Make Your Bed for Self-Care, Productivity and…Wealth?

Make your bed for good self-care It may seem pointless, especially if you live alone. I mean, who will know if you leave your bed unmade this morning? And you’re just going to crawl back in tonight anyway, right? From an efficiency standpoint, this may be one task you can let go of. But research Read More

Make your bed for good self-care

Photo of made bed and side table (Photo by Christopher Jolly on Unsplash)

It may seem pointless, especially if you live alone. I mean, who will know if you leave your bed unmade this morning? And you’re just going to crawl back in tonight anyway, right? From an efficiency standpoint, this may be one task you can let go of. But research shows that if you make your bed first thing in the morning, you’ll be more productive the rest of the day.

In the evening I (usually) come home to a neatly made-up bed ready for a fresh night of rest. How considerate of “morning me” to take the time to straighten the covers and plump the pillows! On the other hand, if morning me skipped making the bed in exchange for a little more time looking at social media, I come home to a disheveled bedroom. It’s a bit of a letdown and it means more work for tired “evening me.” Unless I’m sick, I’m going to straighten the covers and arrange the pillows before I get in regardless.

Why didn’t morning me think enough of evening me to do this?

When I wake up and head to the kitchen, I (usually) see an empty sink with dishes in the drainer, having dried overnight. It’s a morning habit for me to put them away while making coffee. It requires no concentration and very little time. But occasionally, there is a pile of dishes leftover from dinner and a dirty pan on the stove. Wow, dried-on kale is stubborn. And rice is the worst! This is going to take awhile.

Thanks a lot, evening me. Now I might not have time to make your bed. So there! (I see a little tit-for-tat going on here.)

When I make my bed in the morning I am practicing self-care. “Morning me” gets a little rush of adrenaline after checking that first chore off my morning to-do list, also known as my morning ritual.

I’m on a roll here! What’s next?

Next thing I know, I’m lining up my shoes in the closet, taking out the trash, and watering the plants.

What experts are saying

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” This is what retired Admiral William H. McRaven, author of the book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World*, said at the 2014 University of Texas at Austin Commencement. It is just one example of many habits that shaped him in his career as a Navy Seal that he applies to everyday life and work.

In his book, The Power of Habit*, Charles Duhigg refers to making your bed in the morning as a keystone habit. Make your bed (keystone habit), and then put away some clothes. Brush your teeth (keystone habit) and then floss. One habit prompts the next habit.

Can making your bed make you rich? In a  CNBC article,  7 Rich Habits of  Highly Successful People, Socio-economist Randall Bell, Ph.D. is quoted as saying, “those who make their bed in the morning are up to 206.8 percent more likely to be millionaires.” Hmmm. There may be something to this bed-making thing.

Three reasons to make your bed in the morning:

    • It’s an easy task – low-hanging fruit that gives you the feeling of accomplishment.
    • It starts a chain of neatness habits.
  • Evening you will thank you (and maybe even clean up the kitchen).

If you think making your bed takes too much precious time, set a stopwatch. You’ll probably find it takes a smaller amount of time than you expected. And if it takes more than a minute to make it, you may have waaaaay too many decorative pillows on your bed. Put the ones you don’t actually sleep with somewhere else until you have guests to impress.

So get up, make your bed, and get going, you fabulous morning you!

Need help getting organized and building good habits for a productive life?  Call me at 904-500-SORT (7678) or message me here for your free consult for organizing or life coaching. I’d love to help you simplify and Zen Your Den® (and your life).

Barbara Trapp, CAPM
Professional Organizer, Productivity Consultant, and Life Coach
Zen Your Den®
Professional Member, NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals)
Residential Organizing Specialist, NAPO
Workplace Productivity Specialist, NAPO

*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

It’s National Simplify Your Life Week: 4 Ways to Declutter Your Life

Just a week to simplify your life?? With the right mindset, you can make some real progress! Here are four suggestions to do just that: Schedule Chores and Errands In his book, The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy, Chris Bailey outlines his year spent conducting numerous productivity experiments on Read More

Just a week to simplify your life?? With the right mindset, you can make some real progress! Here are four suggestions to do just that:

Schedule Chores and Errands

In his book, The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy, Chris Bailey outlines his year spent conducting numerous productivity experiments on himself. One concept, scheduling blocks of time for various household tasks, proved to be a winner. It may not sound fun and exciting, but you might try this for a month. Instead of scattering tasks throughout the week, schedule a block of time for all your errands (grocery shopping, gassing up, etc.) and another for chores (laundry, vacuuming, cleaning). You’ll simplify your life and might free up some time in the process!

Keep ONE calendar

Simplify your life! A road sign with complicated simple words on sky background
Simplify your life!

A young college student contacted me for help with scheduling, time management, and general organization. Her first semester of school hadn’t gone well and she’d failed two courses. Her second semester would be a “do-over” – she needed to improve her GPA for nursing school.

I asked what planning system she was using if any, and she proudly produced four colorful paper planners with calendars, each for a different area of her life. I asked if that was working for her and she admitted it wasn’t. She spent more time updating her various planners (or looking for them) than actually getting assignments done. I encouraged her to select one planner for everything.

Recently I asked a new Baby Boomer client the same question. She also used four calendars! A large calendar pad covered the top of her small desk. She carried a decorative 5′ x 8′ planner for personal appointments and lists, and a larger, more serious looking planner for her new home business. She also used a digital planner. She too had hired me for help with time management.

Do you see a theme here? Both clients were trying to use multiple systems and still needed help with time management. Systems should serve your needs, not the other way around. Using just one calendar/planner instead of several can simplify your life.

Digital and paper planners and calendars

For individuals (middle school age and older), I recommend using one planning system. If seeing a “big picture” view is important to you (as it was with my Baby Boomer client), then select a paper planner with a two-page-per-month spread insert or, for digital planners, select the “month” view on a larger screen. Busy families and couples may need a shared calendar. A large wall/fridge calendar with everyone’s appointments is one solution. Or, for the tech-savvy, appointments can be shared by “inviting” others to the appointment.

What’s the difference between a planner and calendar? A planner may have both a calendar and a to-do list. I record all my appointments in my digital calendar so I can use alerts and GPS map features. My to-do lists are in a paper planner because ultimately, I am a paper planner person.

Stack Your Habits

Want to form a new habit quickly? Try habit-stacking. Let’s say you want to develop a new habit of taking a vitamin D pill every morning but you keep forgetting. You have no problem remembering to brush your teeth every morning because it’s an ingrained habit. To form the new habit of taking the vitamin, you put the bottle near your toothbrush. Then when you brush your teeth you will see the bottle, reminding you to take the vitamin. You’ve stacked a new habit on top of an old one! The strength of your strong habits can help you create new ones. Habit stacks create routines. Routines can simplify your life.

Here’s my morning routine:

  1. Turn on the coffee machine (old habit) and while the water is heating, empty the dishwasher (new habit).
  2. Fix my coffee (old habit) and make a glass of iced lemon water (new habit).
  3. Bring my coffee and water into the living room (old habit) and while the coffee cools a bit I meditate (new habit).

There are many books on the subject. Try Habit-Stacking by S. J. Scott for a huge list of examples.

Have Less Stuff

Numerous clients have become wistful over magazine layouts of uncluttered designer homes with nary a scrap of junk mail or tchotchke in sight. One client admitted she would be happy just living in a hotel room. Another took me to a relative’s home to show what they wanted their own home to look like. Nothing was out-of-place. Each room had what it needed to function and nothing more. The difference? Less stuff. They had simplified their home.

If you truly want a zen-minimalist-sparsely-decorated home but every existing space is filled, you will need to do some serious downsizing to achieve your dream. Stuffing the excess in storage units, closets and attics is not the same as downsizing.

Ready to simplify your life? I offer nonjudgmental help to busy and overwhelmed women like you! Call me at 904-500-SORT (7678) or message me here for your free consult. I’d love to help you simplify and Zen Your Den® .

Barbara Trapp, CAPM
Professional Organizer
Zen Your Den®
Professional Member, NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals)
Residential Organizing Specialist, NAPO
Workplace Productivity Specialist, NAPO

Moving Season Doesn’t Need to Mean Moving Madness

June marks the end of the school year, beginning of summer and peak moving season! Different sizes of containers – boxes, storage units, and homes – are being emptied and filled. Chaotic Packing Costs Time and Money I’ve worked with a number of organizing clients who hadn’t quite unpacked after moving a year or more Read More

June marks the end of the school year, beginning of summer and peak moving season! Different sizes of containers – boxes, storage units, and homes – are being emptied and filled.

Chaotic Packing Costs Time and Money

It's moving season! Here's an office filled with stacks of various moving boxes.
June to August is Moving Season!

I’ve worked with a number of organizing clients who hadn’t quite unpacked after moving a year or more earlier. They were busy, rushed, and in the end, had to just leave it to the movers to figure out. Later, boxes marked ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘extra kitchen stuff’ remain unopened in corners of attics, garages and storage units.

Feeling unsettled is… unsettling. Frazzled people hire me and together we unpack the mystery boxes. They realize they can do without most of our discoveries permanently. Mismatched glassware, worn linens, books, and odds and ends fill donation bags. The purging process starts slow, but momentum builds as we uncover more space. Space to think. Space to breathe. Space to live.

Getting organized before a move has benefits. According to a 2016 study by Wakefield Research for SpareFoot, more than 50% of us describe our homes as cluttered and 61% believe moving is the best opportunity to declutter. Things that are in their right homes when you pack will be packed together. Boxes that are clearly marked with related contents and room destination will be unpacked sooner. And less stuff means less moving and storage expenses!

Key Questions to Ask Yourself

Ask yourself these questions when deciding which items get to earn their way into your new home:

  • Do I only have this because I feel obligated to keep it?
  • Does something else I own have the same purpose?
  • Would I pay to move this?
  • Would I pay to store this?

Your answers might make the business of moving much less painful!

Need help decluttering before a move or settling in after one? Call me at 904-500-SORT (7678) or message me here for your free consult. I’d love to help you Zen Your Den®!

Barbara Trapp, CAPM
Professional Organizer
Zen Your Den®
Professional Member, NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals)
Residential Organizing Specialist, NAPO
Workplace Productivity Specialist, NAPO

How to Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails

Unsubscribe, Then Mass Delete While visiting my parents, my mother asked for help cleaning up her with inbox. She couldn’t find the landscaper’s bill, and since he was also her neighbor, she wanted to pay it promptly. I opened up her email account, entered the neighbor’s name in the search field and found the bill Read More

Unsubscribe, Then Mass Delete

Cutting Unsubscribe to Subscribe Paper Sign with Scissors on a white background
To Subscribe or Unsubscribe?

While visiting my parents, my mother asked for help cleaning up her with inbox. She couldn’t find the landscaper’s bill, and since he was also her neighbor, she wanted to pay it promptly.

I opened up her email account, entered the neighbor’s name in the search field and found the bill quickly. Then I counted. My parents were receiving an average of 55 – 60 emails per day. Political campaigns, charities, store advertisements… it was way more than they could manage. So, I sat down and mindfully unsubscribed from and deleted over 60,000 emails in less than two hours. This cut those daily emails in half (it’s a process!). Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your email program and choose a repeating email to unsubscribe from.
  2. Locate the search field in your email program, usually in the upper right corner.
  3. Type in the name of the email newsletter/business/association and press the Enter key. This should group all those emails together.
  4. Open the first email, scroll to the bottom and look for the ‘unsubscribe’ link. It may be a 3 pt font, but it’s there.
  5. Click that link. A browser window will open. There will either be an unsubscribe confirmation or a few more steps to complete.
  6. Go back to your email account and close the first email. If the rest of the emails are no longer grouped together, repeat steps 2 and 3.
  7. Click once to select (not open) the first email. Swipe down/scroll to the last email without clicking them.
  8. Hold down the SHIFT key and click the last email. All emails in that range should be selected. If you have trouble with this, click once to select (not open) the first email, hold down the SHIFT key, and tap the downward pointing arrow on your keyboard until all those emails are selected.
  9. Press the DELETE key. You’ve just mass-deleted emails.
  10. Repeat for any other groups of emails you wish to unsubscribe from and delete in mass.

Prevention is Key

  • To keep emails from getting to you in the first place:
  • When signing up for services online and before clicking a check box to ‘agree to terms,’ scroll up a bit to see what you are agreeing to. Chances are, there are several other prechecked boxes agreeing to newsletters, product news, or event offers from ‘partners.’ If you don’t want these, deselect those boxes.
  • Want to donate but not be deluged with frequent donation requests online or in your physical mailbox? Giving Basket allows you to give incognito to multiple charities at once and still get a tax credit. For more ideas on reducing junk mail, see this post on Junk Mail: How to Stop it and Let it Go
  • If you do subscribe to a newsletter, be sure to read the first few. If they are of no interest to you, unsubscribe and delete.
  • Note: Unsubscribe and Mark as Spam are not the same. One quietly removes you from a list. It’s like saying, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.” The other is a spam complaint in the eyes of email service providers and ISPs (Internet Service Providers). In short, marking an email as spam can hurt a business. Think carefully about which you choose. Most true ‘spam’ emails end up in your ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk’ folder anyway.

In case you were wondering, I did check with my mother to see what she wanted to get rid of first! I showed her how to do it herself in the future, but this gave her a head start.

Overwhelmed? Call me at 904-500-SORT (7678) or message me here for your free consult. I’d love to help you Zen Your Den®!

Barbara Trapp, CAPM
Professional Organizer
Zen Your Den®
Professional Member, NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals)
Residential Organizing Specialist, NAPO
Workplace Productivity Specialist, NAPO

Kiss Your Clutter Goodbye! (With or Without Marie Kondo)

Have you ever watched the show, Hoarders? What about binge-watching the series to scare yourself into throwing things out? Well, on the opposite end of hoarding is minimalism. There’s even a show for that. Then there is Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up… But what about an in-between solution for those of us who Read More