Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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Tips on Tuesday – Birthday Cards

Happy May!

Don’t you love receiving a birthday card?  I do!  I love seeing all the cards displayed across our mantle and I keep them up there for a couple of weeks until I take them down and tuck them away.

I think the art of sending birthday cards has fallen by the wayside with technology and hectic schedules.  But if you love receiving cards, I’m sure people would love to receive one from you.

And it is really quite easy to do.  And it takes just a little bit of planning.

Use the first day of each month as your jumping off point.  On this day, sign, seal, address each card you wanting to send out.  Write the date in the spot where the stamp will go.  When the time gets close, place a stamp over the date and stick it in the mail.

If you prefer to send eCards, many of these have a time set option where you can  put the exact date of delivery.

Then plan ahead for next month.   Make a list of whose birthdays are coming up and stock up on cards.  Then you’ll be ready for next month.

Over time this will become your habit and you’ll feel good about remembering your friend’s special days.

Happy Tuesday!

~Amy

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Tips on Tuesdays – – 25 ways to motivate your kids to clean up

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about The Five Dollar Vacation.    One of the comments I received from a reader named Katha told about how she uses quarters to motivate her kids to clean up.

The concept is really quite simple and I have to say…really quite brilliant.

If you are tired of nagging your kids to clean up their mess, sprinkle some quarters in with the mess…while they are cleaning up they collect the quarters and place them in a jar.  Once the jar is full, they get a treat of some sort…maybe an ice cream, a rented movie, etc.

I would suggest not saving the quarters to buy more toys…that seems like a new toy will only add to the cleaning up issue.   Instead, reward them with an experience.

I’d love to hear thoughts on this idea.  What other ways do you use to motivate your kids without nagging?

Hope your day is great!

~Amy

 


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Tips on Tuesday – – The case for a clean closet

Here’s a question for you….how clean is your closet?

One of the biggest things I like to talk with people about when trying to find more minutes in their day is the importance of having organized systems.  When you are organized it not only takes less time to find things, it is less stressful on your mind.  What do I mean by that?

Well – it is simple – which of these pictures is easier on your eyes?

OR

 

I hope you picked the second one.  The second, cleaned version, is so much easier on your eyes and your mind.  Instead of mentally having to decipher what’s going on in that mess of a space in the first picture, the second photo is calming.

I personally find I can’t work – be it in my office, the kitchen or my car – if the areas are trashed.  I find it too distracting, too maddening to sort through papers and piles to find a clear space to work.  I notice my focus isn’t as clear and I easily get discouraged or overwhelmed.

If  you are struggling with everyday tasks and finding yourself always wishing  you had more time or were more focused to get things done…try clearing your workspace…even if it is just moving the piles off to the floor for a bit.  Test this idea and see if that doesn’t also clear your mind.

Need help setting up a system to stay organized?  Let’s talk.  I’d love to help!

~Amy

 


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Tips on Tuesday – Cups, glasses, water bottles….oh my!

While I was home on vacation last week, I got into a conversation with my sister and my cousins about things our moms did that we are now doing – now that we are adults and parents, ourselves.  One of things that we all remember is my Mom’s thermos full of Kool-Aid and our personalized red cups.

It is hot in Texas and my mom got tired of us going in and out of the refrigerator looking for something cool to drink.  Her answer to the problem….keep a thermos full of cold Kool-Aid and give each of us one cup.  I can still remember the thermos sitting on our back porch.  Do you remember the old McDonald’s thermos you could get for school functions and such?  Our thermos was similar – just a smaller family version.

My tip today is – do the same thing.  Now with drink pouches and bottled water and sport drinks…everyone reaches for a drink and never thinks about the waste or cost involved.  By offering a large pitcher (or thermos) of your favorite drink  (lemonade, Kool-Aid, iced tea, you can even buy sport drink powders) and allocating one cup per day per user, you’ll soon notice how much waste you’ve reduced and money you’ve saved too.  Save the bottled drinks for trips or picnics.

What childhood things do you remember your parents doing and now you are doing the same thing?  I’d love to hear your stories.

Happy Tuesday.

~Amy

 


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Tips on Tuesday – Running on empty

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Yesterday I suggestion an article that offered nine ways to prevent that overwhelmed feeling.

Number Four said “don’t let yourself fall into empty.”

A couple of years ago, my friend Julie and I were talking.  She mentioned to me that one of the time-saving tips she always did was if her gas tank was getting low, she would force herself to fill it up on her way home from work and not leave it to “do in the morning”.  She confessed that she had to really fight that urge to “do it later” and just suck it up and do it – not matter how tired she was, how hungry she was, no matter how much she just wanted to go home.

That tip has always stuck with me – especially every time my gas tank is getting low and I’m on my way home.  Many times I can totally relate with that feeling of “I just want to go home….”.  But it never fails, the times I don’t stop for gas….I regret not getting it when I get into my car the next time.

Do you have a time-saving habit that you always do – even if you have to fight to do it?

Hope your day is a good one!

~Amy

PS – I recently told my seven-year old son that as soon as he starts driving, I’m going to have him fill up my gas tank every Sunday afternoon, whether it needs it or not.  Nine more years….nine more years!


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A combo for today…a five dollar vacation

Hi Everyone!

Happy First Day of Spring!  This is one of my favorite days of the year.   I hope yours is going really well.

Today I wanted to do a bit of a combination of posts today – combining this week’s Not me Monday and Tips on Tuesdays.   I’m doing this for two reasons:

  1. The tip I wanted to share today is not mine originally
  2. I’m a little overwhelmed with lots of projects going on – so yes, this is a bit of a cheat to combine these two.

A few years ago I read an article in Real Simple Magazine.  I wish I had the exact article or at least the magazine issue to reference, and while I don’t have that information – the lesson learned from the article really stuck with me.

Basically, the article talked about a guy who saved every five dollar bill that ever made it into his wallet and after a couple of years, he was able to take his family on a great vacation.  I want to say to Disney or someplace like that.

I love this idea because it shows how the little bit adds up over time. And by sticking to something, the payoffs are really great.

After reading this article, I starting doing my own version of this.  And while I’m not saving for anything in particular, I collect one dollar bills and place them in an envelope in my office labeled “the dollar fund.”

I don’t typically have a lot of cash in my wallet, I normally use my debit card and/or working from home, I don’t find a huge need to have cash on me.  But every few days, I’ll clean out my wallet and any dollars go right into my envelope.

Like I said, I’m not saving for anything in particular – but boy is it nice to have a few dollars available should you need them.

 

For example:

  • we pay our son $2 a week for his allowance
  • I bought a box of Thin Mints from a Brownie who knocked on my front door last weekend
  • whenever we are a couple of dollars short for the babysitter
  • if I’m feeling like I want to treat myself to a Chai before a meeting.

The fund sometimes adds up and I’ll have upwards of $50 in there.  But it probably sits around $25 on any given day.

It has really come in handy.

Do you have a secret stash like the $5 vacation fund or like my dollar fund?  Please share!

Happy Monday and Tuesday to you!

~Amy 

 


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Tips on Tuesdays – When it comes to advertising….ask!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Here’s a question for all my small business owner readers.

Do you advertise? 

Here are a couple follow up questions:

  • If not, why not?
  • If so, do you know what works for you and what doesn’t?

One of the questions I ask whenever I am conducting a Time and Energy Audit with someone is about advertising and how it is working for them.  I’m always so surprised to learn that:

 

  • Yes – poeple do advertise.  But no – they don’t know which advertising practice is working best for them.

It is really very simple…ASK!  Anytime you are contacted by a new client or customer, ask them where did they hear about you?  Same thing goes anytime you run a specail or host an event, ask every person “how did you hear about this event?”

That’s step one.  The next step is to keep track of the answers.  This can be as simple as keeping a tick chart – – for every advertising option given, that one gets a little tick.  Then it is just a matter of tallying up the totals over a set period of time.

If you different advertising but in the same genre – like you are running an ad in the different newspapers in your area, dig deeper.  Ask “which paper did you find my ad?”

Finally, if you get a referral from a named customer, a handwritten thank you goes a long way.

Advertising takes money and effort.  Make sure yours is working correctly for you.  Analyze your data after a set amount of time to determine what works.  Those that don’t generate a lot of leads, stop using them.  Those that do bring in the business, increase your efforts there.

I’m available to help audit your advertising stragety  – give me a call if you’d like to chat.  (This phone conversation is 100% free – leave me a comment with your email address so we can connect.)

Happy Tuesday!

~Amy