After lots of trial & error, I learned how to actually get things checked off your to-do list. Here’s what I’ve learned: 

Here's how to actually get things checked off your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and get things accomplished effectively & efficiently!

I pride myself on my ability to get stuff done. In fact, I thought I was so good at it that I created a business around it.

When I quit my day and started working for myself full time, I learned what it really meant to “get things done”.

Working from home was challenging. For me, there was just something about going in to an office that instantly made me more productive. Since that wasn’t happening anymore, I had to adjust some things to make working from home more productive. I wrote a post all about that.

Not only did I have to learn to work from home, but learn to be my own boss. It was at that point that I truly had to master checking things off my to do list.

I’ve used a lot of different systems over the years and to be honest my preferences have changed.

I’ve also tried a lot of different tricks to manage my to do list. Some worked and others didn’t. Admittedly I like changing things up regularly. But I realize that reorganizing a to do list doesn’t exactly make me more efficient. The structure and system have to work for MY lifestyle.

Once you’ve created a to do list, see how to actually get things checked off your to-do list.

Here's how to actually get things checked off your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and get things accomplished effectively & efficiently!

How to actually get things checked off your to-do list

Re-evaluate your current to-do list

Take a good look at everything that’s on your list. Not to reorganize or reorder but to determine if all the tasks truly need to be on the list. Whether there’s old tasks that aren’t applicable anymore or tasks that just aren’t important to you anymore, remove those items that you no longer need to complete.

While you’re at it, look through the list one more time to see if any tasks could be delegated. Now I’m not talking about pawning off undesirable tasks on to your family or friends.

But if you’re anything like me you’ve got tasks on your list that you either unnecessarily volunteered for or someone else would really be more appropriate to handle.

2 minutes or less

As you’re looking through your list, if you spot any tasks that will likely take 2 minutes or less, stop what you’re doing and tackle those!

Too often jotting down the task and reviewing it every time you open your to do list can take longer than just tackling that quick task immediately.

Here's how to actually get things checked off your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and get things accomplished effectively & efficiently!

Breaking Down Tasks

After reading David Allen’s book Getting Things Done years ago, I started following his advice to break down projects to multiple small tasks.

For example, when I was decorating Declan’s nursery, I broke down the tasks: find ideas online, take measurements of the room, make a list of furniture I want to purchase, put together crib, paint walls, etc. I even broke down the list further making a list of all the furniture I wanted to buy including a chair, crib, bookshelf, and dresser.

This was a game changer for me. It’s so obvious to me now, but years ago I would find projects lingering on my to do list week after week without any progress. By breaking down the project to smaller tasks, you may have more tasks on your to do list but you’ll more easily be able to chip away at your project faster.

Prioritize

Likely no surprise to see Prioritize as a tip. It’s a no brainer, but it’s also easier said than done.

Life happen, things get busy, work deadlines change.

A common prioritizing method is to label each of your tasks with an A, B, or C (a being the biggest priority). Personally I’ve never been able to sustain this method long term.

Instead, any items I put in to my to do list are a priority if I select a date in which they should be accomplished. I spend 5 minutes at the end of every day reviewing the tasks I have for tomorrow and re-prioritizing as needed.

While this method may seem like a lot of ‘list reviewing’, I find it most efficient and keeps my to-do list from spinning out of control. I live by my to-do list mostly because I know it’s an accurate reflection of what I both want and can feasibly accomplish each day.

For reference, on any given day may only have 1-5 tasks that I must accomplish. Any more and I’ve found that I get overwhelmed and often don’t accomplish any of them.

For items that I would like to accomplish but just aren’t a priority, I tag those in the “later” category without a date. I check this category on a weekly basis to determine if any of these tasks are priority enough to commit to accomplishing next week.

Here's how to actually get things checked off your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and get things accomplished effectively & efficiently!

Schedule

Another method I found effective is to ‘schedule my tasks’ straight in to my calendar. I don’t do this for all tasks, but I do find it effective for ones that I really need to accomplish, need to be done at specific times or require coordination with others.

For example, when I run errands outside our house (last week I needed to return some items to Old Navy) I like to add those to my calendar. Or if I have a work deadline where I need to really focus on a project, I’ll block time in the evenings to get to work.

Timing Yourself

This isn’t a race, so to speak, but setting a timer as you’re working on a task is an effective way to be ultra-productive. Set a timer for 30 minutes to work on the task at hand. During that time, keep all distractions away: turn off the TV, stay away from Facebook and just work!

Once the timer’s up, you can take a break before getting back to work.

Here's how to actually get things checked off your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and get things accomplished effectively & efficiently!

 

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #PersilLaundry

When you're hosting your next party, use these quick & easy tips to Removing Stains from Entertaining: wine, chocolate or your toughest spills!

This time of year is all about the festivities: holiday work parties, school celebrations and visiting family. No one loves to prepare for a party more than I do. Getting everything ready, decorating, planning the meals, even cleaning the house; I’m a sucker for all the details leading up to the event.

Now by the time the actual party is over, I’m exhausted. Not just from the night of entertaining, but all the preparation leading up to the event as well. Plus, this mom of a toddler doesn’t stay up as late as she used to in her 20’s 😊.

When you're hosting your next party, use these quick & easy tips to removing stains from entertaining: wine, chocolate or your toughest spills! When you're hosting your next party, use these quick & easy tips to removing stains from entertaining: wine, chocolate or your toughest spills!

So as the last guest leaves our home, I’m ready to call it quits and curl up in my bed. I’m sure you’re nodding your head by now. We’ve all been there – party is over and you’re cleaning up from a fun, but tiring night. Then you spot it …. the STAINS. HEREE Whether it’s a wine stain on your couch pillow, completely destroyed cloth napkins from a guest who ate a little too much chocolate cake or lasagna sauce on your new linen pants (… that one’s me).

You’re tried, frustrated and just want to go to bed. You could stay up Googling “how to remove xyz stain”, but who knows if that bizarre DIY will really work. Do you want to risk not getting that chocolate cake stain out of your new white cloth napkins? (buying white cloth napkins is a whole other story…. I’m still trying to figure out why that was a good idea?) Instead, I rounded up my best tried and true tips to get those stains out using Persil® ProClean® laundry detergent so you can continue to celebrate the festivities.

Tips to Removing Stains from Entertaining

When you're hosting your next party, use these quick & easy tips to removing stains from entertaining: wine, chocolate or your toughest spills!
Plan Ahead

If you’re like me, you’re prepping for your party ahead of time. While you’re shopping for your famous appetizers or favorite wine, pick up your cleaning supplies (you know you’re going to need them). At Target, I grabbed the Persil laundry detergent, great for everyday laundry and to help fight tough stains (which after any good party are bound to happen). Check out their different scents!  Persil laundry detergent breaks down built-in odors to keep your clothes smelling great.

When you're hosting your next party, use these quick & easy tips to removing stains from entertaining: wine, chocolate or your toughest spills!

ASAP

Once the party ends, the very first thing I do is to grab all my linens or anything that needs to be washed BEFORE I start cleaning up. That way the washer can be going while I’m cleaning up the rest of the house. Plus I want to wash the stains as soon as possible.

While that means you may have to stay up a little later once your guests leave, I promise it’s worth it. Since I use a high-powered detergent, there’s never any fear of putting that chocolate cover white napkin in with the rest of our linens. It all comes out clean. Persil laundry detergent is a formulated with a special Pro10 Technology which delivers 10 Dimensions of Clean, a fancy term that means it deals with all those clumsy moments. (aka that lasagna spill ALL. OVER. MY. PANTS.)

Pre-Treating

Pour on enough detergent to cover the stain. There’s no point in pre-treating if you’re not cleaning the ENTIRE stain. Lightly coat the entire area of the stain. Make sure the detergent you’re using is a stain fighting detergent. Persil® ProClean™ Stain Fighting enzymes break down stains to deliver an exceptionally premium clean. Red wine stains, I’m looking at you!

Rub it In! 

Rub the Persil laundry detergent into the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes before putting it in the wash. This is the important step. Make sure you wait 5 minutes. If you’re like me and are very impatient (or super exhausted at the end of the night), setting the timer on your phone may help. It also can help to make sure you don’t forget about your laundry! Oh, how did we ever make it through the day without our fancy phones?

Hot Hot Hot!

Wash in the warmest water safe for the garment (check your tags for instructions) with Persil laundry detergent. I typically wash most of my clothes in cold water to prevent potential shrinking, but with tough stains (hello red wine), I’m more concerned with removing the stain. Persil laundry detergent has a powerful stain fighting combination for a premium clean.

Repeat?

Check your garmet BEFORE drying. Repeat if necessary. If you need to repeat, do it immediately. Don’t wait for the garment to dry, as it sets in the stain.

When you're hosting your next party, use these quick & easy tips to Removing Stains from Entertaining: wine, chocolate or your toughest spills!

That’s it! No crazy DIY or odd ingredients that you may not have in your home. No risk that your new blouse that you’ve been saving to wear until the party will be ruined in the wash (that’s me again). Removing stains from entertaining is actually easier than you’d think.  Plus. you’ll wake up in the morning with both a clean house and clean laundry 🙂 . Check out some additional laundry tips curtesy of Persil: http://cbi.as/a2mu2

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Kleenex, Lipton, and Theraflu. All options are mine alone. #FluSeasonHacks #collectiveBias

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

Without fail each and every year I get the flu or whatever else is ‘going around’ several times a year. Maybe it’s a bad immune system or maybe I’m just unlucky, but I’m one of those people who gets sick often. Now with a little toddler at home who’s picking up all sorts of germs and colds, I’m going to be more diligent about taking care of myself when I get sick this year (because I know it’s going to happen).

Step by step guide to organizing & storing medicine

Before cold season is in full swing, I’m getting our medicine cabinet cleaned out and organized. It might not seem like a fun task right now, but you’ll be thanking me when you come down with your first winter cold and have all the remedies right at your fingertips.

Step 1  

The very first step is to pull out all the medicine stored throughout your home. Previously I had been keeping our medications in various locations within our house, which really wasn’t working. Instead, I decided to store all medication in ONE location (plus a couple handy on-the-go kits).

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

This makes it easier to find the medication I need once a cold hits (and I’m already feeling a little groggy). It also helps to ensure that I have everything that I know I’ll need this cold & flu season already at our home. It goes without saying that I like to be prepared.

Step 2

Now take a look at your pile and do an inventory of what you’ve got. A couple favorite products I keep stocked at my house are:

  • Lipton Soothe Your Tummy – It’s a delicious herbal beverage for those times your tummy feels less than its best.* Botanicals such as ginger and peppermint are blended with natural essential oils.
  • Kleenex® Germ Removal Wet Wipes – These safely wipe away 99% of germs from skin with no harsh chemicals. I worry about getting the rest of my family sick when one of us gets a cold. These wipes are a great way to prevent the spread of germs!
  • Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold – This hot beverage is powerful relief by treating the symptoms of cold & flu without a prescription!

If your supply is running low, make a list of medications that you typically use during the cold & flu season (including my favorites listed above) and head to your local Kroger store BEFORE that cold starts (you’ll thank me). I made a quick trip to our location Fred Meyer.

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

Look for the $1.50 coupon on 4-pack Kleenex Facial Tissues, for Kleenex Germ Removal Wet Wipes. And, 11/4-11/24 you can get .50¢ off Kleenex 4-pack bundles and Kleenex Wet Wipes via this digital offer. You can save $2.00 on any ONE (1) Theraflu Power Pods through 12/8, via this digital offer.

Step 3

Decide where you want to store your medications. Contrary to popular opinion, the bathroom is actually the WORST locations to store medications (the heat and moisture are BAD for meds). If you’ve got young kids at home, find a place that has a safety lock or is out of reach for those little hands! A linen closet, kitchen cabinets or bedroom are all good choices.

Step 4

I categorized our medicine cabinet into 3 areas:   

  • Medicine
  • First Aid (stay tuned next week, as I organize all our first aid supplies!)
  • Children’s Medicine

You could organize these all together, but in a pinch (think- middle of the night toddler wake ups), I like to have these crucial items sorted.

It’s also, of course, another excuse for me to make some labels. You can download my medicine label container templates here.

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

Step 5

It’s no surprise that I’m smitten over the perfect storage solution, so I was ecstatic to find these stackable containers with lids. These easily fit in our kitchen cabinets and are portable enough to grab-and-go as needed.

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

Before you run out to the store to buy your containers, make sure to:

  • Measure the space where you’re planning to store your medications
  • Estimate how much space your medicine will take up. Creating a storage system that isn’t large enough to hold all your items …. well, it pretty much defeats the point!  
  • Bring that measuring tape to the store with you!

I often ‘test out’ several different sized containers to find the perfect fit. Then I return the ones that didn’t fit.

Step 6

In addition to a well-stocked cabinet, I like to have on-the-go medicine kits to take with me while I’m recovering from my cold. It’s nice to toss these in my computer bag or diaper bag. It’s also REALLY convenient to have one on the top floor of our townhouse so I don’t have to walk all the way downstairs to the kitchen when I’m sick. #justbeinghonest. Here’s what I stocked my kits with:

– Lipton Soothe Your Tummy
– Kleenex Germ Removal Wet Wipes
– Theraflu Power Pods (Powerful relief without a prescription)

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

This entire project of organizing & storing medicine only took around 30 minutes (in addition to purchasing the containers) and will pay HUGE dividends when I inevitably get sick this season!

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

Extra tips to organizing & storing medicine:

  • Every 6 months you should look at the labels on your medications and get rid of everything that is expired. (I do this each Fall and Spring.)
  • Don’t repackage medication as you would food, even to save on space. It’s important that you have the original label so you can check dosages, expiration dates, and other safety information.
  • Ditch any items that have changed color, smell or taste. This includes any colors that have faded, because they may have been exposed to too much light.
  • Remember …. Keep medications OUT of the bathroom! The kitchen, linen closet or bedroom are good locations.
  • If you want to take my tutorial to a whole other level, you could separate your medication by categories, so it’s easier to find, such as flu & cold, pain, allergies, etc.
  • Make sure your storage containers are tall enough to allow different shaped bottles to be stored upright, especially liquid medications, to prevent any spillage.

Place newer unopened medications at the back of your container so you can rotate through it easier and prevent any medicines from expiring before you’re able to use them.

Make sure you're storing and organizing medicine properly so you can tackle those colds quickly this winter! Plus super handy flu & cold travel kits!

Are you ready for flu season?! Head to your local Kroger store to stock up on the cold & flu essentials this season!

I really love when one organizing project leads to another! Next week I’ll be sharing our first aid kit storage.

Kleenex – ©KCWW, Lipton – © 2018 Unilever Theraflu – ©2018 the GSK group of companies or its licensor. Read and follow label directions. Theraflu is for use in adults 12 years and older. Use products only as directed.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.

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These fun to make colorful DIY file folders will keep paper clutter at bay and keep you organized!

Even though we’re in a digital world, I still find the need for simple paper organization systems. Whether it’s handouts at Declan’s preschool, paper invitations, or just random mail, paper enters my home on a daily basis.

To prevent paper from piling up, I have a pretty easy system at our entry way that allows me to quickly organize, file and throw paper as needed. We’ve been using this process for a couple years now and it’s truly been a game changer.

No more papers laying on the counters.

No more panicking before I leave the house because the keys are “missing”.

No more junk mail sitting around the house.

The list could go on.

If you don’t already have an entry way command center, I highly recommend it. (Click that link for my DIY one) Here’s another post on how I’ve been using my command center to keep the papers organized. It’s a pretty simple process to follow and has been a game changer.

Read this easy tutorial for colorful DIY file folders to keep ALL your paper clutter organized! I keep these in our command center and add a label to each!

In addition to the plastic folders shown in that post, I also like to have several file folders on hand for more specific projects: pre-school co-op exec board meetings, my weekly MOPS mom’s group handouts, a fundraiser I’m organizing, to name a few.

Because I’m always finding new things to store in folders, having extra manila folders at our entry command center is very helpful. It also prevents the ‘miscellaneous papers’ pile from occurring. It’s a slippery slope once too many papers turn to ‘miscellaneous’. You know what I mean.

I like my organizational systems to be pretty and my file folders are no different.

This is a really simple project to add a punch of color to paper files.

Supplies for these easy DIY File Folders

  • Manila folders
  • Decorative paper or wrapping paper
  • Label maker
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil
  • Clear tape

DIY File Folders Instructions

I selected a colorful patterned paper for the front (outside) of the folder and a solid color for the back (inside), where the label will go.

With a pencil, lightly trace the outline of the front and back of the folder on to your decorative papers.

Read this easy tutorial for colorful DIY file folders to keep ALL your paper clutter organized! I keep these in our command center and add a label to each!

Next, cut out the outline.

Grab your glue stick and smear it all along the edges of the decorative papers. Then secure the decorative papers to the folder, adhering the solid color to the inside folder first.

Before securing the patterned paper to the outside of the folder, I taped the folder shut. This creates a nice pocket to hold all the papers I’ll soon be adding to the folder!

Read this easy tutorial for colorful DIY file folders to keep ALL your paper clutter organized! I keep these in our command center and add a label to each!

Read this easy tutorial for colorful DIY file folders to keep ALL your paper clutter organized! I keep these in our command center and add a label to each!

Now you’ll have some pretty DIY file folders to use for any of your organizational needs!

 

 

 

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Getting clean makeup brushes is so much easier than you thought! Here’s my once a month cleaning tutorial that only takes 10 minutes!

Click here to find out my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

[Psst! Join me on Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with my latest posts and ideas]

As a self-proclaimed (and often reaffirmed by my husband) clean freak, I always get a good laugh when I notice an item I’ve so obviously neglected.

Enter: makeup brushes.

Now there’s lots of expensive makeup cleaners out there, but with so many DIY options, why not try that first?

Just for kicks, I’ll show you my process to clean makeup brushes. It takes less than 10 minutes. (However, if you have heavy build-up on your brushes, it may take longer to wash until the water runs clear.)

Oh, and these are my FAVORITE makeup brushes. Really affordable and long lasting (which usually isn’t the case).

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Grab all your makeup brushes and lay them out on a clean hand towel.

Put a small pour of baby shampoo in to a small dish.

Wet a brush and start swirling it in the bowl.

Click here to find out my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

Continue wetting and swirling until you have a nice soapy lather.

Then while pointing the tip of the brush downward, rinse in the sink moving the bristles back and forth until all the soap bubbles are gone.

Here's my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

Give a light squeeze to drain the extra water.

Here's my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

Repeat this process for each brush.

Depending on how dirty your brushes are, you may need to clean out your dish of baby shampoo before cleaning the next brush. Note, I had to do this between EACH brush 😐 😐 😐

Here's my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

It’s best for the brushes to dry at a downward angle to prevent water from getting stuck inside the brush. The easiest way to accomplish this is to add a hand towel (or roll up a small wash rag) to prop up the ends of the brush while drying.

Here's my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

Quick Tips: Clean your brush in the morning AFTER you put on your makeup to allow them to dry for a full 24 hours before you need them again. It’s also helpful to rotate the brushes once within the 24 hours so that both sides dry evenly.

Here's my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

Since I’m in ‘makeup cleaning mode’ (if there’s such a thing), I also wiped down my actually makeup and inside my cosmetic bag with a face cleansing wipe.

Easy peasy! Clean makeup brushes. Now if only the rest of my house was as clean 🙂

Click here to find out my favorite tip to clean makeup brushes: the secret household product to this easy DIY cleaning solutions. Makeup brushes clean in 5 minutes!

 

 

 

 

 

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