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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stop! In The Name of Love

Time for Saturday 9.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love Saturday 9.  It's music.  I love music.  In this case if A=C and B=C then A+B=Love  Or, stated differently, Stop! In the Name of Love!

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) When this song was popular, the Supremes were known for their long gloves and full-length gowns. When was the last time you got dressed up?  Wow, that's almost too painful to think of.  I think the last time I wore gloves was in the 8th grade to my 8th grade dance. The last time I was in a dress was likely 2012 when my father-in-law's induction into the Birdville Athletic Hall of Fame.  I'm not a fan of getting duded up.  Although, not too terribly long ago I wore a flannel over a long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans and warm, fuzzy boots and one of my children asked me why I was all dressed up.  Clearly, I need to get out more.  And by "out" I mean, out of yoga pants.  If jeans is considered "dressed up," I may need to have my chick card revoked.

2) With a record 12 #1 hits, the Supremes remain America's best-selling vocal group. This must have been hard for Betty McGlown, the fourth Supreme, who left the group before they recorded their first song. Can you think of an opportunity you missed? No. Who wants to focus on regret?  I don't like to look to the past because it's not like I can go back to do anything about it.  I'm not going there.  Keep pressing forward.


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3) When "the girls" (Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Flo Ballard) first started hanging around Motown, founder Berry Gordy was reluctant to let them record. After all, they were still in high school. They refused to give up and eventually convinced him to let them add hand claps and finally back up vocals to recordings by other Motown artists. Tell us about a time when your persistence paid off.  I'll tell ya when it happens.  My life is a work in progress at present.  Socially.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  Plus, a teenager who is about to drive.  
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4) 50 years after its release, "Stop! In the Name of Love" is one of the most popular karaoke songs. Do you know the lyrics?  I know, "Stop... in the name of love.  Before you break my heart, think it oooooooooover."  That's about the extent of it.  I guess that would be a resounding no.  
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5) There's a children's playground named in Diana Ross' honor within New York's Central Park. It includes swings, slides, rope bridges and a fountain. When you played in the park, what did you run to first?  The swings... to swing as high as you could with your feet in the air and you could just feel like you were flying.... lean your head back and be free and then.... JUMP!  
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6) Diana stumbled in her high heels and broke her ankle as she left the stage after a November 2012 concert. What do you have on your feet right now?  Fuzzy slippers.  Told ya. I'm a professional slacker!

7) Ever the trooper, she honored her commitment to perform at a White House-sponsored Christmas concert just weeks later, even though her leg was still in a cast. Tell us about a time when you "played hurt."  I have an autoimmune disease that has more side effects that have been both completely humbling and excruciatingly painful. I don't play hurt.  I hurt. Some days my joints in my elbows are so painful, I can't rest my arms on the armrest of my car and just bending my fingers to grasp something feels impossible.  Constant migraines have also been something I've learned to push through not because I'm a bad ass but because I have to.  It sucks.  Life goes on.  Some days, I run out of spoons.  Most, I try to press through.  Crohn's.  It is what it is.  Improvise, adapt and move on.




8) Young Diana Ross was a good student and a tough competitor who made her school's swim team. Are you a good swimmer?  I can dog paddle.  I never actually quite grasped the breathing pattern required to do power swimming.  Nor have I ever had the desire TO learn.  I'm not a fan of being in a swim suit, my Casparian skin may blind those in close proximity.  If I had blonde hair, I'd be Elsa!
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9) Diana's older sister, Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, was the first African American woman to be appointed dean of an American medical school. Decades ago, Barbara juggled post-graduate studies and raising small children. Are you good at multi-tasking?  I could easily hold a PhD in multitasking.  I am Batman bitches!



Ready to play along?  Click below.  Join Saturday 9 for weekly fun!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday 13

(There was some weird hiccup I experienced when typing this so you will see the word "source" throughout this and NOT attached to photos... no clue how to delete it...and a couple of the photos were actually removed because they kept ... moving?!?  Oh well, I carry on!)

I love lists.  I love making lists.  I love checking things off lists and I love being able to consider them COMPLETED (though that's a rarity).  Enter Thursday 13.  A blank page for anyone to write about thirteen of anything.  Today, I'll disclose 13 places I want to take my children.
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I was recently gifted Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up.  Buy it here.  It really got me thinking.  We stay SO busy that it's really such a great idea to -- instead of taking the rare down time we do have to just CHILL -- use that time to make some memories and be present in the moment.  Since we are really only given a few years when our children WANT to have us around, why not use those years to BE present, to BE aware, to BE intentional with what we do while they're here.
This book covers the globe and while there are LOTS of places I would adore to share with my children abroad:
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Big Ben in London -- Peter Pan anyone?


Pompeii in Italy


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The Great Wall of China


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The Vatican to see Michelangelo's work


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The Acropolis in Athens


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The Colosseum 


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The Pantheon


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The Leaning Tower of Pisa
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Palenque is one of Mexico's most famous Mayan sites
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The Mayan temples in Mexico


The beaches of Normandy.  Here's a FANTASTIC article you should read.


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Machu Picchu in Peru.  


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Oxford University in England


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Jerusalem's Temple Mount


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The Cliffs of Moher


Favourable: BP looks to have negotiated its way into a much safer place with Moscow, although one can never discount the mercurial behaviour of the Kremlin
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The Kremlin


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Or, and most importantly, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney (lol, I was just seeing if you were paying attention)!

However, I'm sticking to the continental US (for now.)

1) New York City -- I've been to New York City.  Josh has been to New York City (last year with his 8th grade class) but I want to show them NYC my way.  From the Empire State Building to the Museum of Natural History, from Little Italy to China Town and not forgetting the Staten Island ferry and the Statue of Liberty herself...  the Bronx Zoo, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Greenwich Village, Central Park, Coney Island, Times Square, Grand Central Station and maybe even Yankee Stadium... maybe (smirk!)
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2) The Grand Canyon -- I realize it's just a big hole in the ground but... it's a really BIG hole in the ground.  So, being really big means I think we need to see it.  If for no other reason than to have a road trip!
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3) Colorado Springs, CO -- Who couldn't be happy with THIS view in their life every day?  There are many experiences I want to share here.  The US Air Force Academy, Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings, The Garden of the Gods, Royal Gorge Bridge, Old Colorado City just to name a few.  

4) Plymouth Rock -- I think it's a great starting point for the discovery of the rich (and brutal) beginnings of history of our country.
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5) Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia -- I went here in 7th grade and it's just such a fun experience.  Rich in living history.  They literally bring history to life!
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6) Washington DC and the surrounding areas.  There is SO much to do and experience here, it's almost a tragedy not to share this with your children.
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7) Valley Forge because I have a little history geek that I know would love more insight into some of the battlefronts of our nation.
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8) Pearl Harbor as this would definitely be Drew's dream come true.  He LOVES studying WW2.
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9) The Aurora Borealis in Alaska... I've wanted to take a salmon fishing expedition, photograph the grizzlies and see the Northern Lights since I was a child.  
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10) Washington state -- kayaking and whale watching along with some beautiful scenic drives... because, who WOULDN'T want to be here?  It's GORGEOUS!
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11) Disney World -- because, you know, I can NEVER get enough of Disney!  I'll go there as many times as you let me!
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12) Louisiana -- swamp tours, haunted tours, historical tours, Natchez Riverboat tours, cooking schools.... cajun food but I'll steer clear of the sex shops... because yeah.... no thanks.  
File:Riverboat Natchez, New Orleans Port, USA.jpg
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13) Alcatraz... because this scene always makes me laugh.  



So, there's my Thursday 13.  Where would you like to go?



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cricket Wireless SUCKS

Attention all Cricket Wireless customers, your information, full legal names, cellular numbers... and who knows what else may be compromised.  Do you realize that if the idiots working on their retail stores nation wide accidentally put an incorrect e-mail address in for someone's account, they're sending your information to who knows who.... and who knows what they will do with it.  

I've been receiving someone else's information and notifications for over four months.  I've tried repeatedly to get them to actually LISTEN to me and REMOVE my e-mail address from their database.

This is an actual conversation held between me and "Juan" this evening:

Juan: Hello! Welcome to Cricket Chat support, my name is Juan, how can I make your evening better?
April Driggers: Hi Juan. I've been trying for over 4 months to get my e-mail address removed from one of your customer's accounts. I keep getting e-mails notifying me that she has reached her full-speed data usage allowance. I think that's great but... I don't care :)
April Driggers: Her name is Ashley Driggers
April Driggers: My name is April Driggers
April Driggers: She has Cricket
April Driggers: I have Verizon wireless
April Driggers: we apparently have similar e-mail addresses.... and someone didn't put a dash or a period or something that would be HER e-mail address and so mine is associated with her account. I just want my e-mail removed completely from your system
Juan: Oh no! That sounds like you're having a difficult time. I understand how frustrating that might feel. But no worries, I'm here to help!
April Driggers: ###-###-#### is her number
Juan: Thank you. Now, May I have the authorization ID number for your account, please?
April Driggers: you're asking for information on an account that I don't own.
April Driggers: I don't have a cricket account
April Driggers: I'm with Verizon Wireless
April Driggers: I don't have her information.... because I'm not her.
Juan: May I have the first and last name on the account? 

CRICKET WIRELESS AT SOME POINT YOU NEED TO TEACH YOUR EMPLOYEES TO USE SOME F'N COMMON SENSE AND STEP AWAY FROM THE SCRIPT.  THIS is what is wrong with customer service... THERE IS NONE.  I'm not even a CUSTOMER and I would tell everyone not to walk but to RUN AWAY FROM YOU NOW!

Your customers should be worried what other information you're going to share with complete strangers.....

What was their suggestion?  Their suggestion was for ME to go out of my way to go to a corporate headquarters to get MY information removed from their database.  I'm sorry but that is ABSURD.  

Cricket... you suck.  
#cricket #yousuck #customerservice #nightmare 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Organization - Day 2 - Establishing Weekly Plans


You made it past day one of your new year!  The year you are going to get your stuff  together!! Whoop Whoop! You're on a roll now!

Yesterday in this post, we talked about making a list of tasks you hope to do daily. Today, we are going to get a little more specific.  You see, you know your schedule better than anyone else which is why just any home management or personal organizer won't work.  You need to customize one JUST FOR YOU!  

Don't let that idea scare you.  I can assure you that it is simple and easy!  Stay with me.... I promise it all makes sense... just stick with it one day at a time!  And yeah, I totally just had this image of a round haired Cristy Lane and that annoying infomercial pop in my head... and people wonder why I don't watch television!  Ya know, I bet Olan Mills took this picture too.  They always liked the "hand by the chin" pose with the head tilt.  Although, at second glance, she could give Glamour Shots a go with that hair and make up.  But, she doesn't have on enough bling for it to be a true Glamour Shot, however.

But I digress.  Let's get back on topic!

So, because of yesterday, you have already made your list of things that you hope to get accomplished every single day.  This is your DAILY list.  Sometimes referred to as your "daily docket"  "daily agenda"  

To briefly review, you could have something like -- 30 minutes of exercise, 8 glasses of water, vitamins, 1 load of laundry, lay out your clothes for tomorrow, wipe down the sink, daily devotional, reload the dishwasher, read 30 minutes, etc.  Those are all great daily goals to have on your list.

One thing I will say is to make certain that you are making time on your list for YOU specifically.... if your goals this year are to read more, be sure that you're setting yourself up to accomplish that goal.  WIthout action, there are only ideas.  It's time to make what you want happen.. happen!  It can be done!  Write it on the list... do it now!


For me, the idea of breaking down my week into specific days HELPS because it develops routine.  Routines become habit.  When you do things out of routine, it's easy to just put your brain on autopilot and do what needs to get done because you've already established the parameters for getting it done.  This helps SO MUCH for someone like me with an autoimmune disease because on the days when I really can't get anything done, I am not only aware what I'm missing, but also, and more importantly, I know what I need to delegate. 

Creating a routine can be hard, especially if you're kind of a free spirit fly by the seat of your pants kinda person.  However, for ME, I have to have routine because I have three boys in three very different stages of life (a high school freshman, a 4th grader and a preschooler).  Without having a plan in place, I get nothing I want to do done and my life becomes a series of shuttling children between sporting events and social obligations.  That in and of itself requires the flexibility on my part to make it happen... especially if anyone wants to eat dinner before 11pm.  However, I can do this thing called "super mom" because of having developed routines.  Having an idea of what I have going on helps me to establish those daily goals.  It also helps me TEACH my CHILDREN the importance of routine.  I hate, loathe, abhor, detest nagging.  So, if they know every Tuesday they need to do their laundry or every Sunday they can expect to wash their own sheets and remake their beds, it's more likely to get done.  Perhaps with just a gentle reminder, but certainly not a nag.  We all know when you nag... they all look like this. Can I get an amen?

Your motivation to be organized will help cultivate your routine into a habit which makes you happy and creates calm in your universe.  Isn't that an awesome thing to look forward to?  I'm going to teach you to take the stress out of your life... one little day at a time. Seriously, this is huge.  Hop on board.

Again, I digress (do you see why I need routine?  I digress... A LOT!)

So, while some people may have time on Mondays to do the bulk of all household chores and duties, I do not and can not devote much time because frankly, Mondays suck.  

While some people may want to meal plan on Wednesday nights after they get their supermarket flyers in the mail that day, others may choose a weekend to do that.  The beauty of setting up your system is that it is completely personalized to you.  This is paramount to putting these things on YOUR schedule for YOU!  MAKE THIS WORK FOR YOU!

By actually having a routine and a plan, you have afforded yourself the flexibility of being able to be more spontaneous!  Why?  Because now you know when the things that need to get done WILL be done!

So, what system SHOULD you use?  

To be honest, you're the only one that can answer that for you.  There are SO many out there in the blogosphere that it will make your head spin. 

Seriously, if you check out Pinterest your head may explode with all the personal homekeeping binder systems and personal organizer systems that are available.  There are thousands of them.  Some are free.  Some cost... a LOT.  Many you can buy from Etsy.com sites but then you have to download them and worse... you have to print them. Do you know how much it costs to print a color copy?  I do.  It's about a $1... per PAGE! I don't many people that have color laser printers at home that duplex either.  So, while they're really PRETTY, they're really just not practical.  Inkjet... if you get a drop of water on it... there it goes!  I'll make a confession here.  I love pretty personalized planners that are FULL of color and design and coordinated stickers and I can use 15 different colored pens to fill them in.... but at the end of the day, if they aren't meeting all my needs, they're actually deterring my progress rather than being an avenue leading toward it.  So, until I find something out there that does everything that mine will... I'm just going to keep printing mine out, binding it myself and knowing it's perfect -- just -- for -- me!  And you can too!

So, for now, my plan for you is to help you keep it simple.  Get down to basics and then you can pretty it up!  Let your planning/organization style emerge and then, and only then, will you have the tools to be able to tweak another system and truly make it yours.  In order to avoid all the high prices, here is a printable to help you list what you need to get completed on each day of the week.  Click here.  There is room at the bottom just in case you think of something that MAY need to happen but you're not sure when... at least it's in the right spot, just maybe not assigned a day....but being there on that list is 9/10 of the hard work accomplished!


While I have my list of DAILY tasks, I also have a list of tasks specific to any given DAY. For instance, I have some of the following "to do's" on specific days in my week 

Sunday
  • Sheets (I always wash or have my boys wash their sheets on Sunday)
  • Plan Menus (Yes, I grab the sales flyers, my cook books, sit at my computer and use the online software Plan-To-Eat (there's a link to the right). to drag my recipes to a calendar, the software populates the shopping list and bam, you're out the door.  It's the biggest time saver in meal planning.  Simply amazing.)

Monday
  • Mop the kitchen and bath, clean mirrors, and dust.

Tuesday
  • Free day
  • I will focus in one specific area for whatever challenge group I signed up for
  • Spend 15 minutes in my current zone (home is broken down into zones for ease in distributing them throughout the year)  more on that later
  • Scrapbook (again, the importance of scheduling your personal interests and hobbies into your day)
  • Clean out the refrigerator (notice it's the day before grocery day... just makes sense)

Wednesday
  • Grocery Day (kids are typically in school on a Wednesday, take the little one and head straight for the store.  I hit Starbucks on the way and I do believe I could summon my inner Julie Andrews and belt out The HIIIIIIiiiiiillll are alllllllllllllllllliiiiive with the sound of muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusiccccccc just for having been to the store sans children.  It's a spiritual thing.)
  • Zone Clean 
  • Write thank you notes, letters or any correspondence that needs to go out

Thursday
  • Errand Day
    • Post Office
    • Library
    • Buy gifts/cards
  • Vacuum
  • Spend 15 minutes in the current zone

Friday -  Family Fun Day
  • GCSML Meetings (1st)
  • Clean out purse
  • Clean out car
  • Photography Friday
  • Sync calendars

Saturday Date Night 


This is my typical week.  Does everything always happen on the exact day I'd planned?  Nope.  But, it's easier to work ahead or move things out if there is a plan in place that I know about.  

Some of these terms such as "zones" are used by the Flylady system.  While I do love and appreciate the extensive detail, I did found this method a little too time consuming, cumbersome and WAAAAY too many e-mails, testimonials and sales pitches for the cleaning products.  I don't want post-it notes all over the place and I don't really need or want a daily routine that tells me to get dressed and make my bed.  I do, however, suggest you take a peek because there may be some information to garner from her site.  It's free.  Some people may need and desire that much detail... but for me, notsomuch.  This was one of those where she put hers out there and said to personalize it to your needs but the continual influx of information was still based on what she had set up so it was all just a big cluster @#$@# and made me all splody headed!  I do, however, still use the idea of her ZONES for my cleaning habits.

Another one that others may be interested in is called Unfuck Your Habitat.  Yeah, the name is a tad harsh but so are the hoarding piles and dustbunnies in some people's lives. Expletives scare me not, so, if you can get past the title, check out the page.

Other items that you may want to include on your specific weekly lists:
  • Change/wash all bathroom hand towels
  • Sort through 10 bookmarks or digital files on your computer to cull, delete or organize.  Clutter is EVERYWHERE!  Digital or otherwise.
  • Restock your car with supplies.
  • Cull magazines
  • Clean bathroom mirrors
  • Mop a specific room
  • Dust (you can go a bit further and specify certain rooms on certain days)
  • Family game night.
  • Grocery store
  • Clean toilets, sinks and tubs
  • Meal plan
  • Vacuum
  • Errands
  • Work on your home inventory with photos, documentation and back-up video for insurance purposes.
  • Personal filing
  • Calendar / schedule check

So, your task now is to go through what you KNOW your schedule to be and write down those specific items that you know need to be done on specific days.  

Ready.  Set.  Go!  I would love to know what you've added to your lists!

Happy New Year! Let's Get Organized for your day! It's time for the Lists

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Well, it's the first day of the new year... and man it's been a doozy of a day for me.  Crohn's.  Sucks. 'Nuff said.

However, with the "down" days, I still try to do, plan, be organized and present.  Today is no different.

With the new year comes the new year's resolutions.  As I've stated time and time again, I am not a resolutions maker.  Why?  Because people tend to make them... screw up once and have the mindset of "well, I gave it a go."  Then they go back to their old ways of doing whatever it was they were attempting to change silently thinking "failure" in their mind.  What a way to sabotage your motivation!

Friends, I'm here to tell you the ONLY time you FAIL is when you QUIT!  Or stated differently by someone I highly admire...


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I've loved some of the meme's I've seen about that very thing... quitting over one hiccup.  Ya just don't need to do it!  
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I'm always fascinated by the idea of resolutions for the new year.  I don't really understand WHY people feel the need to wait for a whole new year to make positive changes in their lives when they have the option to do that EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

Aren't I just a ray of sunshine?  


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I'm thinking of the typical new year's resolutions I hear (in no particular order)

1) lose weight
2) stop smoking
3) stop drinking
4) eat healthy
5) get fit
6) further education
7) further career (raise, promotion, etc.)
8) take a trip
9) get out of debt
10) get organized

So, HEY, if you're on the resolution bandwagon and need the motivation of a new year (which is here now) and want help to get your groove on and plan your a new, blank slate... your time is now!  And aren't you lucky?  That's what I'm here to help with RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!  

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The easiest place to start with any of your resolutions is by getting organized!  Why?  Because you can't do any of the other until you actually accomplish that goal.  I'm not talking about having color coded bins with all of your children's socks matched, your garage floor squeaky clean and have homemade cleaners whipped up to make your house eco friendly (although, that is coming, if you're interested).  I'm talking about simply starting out your day with a plan -- an organization of your time, if you will.  

Unless you're a freak of nature, it's not common to wake up ready to roll with a mental list already made, whittle away that list, forget nothing, stay on track, manage all the curve balls thrown at you and feel accomplished at the end of the day with all your i's dotted and your t's crossed with your gold plated calligraphy pen without missing a beat.  If so, you could just BE Batman.  But, I won't have that preposterous notion floating around in my head so we will focus on the fact that we need to get you organized!


And, lucky you!  It's a new year.  You have a clean slate so let's move forward with that momentum to get you a plan.  The key to everything is to use that momentum to make this into a habit.  Once it's a habit, you've worked yourself into your own personalized plan.  So, simply stated, to start out -- you need a plan.

There are TONS of systems out there... but if you're like ME, they're never just quiiiiiiite right for you.  How do you go about having a system in place when you can't find a plan you can use straight out of the (proverbial) box?  Well, if you're anything like ME -- you MAKE one!  I'm not one for conformity anyway.

So it's time to break out your ole pen and paper, grab a cup of something delicious and let's get started! 


There ya go... pick a pencil... any pencil. 

I like to start out simple and grab a pencil and a spiral binder.  It's a GREAT tool to start working on making your plan.  It's new, clean, lined paper just waiting for a list!  The very first few pieces of paper are going to be the guide to the rest of your life.  I'm serious.  Take those pages and across the top of the first several ones, write the following headings:


Daily

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Weekly

Bi-Weekly

Monthly

Bi-Monthly

Quarterly

Semi-Annually

Annually

Can you guess what comes next?  That's right, you get to have a major brainstorming session of the things that you WANT and HOPE to accomplish during each one of these time periods over the next few days.

This is YOUR MASTER list.  YOU know where YOU live and when things happen in YOUR life so you're not going to be dictated to when something wanted something done because that's when it's printed on your planner.  You're going to put it on YOUR planner because THAT is what works for YOU!  See? I just can't roll with the other.  I don't like or appreciate people telling me what to do when.  I like to be in complete control.  

So, because I do, get to as well!  Yay us!  I kind of feel like we should be running in with arms pumped in victory because this will be our plan!  It will be good!

Keep that motivation running.... let's start today with a Printable Daily Docket you can get here.

I'm telling you, you will want to add this snappy shirt to your yoga pant ensemble and you will DESERVE IT!  


So, start your "DAILY" brainstorm... What are things that you have to do every day no matter what.  This could be something as simple as "take your medicine" or "walk the dog" or "check the mail" or "do a load of laundry"... "set dinner out to thaw"... "journal"... "feed and water the dogs"... "tolerate the cat" (Hahah!  I'm not a cat person).  But this list... this DAILY list should contain things that you want to do on a daily basis regardless of the day of the week.  

I've seen plans written out "make bed" on the daily list.  Me, personally, I really don't need to waste the space or devote the time to make sure that I check that off of my list because when I get out of bed, I pull my covers up.  It's already an engrained habit in my head requiring me no reminder.   However, I'm REALLY bad about taking my vitamins at night so I DO keep that one on there as a visual reminder to do what is needed.  If you are one of those people who needs the extra nudge via a check box and reminder, to make your bed or to help you establish a HABIT so that it becomes second nature and part of your permanent plan, by all means, throw it on the list.  You're certainly not going to offend this girl.

Record your daily goals or goals you HOPE to establish this year to do on a daily basis.  

Tomorrow we will work on specific weekday assignments.

Get listing people!  There's a method behind my madness... want to know why I do what I do?  

Because at the end of the day, I want to hold my children's attention longer than I hold my phone.  I want the relationships I foster to be ones that are tangible.  While my friends on Facebook matter to me... they are not the ones that need my attention.  My family is and so by creating a plan of action, everyone's needs will be met and I will feel accomplished, satisfied... and... dare I say it... super!

And just because we're talking supers.... this is more my style.  :)  Just sayin;