Family Room Fixes to Encourage Communication

June 30th, 2014

family-room-lIf the kitchen is the heart of the home then the family room/living room is the soul. It is the room that brings the family together. It is a place to relax, unwind, entertain and be entertained. Communication happens here and relationships are built and/or strengthened here. Is your family room conducive to communication or is it cluttered with energy draining reminders?

First, take a look around. Often things are piled because they do not have a “home.”  Remove those things that do not belong in the room or create a space for them. Do you have enough storage for your CD’s, DVD’s and Video Games? Shelves, baskets or closed cabinets work well for these. Sort all media into piles and then count or measure how much you have before purchasing new containers. Be sure that you leave space to grow. Recycle newspapers, catalogs and all but the current month of your magazines unless there are important articles you want to read. Tear them out and put them in a plastic file folder (the kind with the string closure) and keep them in your car for those unexpected waiting times. Consider cutting down on those magazines that you never seem to get to read.

Take a look at the furniture placement. Is it encouraging communication or is the seating spread out to the edges of the room? It is often difficult to have conversations especially while the TV is on if people are seated too far away. Ever notice how loud commercials are? Well, take advantage of those three minutes to communicate by pausing (if you have a DVR) or muting the commercials. Discuss the show or take time to connect with your family. Better yet, plan some family fun for one or two nights a week and keep the TV off.

Keeping the family room neat and functional makes it the room everyone wants to be in. Take the time to give it a summer pick me up and then have the family take 10 minutes before bed to put everything back in its place. Then enjoy the added time to connect with your loved ones.

If you’re not sure where to start, or your room needs some extra organization help, then give me a call (781.659.0513) and in two or three hours you’ll be amazed at the difference.

The Art of the Master To Do List

June 20th, 2014

mama bearThere once was a Mama Bear who felt like she was part “day planner.”  Every day she would go through the calendar and the to do list. She would gently remind the little bears what activities they had or what they needed to “get done” and also prompt the papa bear of what he needed to remember too. Often the Mama Bear would mention a task or problem that needed fixing, and unless it was urgent, or papa bear had free time at that moment….it often went undone. This continued for years until the Mama Bear realized she was doing all the remembering and everyone was depending on her to think for them and still things were not getting done.

So, Mama Bear, being the “organized” one decided to teach the big bear and the little bears how to keep track of things with a master to do list. Here’s what I learned from her:

  • Create a list of all the tasks you want to remember. Often our brain will wake us up in the middle of the night because it does not want us to forget something. This is commonly called a “brain dump.” Don’t let your to do’s keep you up.
  • Put everything on it, even that project you “hope” to get to someday but make sure that it is in the form of the smallest action you can take. Redo the dining room is too big of a project, so you should write down the steps that are involved. (Helpful apps: color note, Evernote, Hiveminder, etc.)
  • Write down any deadlines or due dates and be sure to highlight those things that need to be done in the current month.
  • Don’t get alarmed! All this stuff was floating around in your head anyway and probably draining your energy. You should feel relieved that nothing has “fallen through the cracks.”
  • Decide what needs to be done and/or what you would like to get done this week or this month.
  • Estimate how long those things will take – be realistic.
  • Pick the three top things you want or must do (given the amount of time you have in your day)
  • Now either add them into specific dates on your calendar or set aside a “block” of time (preferably each week) that you will tackle tasks on this list.
  • Each week as you are planning pick the tasks off of the master list to add to your week or your time slot. Don’t cross them off your master to do list unless you ACTUALLY complete them.
  • Celebrate your successes. Remember you will always have a list – just make sure it has what is important to you. Life will get in the way….so start each day fresh and don’t carry things over from the previous day unless you really want to.

Papa Bear now has his own master list, and he and Mama Bear discuss the upcoming week (and the to dos) each Sunday over breakfast. And that makes Mama Bear happy!