Why micro-goals may just change your life

I read an article recently that talked about Micro-Resolutions and how instead of hoping for good intentions to work out, you could use these micro-goals to shrink down and reach big goals one at a time.  I love this.  I’m often setting enormous goals and excitedly thinking of how to break them down into smaller pieces – but I love the idea of starting with the smaller goal from the very beginning.

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I had to make many changes this year for my goals.  After a year of aggressive goals that failed, I needed to re-focus and make goals that would actually work and micro-goals have served me well.  Here’s what I learned:

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Be More Productive: Make (tiny) Progress Each Day

On more days than I’d like to admit I’m too tired.  Lie on the bed all night and binge-watch TV tired.  Can’t do anything else for the day tired.  And that doesn’t work so well for me to get anything done. And then a few months ago, I realized that I was trying to do my day backwards.  I was trying to do too much during my low point of the day, and it wasn’t working for me.  Here’s what I remembered to boost my productivity each day, and I think it will help you too:

Your Productive Time Matters.

I’m pretty productive at work, so much so that I’m mentally exhausted by the time I make it home. I’ve realized I’ll sacrifice my personal energy to maintain my professional energy.  So I work when I’m best – when I first wake up in the morning.  My goal each day is to get one productive thing done at home before I go into work.  And on most days, I can accomplish this task, which makes me feel more productive as I go into work.  Try to work at the time that works best for you – early in the morning, during your lunch hour or late at night – if it works for you, it works.  And remember to write it down, so you remember what needs to be done!

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Want to be more productive? Always start your day with a list

I woke up this morning knowing I needed to get a lot done.  We just finished one of our busy seasons at work, I have people coming over tonight and I’ve let my house cleaning and cooking take a back seat in my priorities. I got up ready to start working on everything and hit the ground running and after about 15 minutes, I realized I wasn’t making much progress on anything.  Every time I got started on one task, I’d start to see something else I needed to do and I’d switch to this – I was running in circles. 

And then I stopped, got some breakfast, and sat down to make a list (and I do love my lists). Here’s why you need to follow my “list first” strategy:

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Move In Style

We just moved again, it’s the fourth time in 10 years.  And all four times, we’ve moved about 4 blocks away from our current house.  Same amount of packing and moving, shorter travel distances. I’ve learned something in all of these moves and I think it will make your next move easier.

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Make a reasonable plan to tackle packing.

We used whatever we had for boxes (including suitcases, backpacks and tubs) so we had less to move overall.  We also started packing immediately, packing less used items first and putting them in corners of rooms.  We did live with boxes in our house for two months, but packing 10 boxes per day seemed much more manageable. Figure out how long you have to move and how much you have to move. Divide up the work into smaller tasks per day to make it seem less overwhelming.

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Label boxes by room, not by item.

You know what I didn’t really need to know? What was in each box.  I planned to pack everything in the kitchen at the same time – so as long as my boxes were labeled “Kitchen,” I knew I’d be fine. The only boxes that got labeled with an item list were our most essential boxes – what we knew we needed to unpack the same day we moved in.  Everything else only had the room on it.  We saved so much time and mental energy by only labeling to the room it would be going in.  Consider this strategy on your next move.

Recruit great helpers and have jobs for everyone.

It’s great to have friends and family that can help you move, but even if you use hired help, you need to have a plan.  Workers want to be helpful and have their time used in a valuable way.  Make sure you know what needs to be done and have something for everyone to do.  It might be worth writing a list in advance to keep you on track, even if you get stressed out.  It’s also ok to assign workers to zones. Can some be loaders, some be unpackers and some be heavy lifters? Yes, yes and yes.

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Keep a donation bin at your old place and new place.

I donated items while I was packing and I donated more items while we were unpacking.  If it didn’t fit, we didn’t keep it.  The house we moved into has tons more space, but I don’t want it filled with clutter.  I want a clean, restful living space with less stuff and I knew I needed to make some tough decisions with everything we kept in our lives.  I couldn’t even tell you what we donated, because I don’t remember it and don’t miss it.

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You can move in style.  If you’re planning to move this week or this year – it can be done.  Make a plan, work your plan and enjoy your new living space.

Beat Toy Clutter: You can do this!

The toys are one thing I don’t look forward to organizing.  Our kids have so much stuff and it seems like the toys take over the house.  But about every 6 months, I get so fed up – I work through their entire room cleaning and organizing all of the toys.  Once I get into it, I get really excited about it – because I can see the results.  But I have to mentally prepare for this mega task each time.  You can make this easier on yourself too, here’s what I’ve learned in my 8 years of cleaning up (other people’s) toys.

Stop the small stuff

I read this a few years ago about kid’s meal toys: Did you know McDonald’s produces more toys than some of the big box stores? You don’t need this stuff in your house.  About two years ago, my kids stopped getting kids meals – oh, they still want them – but they want them for the toy.  Instead, when we do fast food, our kids split a meal.  I’d rather spend my fast food budget on food, not throw-away toys.  Even if they somehow get one, I toss it (or donate it or recycle it) within 24 hours.  The kids don’t really care about the toy, they’re just excited for new things.

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My Favorite Mac & Cheese – You need this recipe in your life

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This is my favorite mac & cheese recipe. I’ve adjusted it quite a bit over the years to perfect it.  I encourage you to try it and adjust it to fit your tastes. The results will be delicious!

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The Easy, Breezy Meals You Need To Add To Your Life

When you’re thinking about your week, you don’t have to make a wildly difficult master plan for your meals. Figure out what you like and use the same strategy over and over to make everything easier. Plan out your week with these easy, breezy meal prep strategies.  Here are the meals you need to add to your repertoire: 

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The Easy Meal

We always keep basics for our easy meal on hand.  It’s easy to buy, easy to prep and everyone likes it. If we can’t think of any thing else to eat, our easy meal saves us a trip for take out.  You need to pick an easy meal that works for you. Here are some ideas:

  • Spaghetti (this is our go-to easy meal)
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Scrambled Eggs & Toast

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