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Thursday, July 31, 2008

seven time savers...

Here are some easy ways to streamline your day, save time and frustration and potentially become and stay organized.

1. Organize tomorrow's stuff today!

Every night before bed, I organize my items for the next day (not my outfits... I wish! That would save time!!!) and check my calendar for appointments and to dos.  I also keep an ever-expanding to do list with me at all times. I put my purse and work bag by the door with all the items I will need for the following day. This saves stress and time in the morning while your trying to rush out the door. I also have a bowl for my keys right by the front door. I always put them there when I walk in so I always know where they are when I'm leaving. Simple but so effective!
2. Do Errands Before Work
I like to do my grocery store errands in the morning before work (when everyone else is still sleeping!) and its conveniently on my way to work. My grocery store opens at 6:00 a.m. I can pick-up coffee, purchase stamps, drop-off my mail, rent/return a DVD rental, buy my lunch, order a cake... I'd say 70% of my most common errands can be done in one stop. And, by going early, I avoid the tremendous stress and time crunch in the evening when everyone else is grocery shopping. Additionally, I plan a well organized list of needs in an order that makes since while shopping (i.e. I group all the fresh produce together, meat items together, etc.). This prevents back tracking while shopping.  On my list I also note items that I want to purchase organic with an "O" and if I have a coupon to use with a "C" to the left of the item on my list.  I mark the quantity the right of the item.  I also keep my coupons in the zipper pocket of my wallet for easy access while shopping.  I routinely remove and recycle unused and expired coupons and definitely recycle unneeded receipts. Lastly, when I have multiple errands to do out and about town, I literally plan the most efficient driving route. Saves on time, back-tracking, gas and stress. It seems so simple... and it is!  Just a little bit of planning saves soooo much time!
3. Pay Bills Online
I like to pay all of my bills online. It's that simple. Pay them online, on time, and its is sooo efficient.  And, save time and a stamp.  I know, this one is a no brainer!
4. Quick & Easy Lunches
I take microwavable frozen dishes for work. They are cheap and easy. I buy them ten at a time at the store with a coupon so I always have some on hand. It saves money and lots of time. You never have to fight the lunch-hour-rush at Taco Bell. Plus you have portion and calorie control.  Canned soups provide the same quick, easy and affordable lunches as you rush out the door in the morning.  Just grab a can.  I keep a bowl and spoon at work.
5. Clean Every Single Day
I make a point to organize and do light cleaning in my home (and at work) daily. When I use something, I put it away. Generally, this prevents huge messes from accumulating. Plus, the mental anxiety that I prevent is worth the snide remarks from friends and family about being OCD. It's probably true, but I always know where things are and my house is usually pretty clean. Plus, I keep a constant shopping list of cleaning supplies that are running low so I am never rushing out last minute for things I need. I watch the sales and stock up when they go on sale. I use earth friendly cleaning supplies that are more costly. Coupons and sales are my best friend!

6. Make Snail Mail A Priority

Correspondence is easy when you have a plan. I'm horrible at returning calls immediately (although I do return calls eventually). I like snail mail (the lost art!). I keep a stack of cards in my drawer at work. That way, if I need to send a card, I can. I also try to keep addresses and phone numbers with me at all times along with extra stamps in my wallet.

7. DVR the Musts Only

Since I don't have the Internet at home, I don't have to worry about whittling away my evenings on the web. But, I do love TV. My DVR is very useful in allowing me to record only the shows I LOVE to watch and I can fast-forward through the commercials. No better way to save time if you ask me!!!
So, there you have it, my seven tips for saving time. I'm sure many of you already integrate these strategies into your daily life. If not, give one or two a try...

Monday, July 28, 2008

a carnival in venice...

A magical place, Strauss Island, has been taking audiences away for over 20 years in the backdrop of the tiny island, the skies twinkling stars and the sounds of a 32-piece orchestra playing the compositions of Johann Strauss. This year, we were "whisked away to a carnival at the piazza amid the watery streets of Venice." Each year our blanket is laid reserving our space for the evening's festivities, a picnic is packed with delicious delicacies and we are prepared to go into a dreamland of waltz. The costumes, handmade, fit each performer perfectly. The set is creatively designed in a unique fashion. The dancers have tediously prepared each step. A welcome addition to this year performance: an Italian singer, fire performers, acrobats, and clowns! And of course, every year the story is about two young lovers... 
My favorite part of the whole performance was seeing my 7th grade computer teacher in a gypsy outfit with a gold earring. He looked soooooo whimsical... which is in great contrast to the semi-uptight teacher I knew years ago.  It truly made the evening and I've never laughed so hard!
What a delightful way to spend a Sunday evening under the stars!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the bag lady...

My parents tell it well--the story of me, as a toddler: "The Bag Lady!"
As a child, if I didn't have at least 3 or 4 bags filled with lots of junk trailing behind me in my every adventure, then you could find me surrounded in a sea of crayons and paper, sitting beneath my bedroom window in the afternoon sunlight, happy as a lark.
To this day, I still love coloring (crafting, scrapbooking, creating) and I still love bags. I'm not necessarily a "purse" person, although I have plenty. I do like purses. Nice purses. Pretty purses. Functional purses. Big purses. 
But bags, I love me some bags. I have an African market basket in the trunk of my car to hold strictly my reusable grocery totes.
Much to my delight, my co-worker gave me an amazing tan grocery tote with an adorable design. I love it. It has a website, so I checked it out. It's an amazing clothing line with fun stuff. The point is, however, that totes lead to such great things in life. They carry food safely from the market to the kitchen. Totes carry goodies from the craft store to a studio. They carry lunch from home to work. They carry hopes and dreams.  Wow.  That was epic. Ha!
Who knew, decades later, that I'd still love me some bags!?!

Monday, July 21, 2008

mission made impossible...

RIBBONS! I spent the better half of my Sunday morning organizing my ribbon collection. I'm excited to say, I'm finished. 
I sorted my ribbon by color in piles.
Then, I put the ribbons in color order in a hanging show rack on the back of the door.
It's beautiful, functional and easy to see my inventory while crafting.   I use shoe organizers for everything: cooking tools and spices in my kitchen; cleaning tools in my laundry room; scarves and accessories in my closet.  Heck, I use them for everything but shoes!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

pumpkin donuts...

For breakfast along with a banana, I enjoyed a pumpkin doughnut from a recipe in the book Deceptively Delicious, a gift from a co-worker Linda at Christmas last year. The making of the pumpkin doughnuts was a wish for the early arrival of Autumn.

Make them! They're gooood!!!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

my favorite quote...

And good day to you.
I want to share a quote with you. 
It's my favorite. 
I like it because it reminds me to be authentically me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Have a happy day!

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