#167 Clean Out Your Car

A true cleaning means getting into the glove compartment (does anyone actually keep gloves in there?)

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#167

Clean out your car

If it’s true that a clean house is a predictor of your health and happiness then it must follow that the cleanliness of the inside of our automobile is also somewhat of a predictor… especially for those of us who spend a ton of time driving. Our mental health is more stable when our environment is stable – organization and cleanliness manifest a sense of stability no matter the location.

Top to Bottom

Reader’s Digest suggests there’s much more to cleaning the interior of our car than simply dusting and vacuuming and an order in which to do those things. To start – as in your home – you should vacuum first! But from top to bottom; starting with the dashboard, then the seats, and finally the carpet. Vacuuming creates dust so don’t wipe things down until the vacuuming is finished. When you wipe things down, don’t stop at the obvious… be sure to wipe the inside of the door – the door jam – it’s the part that everyone first sees and ultimately determines how tightly your door closes.

Nooks & Crannies

A true cleaning means getting into the glove compartment (does anyone actually keep gloves in there?), the center console, and the seat pockets. I’m lazy when it comes to those areas and when I do make the effort, I typically find little treasures that make me cringe, not to mention items I’d forgotten I had. Generally I’m a few dollars richer for the loose change that has collected there.

Taboo Items

The next step is to be sure to remove all the items that one should never keep in a car. Valuables is the obvious choice but there are other items that can be negatively affected by significant changes in temperature (heat & cold); plastic, for example. Eliminate any water bottles that have been exposed the the intense hot temperatures possible with a car sitting in the sun. Same advice goes for anything electronic; computers, cell phones, and tablets can overheat when exposed to extreme temperature, rendering them temporarily inoperable. Electronics are also frequent targets of thieves, making your car a tempting target.

Benefits

Inevitably, getting into a nice clean car that smells fresh ignites that ‘new car’ sensation – always a good feeling. Cleanliness is like a blank slate and allows your mind to focus on tasks at hand; clutter is distracting. Cleanliness helps us avoid the perils of allergens; the inside of your car is a small space so keeping the air there dust free will ultimately be beneficial. Take a look at your schedule and find some time to carve out so that you can …

Clean out your car.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#173 Refresh the Photos in Your Frames

Additionally, your brain has become accustomed to the photos currently in place – after awhile they become almost invisible to your senses.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#173

Refresh the photos in your frames

We frame favorite photographs of people we love or of great memories so that we can keep the moment alive and in front of us. While the snapshots of the kids in preschool are adorable, there’s a good chance that they have had a number of memorable moments since.

Digital Age

I am personally guilty of and have heard consensus that since the onset of the digital age, fewer and fewer photographs actually get printed. This may be one of the reasons that we aren’t updating the photos in our household frames even though many photo printing services make it exceptionally easy.

Get Organized

Grab a piece of paper and make a list of the frame sizes around your home. Many of them are typically 4×6 (the standard print size) or 5×7. Some of us may have special occasion photos that are the larger 8×10. Once you have a list, spend some time going through your phone or your online photo storage app (Google photos, Facebook, Shutterfly, etc…) and pick out a few to print. Most of the time, all you have to do is copy the photo so that they are all on the device you intend to transfer from.

Print

Once you know which photos you want, use a printing service such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. Of course, most box stores (Target, Walmart) and drug store chains also offer printing services. Simply download the photo to their online app, select the size and finish, and then pick them up when you are ready! It’s that easy.

Memory

Changing photographs is another activity that can help keep your memory strong. By stimulating our recall abilities, we engage memory in a way that keeps it moving… kinda like greasing a cog. Additionally, your brain has become accustomed to the photos currently in place – after awhile they become almost invisible to your senses. Changing the pictures will stimulate your brain as it notices something new as you move from room to room.

New Look

Replacing the photos in existing frames also protects against excess clutter as the years go by. Obviously, the longer we live, the more moments we capture and want to remember. Yet, continuing to add frames and photos can become overwhelming as time passes. As you go about this project, you may wish to update your frames as well but it’s not necessary to replace them. A fresh coat of paint, some embellishments or simply moving them into a different room may be all you need for the overall look to be updated.

Add this task to your master to-do list to keep it on your mind and the next time you need a ‘rainy day’ activity – consider the novelty and pleasure you’ll experience by taking an afternoon and …

Refreshing the photos in your frames.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#180 Organize Your Manuals

I know in my house I have historically stuffed booklets in there as I obtain items and then only pay attention when the drawer is too full to take any more.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#180

Organize your Manuals

Do you have a drawer of instruction or operating manuals? Is it overflowing? Outdated? I know in my house I have historically stuffed booklets in there as I obtain items and then only pay attention when the drawer is too full to take any more. I am often amazed at how many coffee pots I’ve purchased since the last time the drawer was cleaned! (I go through them faster than tires on my car!)

Why Bother?

My dad taught me the importance of keeping manuals and while it’s a little less imperative now that everything and anything is on the internet – one of the habits I have is stapling a receipt or at least noting the date of acquisition on the instruction/operation manual. Recording the date of purchase is important for warranty information. Having the original manual is also a nicety for the person who buys the item secondhand from you. It demonstrates that you ‘take care’ of our belongings and that you are responsible (that’s what Dad said).  

Memory Lane

Looking through a collection of appliance/apparatus manuals can be entertaining as well… the last time I made this effort we found information for a Karaoke machine I had bought the children more than ten years ago… it offered an opportunity to walk down memory lane for awhile and giggle at the memories of bellowing teenage voices – the Britney Spear ‘wanna-be’s’.

Quick & Easy

It’s a simple chore that really only takes a few minutes… a much shorter time than we imagine. While you certainly can take it seriously and create a binder with sections and labels – it’s probably just as productive to weed out the drawer. Whether its a tool sitting in the garage, an appliance that you use every day, or a toy that’s been forgotten the manual may be lying dormant in that drawer. Right now while it’s fresh on your mind, either tackle the task or scribble on your to-do list…

Organize your manuals.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

 

#182 Do ONE Thing You’ve Been Putting Off

Any time we can promote a personal sense of accomplishment, we instantly feel better about ourselves and about the world in general.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#182

Do one thing  you’ve been putting off

This particular tip will satisfy all three objectives in terms of making your life 1. Easier, 2. Happier, and 3. More Productive.

When we procrastinate, our inner voices often become critical. Criticism is a negative modifier to happiness. Procrastination complicates our life more often than not because it clogs the flow of productivity – contributing to negative self talk – fostering dissatisfaction overall.

If you’ve activated some of the earlier tips about organization and productivity then you may have a master to-do list. What item on that list has been there the longest? What is preventing you from accomplishing that task? What would happen if it were no longer on your list? If you still can’t find the motivation to tackle that task consider the reason it is there in the first place. Perhaps it’s important to reconsider the task in its entirety.

Rethink

I used to have a separate file for each bill that I paid throughout the year in case I needed to access it at a later point in time. I detested the task of filing and the pile would often grow to an unmanageable height – creating another layer of complexity to the concept of task completion. Eventually I realized that in all the years I’d been spending those hours carefully organizing – I’d never had a reason to go back and pull something from those files.

Today, I simply have a box dated for each year and all the papers go into the box – fully unorganized – completely random and IF… I ever need to find something I will spend the hours necessary to find what I need. I’ve saved 20 or more hours with this new – chaotic – but time efficient – system. The best part about this ‘system’ is that I don’t have a pile of papers waiting to be sorted – that pile haunted me every year!

Feel Better

Any time we can promote a personal sense of accomplishment, we instantly feel better about ourselves and about the world in general. It erases feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It fosters a sense of control and personal power so take a look at your master ‘to-do’ list and identify the item(s) there that you’re procrastinating about most. Decide if the item needs to stay on your list or if there is a different solution. For the items that remain, make a decision today to…

Do ONE thing you’ve been putting off.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#349 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

All too often we fall into the trap of routine and favorites without adding intrigue anywhere in our life. Exploration protects against stagnation. Grab a friend or explore alone…

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#349

Explore

This tip is subject to individual interpretation. My favorite type is exploration involves an automobile and a map. Waking up on Sunday morning, packing a snack bag, and heading out to discover treasures on a road never before traveled.

It’s a tradition started by my father and one that I’ve carried on to this day. I’ve found quaint villages, amazing diners, quiet spots, and captivating historical nuggets simply by traveling down a road that I’ve never investigated. It’s true that as time goes by I need to travel further out but the discoveries continue and the pleasure of new information and charming revelations has yet to be exhausted.

Of course, exploration doesn’t have to mean a car – it can be applied to people as in meeting new friends. It can be information as applied to learning something new. It can be an expedition through YouTube.com or a University library. Explore anything that is interesting to you. The point here is to motivate and enhance curiosity and interest so that life doesn’t get stale.

All too often we fall into the trap of routine and favorites without adding intrigue anywhere in our life. Exploration protects against stagnation. Grab a friend or explore alone… step into that little shop you’ve been curious about or stop for desert in that restaurant you’ve wanted to try. Is there a park you’ve been meaning to walk through?

Don’t wait until a moment of boredom overtakes a hot summer weekend. Make exploration a part of your journey in some form. Add this one word to your to do list today…

Explore

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by byzantiumbooks on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

#356 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

While I do sometimes use it for my day-to-day tasks, this running list is more about those obscure details that sit under our obvious awareness and, because they are not common in our thoughts, are easily forgotten.

My goal, for those of you who are curious, is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#356

Keep a running list of to-do items

For years now, I’ve kept a running list of to-do items on my computer desktop. I keep it open so that it is easily accessible when I think of something to add. I add everything… even those things that are more wish list than to-do matters. When items are completed, they get deleted.

I acknowledge that this technique isn’t necessarily advantageous to everyone. I often suggest it to clients as a method to be more organized and I see varying reactions. Perfectionists sometimes feel too anxious to leave something open and undone at the end of a day. People who think more concretely may react to the inclusion of ‘wish list’ items as too indefinite.

The benefits out weigh the objections in my opinion. I think we all have had moments when we can’t remember what we wanted to do in reference to a particular project, or we’ve had the experience of doing one thing and then thinking we should have included another but forgot it had been a consideration.

I glance at my list when I head to Home Depot, the mall, or my local craft store… how many times have I returned from the home improvement store only to remember that I wanted to get spray paint for another project, a decorative knob, or a specialty lightbulb? On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the list reminds me to look for a misplaced necklace, clean out the junk drawer, or fix the torn seam on my coat.

While I do sometimes use it for my day-to-day tasks, this running list is more about those obscure details that sit under our obvious awareness and, because they are not common in our thoughts, are easily forgotten.

Truth be told… some of the items on my list sit there so long they become obsolete. I had the intention of making a window seat cushion for years in my old house… it never got done. I have items like that on my list now. They are wish list pieces that keep me motivated and focused. They may or may not come to fruition, but the ideas sit there and I don’t stress about them. In fact – I appreciate that I have a forum to keep them in my consciousness. Try it!

Keep a running list of to-do items

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Stacy Spensley on Foter.com / CC BY