Just Live Mindfully

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Category: Organization

Time IS On My Side

Is time on your side?  Do you find yourself saying “Better late than never” a lot?  If so, you might want to think about how you are spending your time.

I am one of those people that despises being late for anything.  But every now and then, life catches up with me.  I’m sure you can relate.  Most of us are always busy, going from one place to another and living life an the most spontaneous way.  But is that always a good thing?

You might have days where you only have a few things to do, but they take you all day to do them.  And those tasks, no matter how big, may take you all day to do them because of the distractions in your life.  Recently this happened to me and it made me stop and take a minute to realize just how I was spending my time and how some of my time is spent on things that aren’t really priorities.

As a woman, I think I struggle with this concept of trying to do everything for everyone all the time.  Women of the world, do you agree with me?  Yes, I think men experience this too, but not nearly as often as women.  Think of the things women feel like we have to do – manicures, pedicures, dying our hair, shopping for things we don’t necessarily need.  The list can go on and on and on!  Finding a balance between these things and what we really should be doing is where scheduling comes in.

This is my baby.  It comes with me just about everywhere and helps me find balance in life.  It helps me plan the things we have to do and the things I want to do.  It’s a Day Designer and it’s the planner that’s helped me fit everything in that I need to do.

I literally plan out everything.  Work at my full time job, activities on the weekend, doctor’s appointments and especially, downtime.  This is coming from a Type A personality, but it helps me figure out how I can manage everything I do.  I have a ton of people ask me how I fit in so much and this is how I do it.  This is how I control my time rather than my time control me.

Now if planning is not right for you, that’s ok.  But you  might experience your time controlling you a lot more than you’d want it to.  So how do you do the opposite and control your time?  Get a system in place that works for YOU!  Only you can figure out what system works for you, but here are few ideas to help you get started.

Use what you already have! – Most people in the world today have a smart phone.  That smart phone typically has a calendar already built in.  Do you use it?  If not, start now!  On the iPhone, I use my calendar religiously.  And I have separate calendars for the activities in my life – work, home life and my business.  They’re color coded, which helps with easy reference when I’m looking at a particular day and need to know what’s going on.  This is probably the quickest way to help you get started.

Get a planner or notebook you can carry with you. – Now if you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to use it for planning your time, get yourself a small planner or notebook you can carry with you.  There are HUNDREDS out there so you might have to play around until you find the one that works for you.  I’ve tried a bunch of different brands and the Day Designer is the one that works best for me.  You  might want more room for creativity too and if that’s the case, just get a simple notebook or journal and set up a bullet journal.  For each day, you just bullet out the things you need to get done and voila!  You’re on your way to making your time work for you.

Do a self-audit. – What’s a self-audit?  Well, it’s basically a check of all the things you do in life and you rank them to see how much of a priority those things are.  You probably have to work so that’s going to stay on the list.  But you might not really need to go get weekly manicures.  You could probably do them yourself at home.  Doing that one little change will save you time and money.  And if you’re married, you’ll make the other half happy.  If you’re not into manicures but love to go golfing, do a check of how often you went this past season.  Regardless of the activities you examine, only you can really say if they’re the right ones to remove from your schedules.

These three actions are just the tip of the iceberg.  As you go through the process of beginning to take back control over your time, you might find other areas to evaluate and other ways to make the clock work for you.  Which one are you going to start with?

Cut Down on the Plastic

Listen, I was a plastic user for years.  But since I became a health and wellness coach, I realized I need to change.  I grew up, like many of you, in a household chock full of Tupperware and Rubbermaid, just to name a few.  The containers worked for food storage and household storage.  Back then, what I didn’t realize is that plastics have chemicals in them that increase the risk of cancer and may cause hormonal imbalances in some.  Slowly, over time, I’ve been able to almost fully transition to a cleaner storage container.  And I want to help you do the same!

My first tip, and the one I think is the easiest, is to switch to stainless steel or glass water bottles.  The reason this is my number one tip is because plastic breaks down over time.  Even if you’re drinking from a BPA-free bottle, it could still have other chemicals in it that you aren’t aware of.  My favorite bottles to drink from are the Sip by Swell bottles.  You can find them at Target and they come in a variety of sizes.  They’re not insanely expensive either, which is great!  Next time you’re there, swing down the aisle and check them out.  The fun prints might just make you want to pick one up.

When it comes to leftovers, we have to store them somewhere, right?  I used to use Rubbermaid containers and would carry them to work, reheat them in the microwave and even use a fork and knife right in them, making scratches on the inside.  Totally bad news bears!  My husband always used to yell at me for it and I knew deep down he was right, but that’s what we had so that’s what we used.  Now we use these glass containers.  And that’s my second tip – use glass (or porcelain) containers to store and reheat your leftovers.  Using these types of containers is better because in the heat, plastic breaks down even faster.  The food that is in the plastic container, when heated up, will absorb some of the chemicals released from the plastic.  Are you somewhat grossed out yet?  I imagined creepy bugs crawling into my food from the plastic.  Eww!  Ok, let’s move on…

My third tip is to toss those plastic containers you have now that you know you’ve put in the microwave or run through the dishwasher.  Again, heat breaks down the plastic and releases those chemical components, allowing them to get into your food.  Remember those bugs I imagined?  Yup, same reason here.  But hey, if you are old school and hand wash your dishes, you might be safe.  But only if you haven’t microwaved them.  This will be helpful too because you can make room for your new glass or porcelain containers.

If you’re in a position where you really can’t toss all your plastic goods, that’s ok, but I still want you to be safe.  Tip four is to check the number on your BPA-free plastics.  Even if it says it’s BPA-free, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s chemical free.  Phthalates is one chemical group that can be found in plastics that are BPA-free.  They make plastics more flexible and harder to break, which is why companies use them.  So what numbers do you look for?  The numbers will range from 1 to 7 and if you see 1, 2, 4 or 5, that plastic is a safer choice.  The ones you want to avoid at all costs are 3, 6 or 7.

My last tip I think you’re going to love.  When you go shopping, you typically get a plastic bag for your purchased goods, right?  What do you do with those bags?  Most people, use them around the house or toss them.  But they pile up.  Especially after grocery shopping.  That’s why my last tip is to get reusable bags to use when you’re shopping.  When I’m grocery shopping, I literally get stopped every trip and get asked where I got my bags.  In the past my response has been “Oh, I don’t know, I found them online somewhere.”  Well, I really did find them online…and in the most magical place on earth (just kidding)…AMAZON!  Seriously, though, love that site!  The bags I have are called Pack-N-Tote grocery cart helper bags because they hook onto the sides of the cart and you can fill them as you go through the store.  It’s easier at checkout and we usually fit everything in just two bags.  As for non-grocery related shopping, those huge TJ Maxx bags are awesome.  But if you want one a little more classy, you can pick up the Market Tote from Vera Bradley for less than $10.  Their Painted Medallions is my newest favorite print.

Now that you’ve got the tips, what’s your plan?  My suggestion, start slow.  Baby steps make this transition much, much easier.  And do the swaps as you can.  It can be a lot of money to completely revamp everything you’ve been doing for the last, oh I don’t know, 10+ years but if you go slow, it will be much easier.  If you need more suggestions or help with the transitions, you know where to find me!

Pantry Clean-Out!!!!!

It’s time for a pantry clean-out.  Most people don’t even think about cleaning out their pantry but I had to.  The timing was right for a lot of reasons.  One, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately and I wanted to clean up my diet.  Two, my A-game organization skills were clearly slacking.  And three, I needed to shorten my meal-prep time.  Sounds logical, right?  I thought so too.  So here’s what my pantry looked like before I started.

Looks organized, but trust me, it’s kind of messy.  I tried to place like-foods near each other – breakfast,  snacks, dinner prep, things for a party etc.  This set-up has worked for quite a long time.  Since we’ve moved into this house, really.  The thing I notice when I look at these shelves, though, is that everything is just, put on a shelf.  There really is no organization.  Some things are hidden behind other things, the stuff on the bottom seems to get lost and the foods that I have at eye level may not be the healthiest.  So what did I do?  I literally took everything off the shelves.

Everything was put on the floor so I could go through it all, one item at a time.  This allowed me to get a sense of the space I have available. Doing this took some time, but let me tell you, it was so worth it!  I cannot tell you how much stuff I had that was expired.  Seriously!  I’m talking stuff back to 2015!

After clearing out all the junk and the stuff that was too old to even open, I had to develop a plan.  How was I going to get all my food back on the shelf without it looking like it did before?  I did not want to go back to where I was before and I did not want to have things expiring without me even knowing it.  I knew I needed some help and I knew I needed a few things to help me organize and prep in a way that would work.  Two things immediately came to mind – baskets and snack size bags.  These were the easiest “tools” I could find to help me get e started.

The baskets I got at my local department store for less than $10.  They came in two sizes so I grabbed both.  I didn’t realize it, but I would use them for two different reasons.

The taller, more square baskets I decided I would use for tossing things in.  Prepped foods that would be great for grab-and-go, like granola bars and bagged snacks.  I also used these for putting like-items together, like seasonings.  The shorter, longer baskets I decided I would use more for keeping things together.  Like toppings for my yogurt and salad additions.  Easy peezy!

The other tool I grabbed was snack size Ziploc bags.  The snack size ones.

These I knew would be good for prepping the grab-and-go foods.  I had pretzels, sweet potato and beet chips, sweet potato chips, trail mix and nuts.  Once the snacks were prepped, I tossed them all in one of the taller baskets.

So what did the end result look like?  Well, here it is!  Clean, organized, put together and ready for the taking.  I felt a sense of accomplishment.  I felt at peace.  I felt like I could take on the world.

Ok, no, I’m just kidding.  But I did feel like my life was organized again and like I would be able to eat healthy and not feel guilty about what I’m putting into my body.

If you’re still with me, you probably are wondering if you could do this too.  Trust me, you can.  All you need is some time, some energy and maybe a little bit of money.

This project was definitely something I loved doing and it was fun for me.  If you need help going through this exercise, let’s schedule a meet-up.  I’d be happy to come over and help you do your own pantry clean-out.

 

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