hard time and that you understand that she is feeling some type of way. You reiterate over and over that you are here for her and that you love her. Ok great. Then the article goes on to disprove the time-out approach. It stated that it does not allow the child to properly express herself, it creates power struggles, it makes children feel as if they are bad, and it adds or gives abandonment issues. This was my summarized version you can read the complete article here.

There are some things that I agree with when it comes to time in. I like the fact that you acknowledge that your child is dealing with some feelings and emotions causing her to act out. I like the fact that it forces you not to ignore the behavior and take out some precious time with the child while it is much needed. However I do have some issues with time-in. My issues with time-in are:

  1. Most of the time acting out behaviors in a negative way has something to do with gaining attention. This teaches your child that anytime that she may be craving attention from you she can just act out in a negative way and here you will come to hug and cuddle with her. It creates an unhealthy pattern.
  2. She is ultimately getting a reward for acting out. So rules and boundaries does not matter. Do you think when she gets old enough to drive the police is going to care if she had a bad day if she is doing 98 mph in a 55 mph zone. That is why we have to teach them about self soothing. Do you think he is going to take her to a cuddle spot? It may be a cuddle spot alright.. That is why we have to teach them about self soothing.  Teach your child that there are consequences to every action.
  3. Letting your child continue to yell and speak disrespectfully to you because she needs to move herself to cry to cleanse her of her emotions. I will never tolerate disrespect. You can express yourself, even as a child, without being disrespectful. It is not a power struggle because there will be no struggle when it comes to that topic. You think that as an adult your child is going to be permitted to talk to her boss disrespectful without some type of repercussion?

I also like some aspects of time-out. I like the way that the child can clearly recognize when she has made a poor decision to negatively act out their emotions.   However I do have issues with time out as well.

  1. You most of the time are dragging the child to time out.
  2. The child sits there without any instructions and it is just a waste of time. (I do not like wasting time)
  3. Time out is not a constructive consequence.

I can look at both sides of the time methods and some things I do not agree with and some things I totally get. However I want to share my method that somewhat combines both time in and time out. I would like to call it going to the thinking chair. This is how it works.

  1. The child does some negative act of emotional expression in which boundaries have already been set and expectations have been made clear.
  2. You look at the child in her eyes. Explain to her what she did that was unacceptable. Then you let her know that she needs to spend time on the thinking chair.
  3. The thinking chair is equipped with paper, pencils, and crayons at all times.
  4. While in the thinking chair the child will think about what she has done wrong and will answer these questions with words or a drawing.
  5. The questions are: why do you think you are in the thinking chair? Why did you choose to act in that way? What made you feel like acting in that way? If you ever feel like that again how will you let mommy know about your feelings? How can mommy help you with your feelings?
  6. After these questions have been answered they will bring you the paper(s). You then sit with them with undivided attention and actively listen to what they have to say.
  7. Address all necessary concerns and validate their feelings. End with a hug and an “I love you”.

See best of both worlds. The child knows clearly that the behavior is not acceptable. You are teaching boundaries and behavior limits. You have set expectations. You have given them positive undivided attention. You have given them a way to learn how to problem solve. You are empowering them to take responsibility for their actions and to think before reacting.

Try this method and let me know how it works for your child. Please share with us on twitter and facebook.