Organize, Declutter + Get Things Done

Organization Tips from Paging Supermom

Thanks to Avery for sponsoring this post!

Work-life balance is the buzz phrase when it comes to organizing tips. With my design and blogging work, I guess I still technically have “work” to balance, with life, but as we all know, even a mom who has no other job title, has PLENTY of work to do.

Sadly though, the reality is that work-life balance is impossible. What you should be seeking, and what you’re really craving, is how to organize your life. If you can organize and get things done, you will finally feel like you have everything under control!

Organize Your Life with this Daily Planner Template designed for Moms from @PagingSupermom #GTD

Mindfulness is another word that you might be hearing a lot about lately. It’s origins come from Buddhism, and it involves focusing all your attention on the task at hand. If you’re making eggs, just make eggs. If you’re playing with your kiddos, just play with your kiddos. This focusing of the mind makes you more effective at any given task, but also it makes life more pleasant. In other words, you will be happier.

For as long as I can remember (which I’ll admit isn’t as long as it used to be) my life has a been an organization disaster. I’m not going to sugar coat it guys — I am a mess! Procrastination is my only form of time management, which is a recipe for so much stress it could literally kill me.

The way our bodies are designed, when we feel stressed, the “fight or flight” response kicks in. Our brain is programmed to react by sending blood to the arms and legs — the parts of the body that are needed to help you run away, and less blood is going to the “irrelevant” body parts, such as the lobes of your brain responsible for rational and long-term thought. Yet I bet you find those body parts far more relevant to your daily life — too bad they’re starving from stress!

The fact is the stress response is only meant to work in the short term, but in the modern world we don’t often have life threatening situations that require us to fight or flight. Instead stress comes in a toxic trickle and our stress response never seems to turn off. Prolonged stress is responsible for increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, suppressed immune system, and can even cause heart disease and strokes. YIKES!

I was recently introduced to David Allen’s organization book called Getting Things Done. The GTD philosophy centers on the idea that your mind is for having ideas NOT holding them. He advocates having a process in place to reliably capture ideas as they come to your mind, so your brain can let them go and move onto something else.

The scatter-brained feeling that we fight, is the rational thought processes being interrupted by ideas and reminders that you don’t want to forget. If we can get those things out of our mind and into some other retrieval storage, we can enjoy a mind that is free from clutter. Doesn’t that sound nice?!

How to Organize, Declutter and Get Things Done via @PagingSupermom

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Allen’s idea has been honed to help working professionals organize and get things done, but I’ve modified it for a mom’s life. With the beginning of the new school year, I’m resolving to organize and declutter my life! Who’s with me?

Here’s how to organize your life:

I partnered with Avery to create my own “Life Organized” binder, and because I care about saving your mind as well, I’m sharing my free printable Life Organized planner template so you can also organize and get things done!

I’m using the Avery Ultralast Binder, which is pretty much the coolest binder ever. The rings have one-tab opening; the pockets are this durable plastic (not the clear kind that will stick to the toner on your pages); and the cover has a frame where you can insert the cover page for a totally polished look! Seriously this baby is the Cadillac of binders! It comes in a few colors, but I am using blue because matches my kitchen… I know, I’m a nerd.

STEP 1: Capture

We’re going to capture all those random thoughts. To begin, sit down with an empty sheet of paper and begin listing out any to-do, reminder or idea that comes to mind. Doesn’t matter what it is, just get it down. In our digital age, we often forget about the power of paper. I love my smart phone dearly, and would never voluntarily live without it, but for this exercise use paper. When you write something down, it frees up space in your brain so it doesn’t have to remind you again.

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Boredom-Busting Summer Activities for Older Kids

Boredom Busters for Older Kids via @PagingSupermom

I don’t know about you, but it gets tricky keeping my kids busy during the summer without a bunch of screen time, especially those older kids. We live in Phoenix so it’s too hot to be outside, which adds another challenge. I am always on the lookout for summer activities to keep my older kids playing, thinking, growing and limiting video games/tv/computer etc. With teens and tweens it’s especially difficult to find summer activities that will hold their interest. Here are summer boredom busters for teens that have worked well for us this summer.

1.  Build a House of Cards.  It takes patience, a steady hand and practice.  A rough surface definitely helps and be ready with the camera to snap a photo of success, because the whole thing is very delicate and a breath of air knocks it flat in 0.2 seconds.  My two oldest boys have spent a good hour or two on a few different afternoons trying different techniques and building bigger/taller houses.

Boredom Busters for Tweens via @PagingSupermom

Boredom Busters for Tweens via @PagingSupermom

Boredom Busters for Older Kids via @PagingSupermom

2.  Craft Stick Bombs.  My oldest son learned how to make these chain reactions from a friend and then looked up more patterns online and even made up some of his own. Again, this activity gets kids using their hands and brains. It takes a little patience to learn the patterns, but they’re not too complicated. My kids’ favorite is the Cobra Weave because it is long and super impressive when you let it loose and all the sticks fly… but they also like the smaller throwing ones that explode on impact. I like to challenge them to create and name new designs. Look up “Craft Stick Bombs” for detailed tutorials and ideas.

Boredom Busters for Older Kids via @PagingSupermom

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How to Make a Restaurant Kit For Your Purse

RESTAURANT KIT for kids that you keep in your purse. This is such a smart idea -- no more toys scattered around in my bag!

My husband and I typically go out once a week for a date and we usually go to dinner.  We have five kids — the oldest is 16 and the youngest is 18 months. We take our youngest with us quite a bit, just because it’s easier for the older kids and bringing just one is nothing compared to five!

As he has gotten a bit older however, he has been harder to entertain while we wait for dinner and so I decided to put together a little Restaurant Kit that can stay in my purse, doesn’t take up a lot of room and is full of a variety of small things for him to play with. My Restaurant Kit is geared for a boy and some parts are too small for babies, but this idea can easily be adapted for any child or even several children.

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This is such a smart idea -- no more toys scattered around in my bag!

This Restaurant Kit has been such a great addition to our dates and as an added bonus, it also comes in handy when I have to wait with the kids at the dentist office, etc. Just remember to keep it in your purse for only special occasions so it remains a novelty! Plus keeping all the toys contained makes my purse much less cluttered.

I found most of the items for my kit at the dollar store, craft store and Walmart. Also be sure to check your craft cupboard and junk drawer at home, before heading to the store, and you’re bound to find a few treasures hidden there.

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