Coming soon: the 2015 Procrastinators’ Convention (They Keep Putting It Off)

procrastination

I was going to blog about procrastination, but I have not gotten around to it. Until now.

Dear friend: You can postpone reading this blog by checking out these 71 procrastination jokes.

You may ask yourself what does organizing have to do with procrastination? Getting organized can be the first step in getting something done, and it can be satisfying enough that perhaps you will take the next step.

Let’s say you have a small painting project, such as touching up the baseboards in one room. You have already spent more time thinking about doing it, feeling guilty that you haven’t done it, and rationalizing why you have not done it than it will take you just to do the task in the first place.

First take that tiny step of gathering the tools: the paint, brush, paint stirrer, and place them in the room, next to your baseboard. Every time you walk past those tools, you will be reminded of that painting project. Maybe then you will take the next step, which is cleaning the surface.

At this point, you realize you can just get the whole project out of the way in 15 minutes. You take care of the painting and then can enjoy putting off the next chore, whatever it may be.

Breaking down a task may be the best way of tackling projects, especially those that have been on your to do list for a very long time. You know the ones you have been procrastinating.

Photo: Unsplash

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Wishing a happy and safe Thanksgiving to all my clients and blog readers. I appreciate your business, and your support. With much gratitude, Dawn

Photo: Oh My Handmade

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5 Photos You Should Keep on Your Phone (and a 6th If You Have a Dog)

5 Photos You Should Keep on Your Phone (and a 6th If You Have a Dog)

Chances are you have your phone with you more often than you carry your wallet. There are five photos that you should keep on your phone, just in case:

  1. Your driver’s license (and passport if traveling internationally)
  2. Your health insurance card(s)
  3. Your COVID-19 vaccination card
  4. Your car’s license plate (and that of any rental car you drive)
  5. Other IDs (work, school, and auto insurance)

And if you have a dog:

  1. Your dog’s rabies certificate

Where on your phone?

  • In Photos. Create an album called Documents so you don’t have to scroll through all your vacation pictures to find these important photos.
  • In Apple Notes. This has the added benefit of letting you lock the note and assign a password to protect it.
  • In the Cloud. Dropbox, iCloud, etc. where you need a password to access. Downside: you will need Internet access
  • In your password manager, in the Notes or Documents section.

Having these critical photos at the ready will be a lifesaver in an emergency. Keeping them up to date is even more important. Create a reminder in your calendar to update the photos as the identification information gets renewed or changes.

Photo: Pixabay

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3 Tips to Reduce the Stress of Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

3 Tips to Reduce the Stress of Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

We all love gathering around the dining room table with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Did you know that it is truly possible for the host to relax and enjoy the day if these three tips are observed to reduce the stress of hosting Thanksgiving dinner?

  1. Delegate: Have guests bring side dishes. Coordinate so you don’t end up with five bowls of mashed potatoes. When invited, most people naturally ask, “What can I bring?” Don’t be shy; take them up on it! Tell them what you need from your well-prepared list sitting at the ready. The burden should not fall solely on the host.
  2. Cook ahead: Cook dishes that freeze well (soups, relishes, desserts, or breads) weeks ahead and freeze. Plan to cook only the turkey and any sides that need to be prepared fresh (salads, gravy) on Thanksgiving Day.
  3. Set your table: If the table you will be using for Thanksgiving is not your everyday dinner table, set the table a day or two ahead of time. Pull out the good dinnerware, glassware, napkins, and tablecloth as well as serving pieces and utensils. That gives you time to polish any silver, if necessary, to iron any linens, and to configure the layout of the table. Oh, don’t forget to add the extra table leaves first!

Now that all the preparation is done for the big day, sit back and enjoy a nice cup of tea while observing the gorgeous table you have prepared for all.

Photo: Pixabay

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5 Ways to Prepare Your House to Retain Heat This Winter

5 Ways to Prepare Your House to Retain Heat This Winter

Oil and natural gas prices are expected to significantly rise this winter. While you can’t control prices, you can take some measures to conserve heat. Here are five ways to prepare your house to retain heat this winter.

  1. Have your boiler/furnace cleaned. You should have this done by a professional every year. Identify problems before they become emergencies. Imagine waking up on a January morning to your home being 60 degrees…or less! Avoid what you can control now. Call your HVAC company pronto!
  2. Remove window air conditioners or cover them and seal the windows. Snow has already fallen in many locations; therefore, do this as soon as you are able.
  3. Seal windows. You can use weather stripping, plastic sheeting, and tape designed for this purpose. There are many products available. I’m not endorsing any specific brand, just offering some examples so you know what I’m referring to. I installed plastic sheeting on my parent’s patio sliding doors and could instantly feel the difference.
  4. Block off drafts under doors: You can get basic functional ones or fun, decorative door blockers.
  5. Install storm doors if you don’t have them. Having that extra layer of glass will decrease the amount of cold air entering your home.

Taking any of these steps will make a difference in sealing your home and preventing your hard-earned money from going out the window…or door.

Photo: Pixabay

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New Tool to Try: A Nifty ‘Scrapbook’ for Saving Your Online Reading

Do you find yourself bookmarking or printing articles you’ve read online, only to have a disorganized collection of information? If so, here’s a free app, Clipparoo, that lets you organize those articles, and even easily share them with others.

Below is an example of someone’s account to give you an idea of the app.

New Tool to Try: A Nifty ‘Scrapbook’ for Saving Your Online Reading

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3 Ways You Can Plan for the Holidays Today

3 Ways You Can Plan for the Holidays Today

It’s not too early to plan for the holidays, especially this year: disruptions in supply chains could mean that items you were hoping to purchase for gifts could be difficult to come by. Even books are affected because of limited supply of paper and because some popular gift books are printed overseas. This includes coffee table books, children’s picture books, books with fancy paper or covers—in other words, gift-y books. Supply chain issues across industries are predicted to hamper holiday shopping, so if you usually wait until after Thanksgiving to shop, you might be out of luck.

An early start also lets you take advantage of sales. Try these lists to begin.

Gift list: One of the first lists to create is the gift list. Who will receive gifts? How much do you want to spend on each person? What gift ideas do you have for each recipient? This list can be done using pen to paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or an app. A client of mine uses Giftser for her family. It’s easy to use and functions not only for the holidays, but for birthdays, and other special events.

Another app creates a wish list maker for Christmas. In 2020, PC Magazine put together a list of 9 apps to help you organize your holiday gift list which you may find helpful if you want to create your list digitally this year.

Alternatively, you may want to try the family “gift suggestion folder”: Each family member has a folder. When someone has an idea for what they’d like as a gift, they should write it on a slip of paper and put it in the folder. Or they can use an ad, rip a page from a catalog, or print a page from a website. Then when it’s time to gift that person, others can choose items from the folder. You’ll give what the person wants, and chances are they’ve forgotten what they put in the folder (if you start it early enough) that it’ll be a surprise. Even if it’s not a surprise, it’ll be a gift that won’t be returned.

Card list: Decide if you will be using ecards, paper cards, or both. Update your mailing list. If you send printed, personalized cards, plan the family photo, and order the cards. Go to the post office now to buy your holiday stamps before the mad rush begins. Did you know you can order your postal stamps online? The holiday stamps are now available online.

Grocery list: I am sure you have family favorites you enjoy eating over the holidays. After all, a lot of the food is a tradition for your family and what many look forward to eating all year long. Since you know what you will be preparing, you can add a few non-perishable items each week to your grocery list. That way, you are not only done with shopping early for those items, but also not putting a crimp in your budget by having to purchase extra things last minute when you are always stretched to the limit from gift buying.

Well, let the countdown begin… But most importantly, enjoy your friends and family over this holiday season!

Photo: Pixabay

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How Well Would You Handle a Disaster?

Hurricane season is waning, but winter is around the corner. Are you prepared to deal with the aftermath of a catastrophic storm? What if you needed to evacuate because of a chemical spill from a truck rollover on a nearby road? How well would you handle a disaster? Rather than recreate what already exists on many websites and in guides, I will highlight a few resources that do provide valuable information to make sure you are prepared.  Are you ready for an emergency? To see if you are, take the American Red Cross quiz or download this FEMA guide to learn more about basic preparedness.

Hurricane season is waning, but winter is around the corner. Are you prepared to deal with the aftermath of a catastrophic storm? What if you needed to evacuate because of a chemical spill from a truck rollover on a nearby road? How well would you handle a disaster? Rather than recreate what already exists on many websites and in guides, I will highlight a few resources that do provide valuable information to make sure you are prepared.

Are you ready for an emergency? To see if you are, take the American Red Cross quiz or download this FEMA guide to learn more about basic preparedness.

Preparedness falls into 6 categories: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items for medical conditions.

Here are resources to help you prepare:

A blog that lists 55 emergency preparedness items (to get you thinking).

FEMA has an emergency supply checklist.

The Red Cross website suggests items you need in a survival kit. Scroll down pass the ‘Take Quiz’ section to see them.

The Denver Red Cross website features a great emergency preparedness checklist.

The CDC checklist is also very valuable.

If you have pets, you need to plan for them as well:

Pet Emergency Kit Checklist

Pet Disaster Kit Checklist

Combined pet emergency kit checklist and disaster preparedness

 

As Stephen King says, “there is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”

Photo: Pixabay

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You Don’t Have to be On-Call 24/7

Just because technology enables you to be available 24/7 doesn’t mean you have to be. You need some down time for your mental health.

You may ask how is that even possible in this day and age? Here are some ideas to take you off the 24/7 treadmill.

Manage your phone usage – If you use your personal cell phone as your business phone, don’t feel the urge to pick up the phone during non-working hours. That is what voicemail is for. If you don’t recognize the phone number, let it go to voicemail.

Filter emails – Using rules within your email to send certain emails to a separate folder other than your inbox enables you to be in control of when you want to look at those specific emails.

Turn off notifications on apps – Explore the settings on your phone or Google how to turn off notifications so that you aren’t interrupted every time something new comes into your phone

Use Android Pocket Mode – If you experience pocket dials or mishaps when your phone is in your pocket, you will want to activate Pocket mode on your Android phone. When Pocket mode is turned on and your phone’s screen is blocked (as it would be if your phone were in your pocket), no operation of the phone will work (ex: turning phone on via your fingerprint or tapping on the screen).

Note: On an Apple phone there isn’t a simple way to disable pocket dialing. You must either lock your phone and/or turn off auto-wake.

Set time limits – Use your device to help you stay away from your screens. You can set the limits in your settings using Screen Time or other such settings to turn off your apps except the ones you want to use.

Use grayscale – For some people seeing all the various pretty colors and bright lights on their screen makes them not only happy but they are drawn to looking at their devices.

Turn on Do Not Disturb at bedtime – If you are not on call for your job or need to be alerted in your personal life, make sure you either turn off your phone, turn off the ringer and put your phone in vibrate mode, or check your settings to turn on Do Not Disturb.

Remember, you are in control of your electronic devices, not the other way around.

Photo: Pixabay

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Your Estate Planning Shouldn’t End When You Write Your Will

You’ve taken care of all your estate planning and have a health care proxy, power of attorney, and executor of your estate. Bravo! However, your estate planning really shouldn’t end when you write your will.

Consider this: what if the unspeakable happens and you are incapacitated or die. Does your health care proxy know how you want to be cared for? Do you want to be kept on life support, and if so, under what circumstances should life support be continued or terminated? Does your power of attorney know where you keep your important papers? Does your executor know where to find your will and, if you have any, trust documents?

Organize these important papers in one place or create a master list of where they are located. Let your key people and family members know where to find them.

If you have papers in a safe deposit box, your power of attorney will need to know where to find a key. You could staple your spare key to the master list you created to make it very easy to retrieve.

Another useful document to create and to give to a trusted friend or family member is a list of people to be notified in case of your death, with their phone numbers, and how you know them.  Update this list annually. Include friends, business associates, contacts at organizations you belong to where other members would want to know (and attend your funeral). If there is one person who can notify the group, all the better—make a note of that. That’s where it’s important to write down how you know each person. For example, you might have several contacts listed for the PTO or Rotary Club, but in each case, you can designate one person who can notify the other members.

Also list people who do regular work for you such as your house cleaner since your death might affect their scheduled work. Doctors and other medical providers will also need to be notified, especially if you have any upcoming appointments that will need to be cancelled.

The other important aspect of estate planning is to plan for your social media. Do you want your accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram taken down? Who will monitor those sites? In your digital world, how are you keeping track of your passwords? Would your trusted someone know how to access all your accounts including your email?

We live in a very complex world and all the planning you do now will make your executor/personal representative’s job much easier and smoother to facilitate.

Photo: Pixabay

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