Category Archives: Time Management

To-Do Lists that will Make Your Brain Sing




Today I would like to share the 5 steps that would make your brain so happy you have created a to-do list!


Write everything down.


You might need to keep a journal or a notebook accessible at all times, use the Notes app on your phone or something similar. The main idea is to keep all your notes in one place and not scattered through the office/house/car on separate sticky notes.

Very soon you will notice that some tasks keep appearing on your list over and over again. Those are the ones that keep sitting in the back of your mind and take the brain power from the work that needs to be done. Just like a smartphone, the brain collects junk files. Just like the smartphone, if those junk files are not taken care of, they will drain the power from your brain. We don’t want that, do we?

To free the brain from junk files, add them to your list. Once you see which ones keep coming back, spend a couple of minutes deciding if they are really that important or it is something that can be left alone.

For example, if you notice the same “ send the Christmas cards” showing on your list in November/December all you need to do is act on it. If it is still on your list in February, it is time to ditch that idea and free your brain space for something else. Do you see how the same idea can be a VIP file or a JUNK file depending on your own circumstance?


At night before bedtime, go through your list and highlight only the tasks that need to be done tomorrow.


Why is it important? This activity allows you to free up some space and recharge your brain while you are sleeping without those nasty JUNK files in the background. What is going to happen to all the other important items? They are on your list so they will not perish. The following night, before highlighting, go a few days back on your lists and re-assess their importance. If still important, copy and paste. If not – JUNK file.

Be realistic about what you can do in a day.


It sounds like this piece of advice is applicable to over-achievers only, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from it. Being realistic about your day and allowing yourself to under-set your goals allows your brain to cheer when you those items get checked off your list. The happy hormone, dopamine, is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain‘s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards but to take action to move toward them. So once you make your brain happy about crossing something off your list, your brain will start looking for ways to get more items crossed off the same list.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true also. When you lose and don’t get done what was on your list, you feel discouraged and upset, your brain does all in its power to help you avoid those emotions again by steering you clear from any lists and tasks, leading you into a procrastination trap.

In a nutshell, if you think you can get six tasks done, write down four as your primary goal and the other two as your flexible goal. Make sure, though, to not add the VIP tasks to flexibles, yes? This way if the four are done and no time for the other two, you are still golden! If you still have time for the other two, well, you did a fantastic job today!


Find a way to celebrate every time you check an item off.


This is a big deal. Only celebrating will tell your brain to release dopamine. That’s how you train your brain to get things done.  How to celebrate? Great question!

Include as many senses as you can. Ticking it off on your computer or phone – add a touch tone. Do a little happy dance. Reward yourself with a stroll around the office and a friendly chit-chat with a co-worker. Get a cup of coffee. Or tea. Or a glass of water. Make sure your celebration is visual (include something you can see, such as a thick line all the way across the goal), auditory (whisper “yeah!” as you are slowly crossing the thing off your list), and tactile (by using a marker that glides over the paper). Get creative and your brain will reward you!


Take care of yourself first.


Taking care of yourself is not optional. When planning for your day, insert the times when you will be taking care of yourself. A short walk around the office or a quick stretch might be just exactly what your brain needs to recharge or get perspective on the problem you were stuck solving for a week. Now, if you don’t include self-care into your to-do list, chances are you won’t do it.

Set your priorities straight from the very beginning and take care of yourself first. You are the one who makes things happen. So go, make them happen!

The 5 Ways to Be On Time Every Time


I can not believe she did it again! We were meeting at 2 pm, it’s almost three and I am still here by myself. What if something happened? What if she can’t make it? What if she is already on her way?


The frustration, anger, helplessness and acceptance were rushing through me as I was waiting for my friend to show up at the downtown square. She was two hours late. This happened before cell phones and emails. Yes, I am that old, haha! While waiting for her, I thought I should have run to the pay phone and call her home. What would have I achieved? I would have cause worry to her grandma who’d have picked up the phone. And I could have missed my friend, who, being late herself, might have thought I left already. So I stayed. It was hard to have a conversation like nothing happened but I forgave her eventually. That’s what friends are for, right?


Truth to be told, once I didn’t wait. She showed up an hour and a half late and waited for me for another hour and a half.  Was she furious! At that point we could have stopped being a friend at all, things like that happen easily when you are seventeen. I valued her friendship more than anything, so we made up and I always waited for her, starting that day.


This friend of mine has passed away to cancer and the memory of seeing her rushing through the downtown square to meet with me is still warm in my heart. We were friends since first grade, she was a part of my life for a long time. She taught me there is more to being late than simply being an undisciplined person.


A person who knows nothing of discipline would not have graduated both high school and college with honors.  She wouldn’t be able to crochet whimsical designs and stretch a penny so far if she was not disciplined.


She taught me that being on time is a problem of a different matter.


The understanding of this came to me when I realized that even if I leave later than usual and do not speed on the highway, I can still make it on time, sometimes half the time. It still sounds woo-woo even to myself, but it is true. I am never late.


I have this built-in respect for people’s time and life, so to be late for me equals robbing them of their lives. Every minute I am late, I waste somebody else’s life. No pressure. LOL.


I was always stressed out, having a job, the college, completing the Master’s Thesis and teaching third grade. Always trying to be everywhere on time.


Fast forward a couple of decades, I am still on time. I am not stressed or worried. I know I will be there when I need to be there. The time itself has got my back.


WOAH! Lady! What are you talking about?


This is pretty weird but bear with me for a bit more.


Did you notice how the time slows down and just drags itself while you are trying to complete a task that is no fun? It is so slow you can feel the pain of every second passing. I even had moments when I would stare at a clock to only realize that it took forever for that second to blink. It goes like this: look at a clock, see it says 47 seconds to a minute, look away, look back and it’s still 47 seconds to the minute and HOLDING!!! Then I snap out of it and the seconds continue to flow the way they normally would.


I believe that when I am on my way to get somewhere, I also fall into that state of longer seconds.


I like to think of time as a river, with everything that a river can offer. The river that will bring me where I need to be when I need to be there. But, that doesn’t help you much when you are not in the flow, do not believe there is a river and are often late.


You boss is upset and your friends just snort when you promise you will not be late ever again.


So, where to start?


Get real.

Being fashionably late is not the same as being late for a business meeting, correct? We all are way too well familiar with a waiting room procedure when having a doctor’s appointment. Remember that feeling that someone very particular doesn’t care about your time. Remember that you can almost feel those minutes running through your fingers and the doctor is elsewhere hopefully doing their job. It doesn’t matter how long you have to wait. Ten minutes, twenty, or an hour. They are all pieces of your life. Now, get real. Every time you are late you are WASTING somebody else’s life’s minutes or hours. No wonder they are frustrated when you show up!


Get smart.

Always check how long it will take you to get to the meeting as soon as you put in on your calendar AND add a buffer to it plus 50% if meeting online or phone or 75% if driving. But what if I get there early? Well, yay to you! Bring a book, a project, listen to the music, use the 10 extra minutes to use the restroom, get a drink of water, fix your lipstick or your tie…


Become flexible.

Break your projects into smaller chunks and consult with your planner after each is complete. If you are getting too close to the time you should be on your way, stop and, if you can, bring it with you or switch to a shorter task. Keep an eye on the clock, though. Set a timer if it would help you leave on time.


Apologize for real.

Don’t make excuses or false promises. Do acknowledge you are late and you understand the waiting party must feel frustrated. Apologize for not planning properly and tell them what it is you are going to do to prevent this from happening again. For example, leave 15 minutes earlier, book a cab 24 hours in advance, check the WiFi connection 30 minutes before the webinar.


Pay attention.

Pay attention to yourself and how you flow through time. How you treat time. How you find time.


And then, when you find time, the time will find you.


Superwoman No More!

If you look at my profile on Facebook or my website online you will probably learn I am a professional organizer. If you read deeper into my posts online and my blog, you will learne I had owned a business before this one, I was a teacher, and I love to cook and entertain. I am a fanatic of Pinterest and all things streamlined to make my life easier so I can have time to do things I love, like sewing and painting. I homeschool my kids because I don’t believe public schools are meant for everybody and I really enjoy seeing my boys growing up every day.


I own a business, I have a blog, I run a support group on Facebook, I homeschool, and housekeep every day of the week. I take my kids to practices, I teach Russian at the homeschool co-op, I was promoted to an intermediate level at the dance class I am taking. I served chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting for dessert last night and have a Mississippi pot  roast in my crock pot as I am writing this.


If you are reading this and thinking, is this woman even real, I have to say Yes, I am real.


I am so real, that I have a load of laundry in the dryer and no desire to get onto it. I have the roast in the crockpot  thanks to my freezer meal club friend Mandy. If not for that, I would have been working my butt off in the kitchen instead of writing this.


My youngest has just climbed onto my lap as I am writing this and is refusing to go, so I am working on my laptop sitting in his lap. He wants his cuddles and he will get them no matter what.


I have a lot on my plate and becoming a professional organizer was a very logical step for me to take. How else can I help others to get the crap load of stuff done and enjoy their loved ones and their lives? I help by  coming to their homes and streamlining their kitchens and pantries and closets. I speak at events. I have a blog.


What I had recently realized, though, is that it’s not what I am really doing.


I am not Martha Stewart, the Flylady, or Marie Kondo.  And I don’t want to be like them. Don’t get me wrong, they all are doing unbelievably incredible work, but that is not what I am.


I am a real woman. Some may say I am mature, others may suggest there are areas in my life that need some work. There is always room for improvement, you know?


Well, so you know, he hasn’t left and this is how the majority of this blog post has been written.

blogging with a toddler

blogging with a toddler


I haven’t cropped that picture on purpose. Because crumbs on the floor happen a lot more often than the vacuum. And I had made peace with that. There will be dishes in my not so shiny sink and there will be wet laundry forgotten to be moved into the dryer. Because I am a real woman, there will be pizza for dinner. And I will get so tired and touched out that all I would want is to run off and sit in Target’s parking listening to my own thoughts.


I have lived a Superwoman lifestyle for seven years. My kitchen always sparkling, my laundry was done and my vacuum ran. I ran a daycare out of my home, working 70 hours a week. I was in high demand, business thriving and yet somehow I felt I was failing. I know now it happened because I was taking care of everything and everyone but myself.


You see, I failed to recognize that I was in the center of pretty much everything happening in my life, the lives of my family, my household, and my business. I took it all for granted not realizing I put so much strain on myself, I gave out. I quit the business. I focused on myself and my family.Thankfully, I was able to do that.


I failed to recognize that I was in the center of pretty much everything…  I took it all for granted not realizing I put so much strain on myself, I gave out.


I could say there won’t be a Superwoman anymore. I chose to be me instead of being her.


But, just as before, others would ask me how do you manage it all? How is your home clean, meals are prepped and laundry folded, you have time to run a business, homeschool, be a part of a freezer meal club, speak at events and love on your husband and kids.


There is only one answer. I am not a superwoman, not anymore anyway. I listen to my system and to my body. If it tells me I need to slow down, I do so. It won’t cause the world to end if my laundry piles don’t get done tonight. The world won’t collapse because my sink isn’t as shiny as a new diamond ring.




On the other hand, my family might collapse if I am overtired and extra cranky. If they need my support and my attention and all I can think about is that the bed didn’t get made this morning.  I chose to be there for them and put them in as my priority.


I believe your life can be much easier and much more enjoyable if you have your things organized in a manner that works for your lifestyle. I do not believe the quality of your life can be influenced by owning a closet system from California Closets, or being able to afford the best baskets ever for your pantry. Those are merely things and they exist to make your life easier not to make you happy. What makes you happy is the relationships with your loved ones at the time saved with the help of those systems.


No, I am not a superwoman. Not anymore.


I have created systems in my life to support my lifestyle.


I have accepted the fact that I can not have it all at all times but at the certain time, I can truly have it AND enjoy it all.


Do you feel like that sometimes?


Do you feel the pressure of modern America have it all picture worthy and Pinterest-like?


Are you ready to step down, take off the cape, and just live your life?


If you said yes to the questions above, please, join us at the Superwoman Anonymous, a Facebook support group I created to support real life women like you and me who sometimes just want a minute of quiet in order to hear our own thoughts.


And yes, if you are wondering, I am for hire. I can and I will help you change your life. One closet at a time.  But that is something we can discuss in private, over here.


I am a BIG procrastinator, are you?

Do you procrastinate?


If you are anything like me, you hate wasting time. Every minute that is not filled with a meaningful action that leads me closer to my ultimate goal, drains my energy and fills me with disappointment, stress, and sometimes even panic.


Having read this about me, you probably think I am the person who is always working, stays on top of my to-do list, and has it all done in timely fashion with perfect results.


Here is the truth about yours truly. I procrastinate. A LOT.


Just like everyone else I have things I need to do, I should do, I must do. There are also things I would rather delegate or outsource. I always have one or two things that, frankly, blank me out.


Recently I read something about knowing your goals and knowing the goals for your business. The author stated that you can describe what you do in 5 short sentences. I would love to do that. But once I grab my pencil, all I hit is a huge block. I sit there and stare at  pure blank page of my journal, never able to put even one word down. So, I walk away. The next day, I catch my mind going back and forth to the topic and looking and looking and looking for the answers I wanted. Once it’s ready, it will hit the reset and I will get my answers on the paper in 15 minutes.


This approach works every time. It is called creative procrastination.


Let me tell you what NOT to do, first:

  • Do not procrastinate on things that have a deadline
  • Do not procrastinate on things that are crucial to your MMA (money making activities)
  • Do not procrastinate because you are lazy, unfocused, or are simply dragging your feet. Identify those reasons fast and act accordingly


Now, here is what to DO to get the best out of your act of creative procrastination:

  1. Switch your tasks around, make sure you are not just being a bum
  2. Set up reminders in your planner, calendar, or bullet list (or all the three of them, that’s how I roll) to NEVER allow procrastination become avoidance
  3. Give yourself enough time to stew, do something rewarding and use the momentum to jump into the dreadful task. Still stuck? Move back to step 1.
  4. If you find yourself being really stuck, nothing helps, you may be dealing with a good size block. Seek help. Post in a support group. Talk to your coach. PM me ;).


p.s.  The post on Procrastination has been on my list for a couple of weeks now. But I don’t think I was ready to deliver this baby yet. So I took my time. And have it written in less than 20 minutes.  It is not perfect, God knows I am aware of it. But it is written. And I sure hope you find it helpful.

p.p.s. If you’d like to know what else I have up my sleeve that can help you with your time management and productivity, leave a comment below, and I will get back with you as soon as I can.