5 Key Ways to DeClutter Your Life

5 Key Ways to DeClutter Your Life

We all know that we work better in a clean and clear space.  Clutter in your environment distracts you from the task at hand and keeps you from concentrating and doing your best.  This is why I like to clean off my work space at least once a week and my home office is typically a clean and clear space.  But what about clutter in our personal lives, our habits or thoughts?  Have you given much thought to these areas?

Do you have people in your life who are negative?  Are you in unhealthy relationships — with family or friends?  Those people are clutter!  Now, we can’t always remove them from our lives, but we can set boundaries and control how much time we spend with them.

What about your habits and thoughts?  Are you working to de-clutter these areas?  Do you smoke too much or drink too much alcohol?  Are you a negative thinker of full of self-doubt?    Let’s work to change these areas!

1) Identify Your Priorities

When you identify your priorities you take the opportunity to remind yourself what is important. If you say your family is a priority– yet you seem to always let the “clutter” of work get in the way of spending enough time with your family, you need to declutter.  If you say your faith is a priority, yet your “too busy” life does not allow for bible reading time, then you need to declutter.  Identify your priorities and then ask yourself are you spending enough time with your priority.

2) Keep a Well Organized Schedule

When we declutter our brains, we are better able to focus on the task at hand. Once you create a schedule, you can easily see what is planned and avoid being overwhelmed because you have had time to prepare yourself for them.  But the benefits don’t stop at just preparing!  You can also be reflective with your schedule, and look back on how you spent your time.  The way we choose to spend our time is a direct reflection of our priorities.  What do you want your days too look like?

3) Keep a To-Do List

Just like knowing your priorities helps you to declutter your life, an organized to-do list provides you with a daily VISUAL of your tasks.  A to-do list can easily become an “OVERWHELMING” list if you don’t use caution.  Stick to no more than 5-6 tasks a day and identify your most important priority.  It helps if you can “rank order” all of your tasks.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who could create a to-do list with a gazillion items on it — but that’s just not realistic!  (SMART goals, remember!!)  You can keep a pen and paper list or use apps like Awesome Note 2.  I’ve been using Awesome Note 2 for several years and it allows me to keep my to-do list handy at all times AND it links with my calendar to help me to stay organized.    WINNING!!!!

There are a ton of digital list makers and keepers!  The trick is to find what works for you and to take ACTION!

4) Create Effective Routines

I’ve shared so many times about how I love, love, LOOOOOOVE routines!  Routines allow us to feel like we have control over our day.  Patterns allow us to feel secure and comforted –  just like things are going smoothly as planned.  I love to use routines for meal planning: Meatless Monday, Try New Tuesday, Wild Wednesday, LOVEtovers Thursday, Family Food Friday, etc….  Once a routine gets old, switch it up!  This is one of the strategies I teach in the Stress-Free Jumpstart to Meal Planning Success!

Routines also help your children to know what to expect, what they need to do and helps them to feel secure.

5) Establish Proper Boundaries

Look, people are either making deposits into your account or they are draining your account.  Life is much to short to allow people to suck your positive energy.  Choose to spend time with those who lift you up, make you feel good and add value to your life.  If you must be around someone who drains your “energy bank” work to limit that time.  We all have people in our life who we can’t necessarily avoid being around (family, co-workers, team mates, etc…) Work to establish boundaries and know when its okay to say “no” or to say that you can’t do something.  Last year, I spent a lot of time learning about healthy boundaries, that are also grounded in scripture.  Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No-To Take Control of Your Life is an excellent book in this area! (I’m not an affiliate!  This is just a wonderful book!

Which are do you have the most clutter and what are you doing about it?

Creating a VISUAL of What We Want Targets Our Focus

How a Vision Board keeps you motivatedVisualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises we can do. A study published in Psychology Today reported the brain patterns activated when you lift weights are also similarly activated when you just imagine (visualized) lifting weights.

You may have heard that tools like a vision board help you to stay motivated and focused on your goals.  This report tells us WHY it is such a powerful tool.  When it comes to creating your vision board, there are no rules!  You want to include ANYTHING that motivates or inspires you.

Think about what your goals are in the following areas: relationships, career and finances, home, travel, personal growth (including spiritualihow to create a vision boardty, social life, education) and health. If you are someone struggling with staying motivated on your health and fitness goals, be sure to include them on your vision board.  It would also be a good idea to share your vision board with your coach!

You may decide that you want a DREAM BIG vision board and then have other short-term vision boards.  I like to have one BIG board to help me focus on the year and then keep a monthly vision board to stay on track with my monthly goals.

The fun fact about a vision board is that it is YOURS!  As your vision, dreams or goals adjust, simply redo or modify your vision board however often you want.  We know that life changes — why would we want to focus on achieving something that is no longer a goal of ours?  The point is to help you focus!

I have a few friends who are SUPER crafty and creative with their vision boards, I have a few friends who just write their goals out on a poster board and several, including myself, somewhere in between!  If crafting isn’t on your list of things to do, you could always use technology programs like Canva or PicMonkey.  I find a dry erase board does the trick for me!

what is the best way to create a vision boardNow that you know what kind of board you want to create, you need to set the mood.  Do you like to work in the quiet?  Do you think well with music?  What kind of lighting do you find helps you to be creative?

I like quiet with dim lighting in the early morning with a mug of hot green tea.  I like to really pray over each goal, each vision, each dream — and really ask God to guide my direction.  Am I creating GOD sized goals?  Am I creating a vision HE wants me to seek?

Do you create vision boards?  How have they helped you in your life or career?

Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Weight with These 5 Strategies

If you’re a parent of a school age chid, chances are you have received a note from the school nurse outlining your child’s growth patterns and their BMI.  Sometimes this can create a sense of frustration, but others may feel a sense of defeat.  We know that childhood obesity is a concern.  Obesity in general can lead to many health concerns including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, social stigma and psychological pain.  We already know that studies (1 and 2) show obese children are more likely to become obese adults.  With all this in front of us, as concerned parents, what can we do?

Here are five tips to take the focus off of your child’s weight and instead focus on habits and health!  Create an environment where its no longer about a number on the scale or a BMI chart, but instead about the choices that they make.

1) Fresh Fruits & Veggies

Parents, we are the ones who are doing the grocery shopping. We need to have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand and EASILY accessible for the children to eat.  When you purchase produce, wash and prepare it so it is easy for the kids to grab as a snack.  We keep containers of carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, grapes, and apples in our fridge for the kids to be able to just grab and GO!

2) Help Kids Stay Active

If you are the parent of a toddler, you are just waiting for the day when they keep your kids movingjust CHILL!  Unfortunately, when our kids are ready to just chill, its hard to
get them moving again.  As a parent, we need to make sure we encourage our children to be active with fun games and family activity.  Going on walks
together, jumping rope, tag, or enrolling your child in a youth sport or dance.  In the summer with longer days, this is certainly easier.  In the winter with shorter daylight, youth sports or dance are easy ways to get in active time.  Also take advantage of indoor recreation centers.  Allow your children to be as creative as they can be with their active movements!

3) Limit Screen Time

If you follow me at all, you know that one of my passions is to use technology responsibly with my children.  This means that I have specific times and specific days of the week when my children are permitted to use their screens.too much technology This includes gaming systems, iPads, Kindles, television and web surfing. We have a set limit of two hours a day and weekends are only one hour in the mornings. By having a set time for screens, you then force your children to come up with other activities.  In the summer, we even reduce the two hours to 30 minutes!   When we limit screen time for kids, we help them to create healthy habits of exercise and movement!

4) REMOVE THE JUNK FOOD!

Most people who know me know that I’m not once to mince words.  So I’m going to share a bit of tough love here — Parents, WE are the ones who are  buying the groceries.   WE need to be responsible.  Tip number one was to offer more fresh vegetables and fruits and I’m going to take it even a step further and encourage you to save sweets & treats for once a week or a special occasion.  Snacks really should be low calorie and high nutritional dense foods such as apples, bananas, berries, grapes, or vegetables like carrots, broccoli, peppers with hummus.  If you have an ice cream junkie in your house like I do, you can also blend frozen bananas or berries to make a “nice cream”.  If you don’t have the junk food in your house you can’t eat it!  The bonus is this helps YOU as much as it does your kids!

5) Understand PORTION = Power!

There is a tremendous amount of power in understanding portions.  If you are not familiar with what portions look like, choosemyplate.gov is a great resource.   Both you and your children should eat a variety of fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy daily.  But don’t forget the WATER!  Lots & lots of water. Be mindful of how many calories your children are drinking.  Really limit or eliminate sugary beverages like soda, juice or fruit punch.

For more in-depth details on portion and meal planning for families check out the Jumpstart to Meal Planning Success.

what are kid friendly portionsReferences:
1 Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, Seidel KD, Dietz WH. Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. N Engl J Med 1997; 37(13):869–873.
2 Serdula MK, Ivery D, Coates RJ, Freedman DS. Williamson DF. Byers T. Do obese children become obese adults? A review of the literature. Prev Med 1993;22:167–177.