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February Mixed Bag

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Planning ahead creates benefits for so many aspects of life. Whether it’s anticipating an upcoming vacation, training for an event or tackling a project in your home, a little up front preparation smooths the path to success. This month I’m writing about how to think about prioritizing projects in your home and the benefit of game plan. In the meantime the February Mixed bag delves into how to use rewards to get through your To Do List, the re-launch of my running career, leveraging Low-Key Multi-Tasking and a little ditty on organizing your charging cord collection. Enjoy!

plan your travel

When I identify something on my To Do list that I have to do but also really enjoy I reserve a special spot for it in my agenda for the day, usually reserving it as a reward for finishing something else on my list that I don’t enjoy. One such item on my list is booking upcoming travel.  I love to plan travel in all of its dimensions; where to go, what times to fly, where to stay, who to see, what to do. A trip, whether it’s work or pleasure related, represents a break from my regular routine and I love to see the months on my calendar stretch out with the travel scattered across them like little oases. The trips also represent anchors around which other plans orbit; another reason I like to get them on the calendar ahead of time.

Planning travel is almost as much fun for me as the trips themselves; I love an itinerary! Using the planning of trips as a reward goes all the way back to my corporate days at Nordstrom when I would treat myself to a little trip planning at the end of a long day of meetings.  These days I’m not a slave to meetings but I do have a lot to do. Mondays serve as my Office Day when I take care of client correspondence and other To Do’s that have built up over the course of the week.  Inevitably there are things on the list that I don’t want to do, but they become less annoying when I can see the reward of Travel Planning waiting for me on the back end of the day.  The sooner I take on my Have To’s the more time I have for the Travel Planning.  It’s a really useful strategy for productivity – kind of like eating your vegetables first (assuming vegetables aren’t your favorite!) Your Reward may not be planning travel, it may be something else that you enjoy – identifying what that is and then using it to prioritize your day goes a long way to Getting Shit Done and enjoying yourself in the process!

This past Monday I planned a bonanza of Spring travel, courtesy of our Empty Nest! In case you are curious as to my upcoming trips they are: Monterey (just Jay and I), Scottsdale for Spring Training, LA to see Brooks run in his first marathon, New York where we will do all of the New York things plus see friends and family in Philly, Tucson to move Charlotte out of her apartment and SF where I will run in my first Bay to Breakers!

bay to breakers

Breaking News: I have been talked into running in the Bay To Breakers this year – my first time ever (despite growing up in the Bay Area) and the first time I’ve run in any event since my last triathlon circa 2014. 8 years ago I veered sharply away from running in my fitness routine in favor of cycling (mostly indoor on my Peloton) since I can really get the interval training and heart health benefits with a lower impact on my body.  My first impulse was to say ‘No Thank You’ when my friend Bridget invited me and a group of friends to run with her. The Bay to Breakers is an iconic San Francisco tradition, a 12K race that begins on the Bay side of the city and ends at the ‘Breakers’ of Ocean Beach. About 20K people run it annually, most of them in crazy costumes, a few of them naked and all of them having a great time. My parents used to do it every year when I was growing up and once I was old enough my mom would invite me to come with, which I never took her up on (rude!)

SO the prospect was daunting: haven’t run in 8 years, longest distance achieved 6 miles, various issues with multiple body parts – it felt scary. BUT it also felt exciting because it’s something new to challenge me, an opportunity to connect with old friends and honor my mom, who passed away 6 years ago. PLUS the timing worked out great because I had planned to be in SF at that time anyway moving Abby out of her USF dorm. So it feels like Kismet, basically.

Whenever you take a risk and accept a challenge that is a little scary it’s a huge opportunity for growth.  It’s also an opportunity to plan for success and use habit strategies to fit yet another new thing into an already busy life. I will do some documentation of my plan and training on Instagram (@method_seattle) and love having accountability partners so stay tuned for that content!

low-key multi-tasking

Are there things you’d like to do in your life that you can’t seem to find time for? Or things on your ‘Have To’ list that get put off because they aren’t enjoyable? One strategy that works really well for me is combining certain activities that work well together because they don’t involve a significant amount of concentration to accomplish. Current wisdom states that multi-tasking is actually a bad thing that negatively effects the quality of whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.  I would stipulate that if the tasks you are combining don’t require a lot of brain power it’s a great way to either fit more of what you like into your life OR cross things off your list that otherwise might not get done.

Here are some of my favorite combos:

  • Want to read more? Sign up for Audible and listen while you are walking your dog, commuting to work or gardening

  • Trying to start Meal Planning? Pick some Food Bloggers to follow (some of my favorites are in this post), pick your recipes and make your grocery list while you scroll social

  • Hate Folding Laundry? Use it as an opportunity to take in an episode or 2 of the latest series you are wanting to binge

There are a myriad of ways to sneak a little extra pleasure into your life or make the things you don’t enjoy but have to do a little more enticing. It’s all how you put together your stack of habits!

a word about charging cords

One of my favorite clients opened my eyes to a micro-organizing category I hadn’t thought of before: cords. In any modern household there are a myriad of devices, all of which need an adaptor and a cord. There are 2 ends of the cord and they may look the same or not. The openings on the adaptors also come with different size ports. I hadn’t really thought about it before; in my house the cords and adaptors are all mixed together and often when you need a charger you spend extra minutes looking for the right combo of cord & adaptor to match the device you are charging. Nor did I know the nomenclature for charging cords and ports (they have names???) Thanks to my client, in whose home live many, many devices I am now versed in the types of cords and highly recommend a micro-organization of yours if you have a lot of them. Things like leaving for a trip or replacing a stolen (by one of your kids) cord will be made much easier and faster after executing a little project like this. Here is a visual of the different cord heads and their names so you can categorize, label and zip them up in these handy pouches. Anyway, just an idea, it’s kind of hilarious what gets me excited sometimes!

Stay tuned later this month for more how to prioritize for big houses, small houses and everything in between. Prioritizing, like editing is one of the best skills to hone when maintaining an organized home. Stay tuned!

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