Disruptions to Routines: Large – Part 3

This is Part 3 of the Blog series on Disruptions to Routines.  If you missed Part 1 and/or Part 2 you can read them here.

Disruptions of Routines: Small, Medium, and Large, Part 1

Disruptions of Routines: Small, Medium, and Large, Part 2

Large Disruptions:

These kinds of disruptions will need to be handled in a totally different way.  Most of these are either longer term disruptions (weeks or months) or complete life changing ones. Not all of these are bad events.  But all of them will throw off your routines for a fair amount of time or require all new routines.  Wedding-cake

Longer but usually temporary disruptions.

  1. Planning for your child’s wedding.
  2. Planning and going on a major family vacation.
  3. Injuries such as a broken leg, arm, or other bones.  It could be you or a family member. This may require changing routines for doctor appointments, special bathing to accommodate casts, or restrictions on physical activity.
  4. Minor surgeries that temporarily restrict what the person can do.  Bunion/foot surgery, knee or hip surgery, tonsillectomy, hysterectomy, and many others where life will get back to normal after a few weeks or months.
  5. Selling and moving to a new house.  You may need to change some of your routines on a permanent basis depending on the house and location. Bigger or smaller home to clean. Longer or shorter commutes to work or school.
  6. Breaks from and to school.  The beginning of the school year requires a change in routine from the summer break. Sending children off to college is even a bigger change because they aren’t living at home for months on end.

Life changing disruptions that will require a “new normal”.  Again, these are not always bad things.


  1. Adding a spouse or significant other to your household and lifestyle.
  2. Adding a first, second, or more children to your household and lifestyle.
  3. Moving to a new city for another job or retirement.
  4. Taking a job outside the home after staying home when the children were young.
  5. Different stages of your children’s lives will require updating your routines. From babies, to toddlers, to school age, to teenagers, and beyond the activities of the household have significant changes.


More difficult life changing disruptions. You may anticipate some of these or they may come completely out of the blue.

  1. Aging parents. You may only have to deal with minor but ongoing distractions such as helping with transportation and shopping. Or it can be a total major life change for you if the aging parent requires a lot of your time physically and mentally to take care of their illnesses, dementia, etc. This may be short term or involve many years.
  2. Major life changing illness. It could be your’s or a family member. Cancer, heart attack, stroke, or even diabetes will require lifestyle changes from temporary to permanent. Medical treatments, dietary changes, physical limitations, or frequent doctor visits.  New routines and even a changing mental outlook may be needed to adjust to these kinds of distractions.
  3. A divorce or a death of a spouse will require a “new normal”.
  4. A major injury that requires a major change of lifestyle.  This may include a loss of a limb, brain injury, eye injury leaving loss of sight, or major burn injury.

When you stop to think about all the bad things that could happen you start to realize those small daily or even medium disruptions aren’t so bad.  By learning to be grateful for the good things (small, medium, or large) that happen you won’t get so stressed out everyday over the annoying disruptions.

 Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.”                                         ~Anonymous

This concludes the three part blog series on Disruptions to Routines.  If you are looking for solutions to those annoying disruptions please ask for them in the comment section of this blog or on the FaceBook Page

To a lighter load along the way.


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Disruptions to Routines: Medium – Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog series I talked about those small but annoying disruptions to our daily routines.  If you missed it you can read it here.

Now I’m going to talk about those medium disruptions that have a tendency to throw off your routines for a least a day or more. Although they are usually temporary you’ll probably have to adjust your routines until the disruption is over.


 Medium Disruptions:

1. A minor illness of a family member or yourself.
A bad cold, stomach virus, migraine headache, or other short term illness.

2. Bad weather like snow or ice.
These can result in an unplanned day or two at home for you and your children. School, work, and home routines will be out of whack during this time.

3. A scheduled day off school or work for a holiday.
These can also throw the regular routines out of whack but at least you can plan for them.

4. A major appliance or electronic equipment breaks down.
If the furnace quits working in the middle of winter you’ll need to get it repaired ASAP. If it can’t be repaired you’ll have to make a quick decision on a new one.  The same for a refrigerator, or air conditioner (in summer). If a TV goes out it’s not an emergency but if your computer goes out and it’s needed for work or school it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.


These are just a few disruptions that may set you back a day or two. The biggest key to handling medium disruptions is to not let your perfectionism stress you out.  It will be a matter of prioritizing what should be caught up on first.  Paying the bills on time is more important than dusting and vacuuming the house.

Here are a few specifics to help you be prepared by planning ahead. This can reduce the stress and minimize the amount of disruption the event causes.

1. Everyone gets sick at one time or another.
Make sure you always have on hand basic OTC medicines that are not expired.  Keep all doctor’s and pharmacy phone numbers up to date in an easy place to find.  If you are sick ask for help with some of the basic routines.  Don’t expect perfectionism. Be grateful for any help you get.

2. Plan for bad weather days and/or that scheduled one day off.
Have a list of activities to keep your children busy.  Craft activities, board or card games, even household projects are good such as going through old school papers. This article can help you with that. Decluttering Children’s School Papers  

3. If you have a day off and don’t have children.
Take advantage of the time to catch up on projects around the house or just do something you enjoy.  You deserve it.

4. Be prepared ahead of time for appliances and electronics to break down.
Many times they can go out without notice.  The best thing to do is have a backup plan in place.  Keep a list of phone numbers to call for repairs.  If your appliances or electronic equipment is getting old start shopping around for possible new ones. Research online and keep a folder on the computer with links and articles to help you when the time comes to replace the item, especially if it needs to be done ASAP.  It’s best to save info about new computers on another computer/smart phone or printed and put in a file folder.  That way you can access it if the computer crashes unexpectedly.


By acknowledging and accepting that these kinds of things will happen you can be prepared ahead of time to minimize the disruption.  Just don’t get obsessed with the planning. Life will get back to normal within a short period of time.

“If you don’t start out the day with a smile, it’s not too late to start practicing for tomorrow.”      ~Author Unknown


Part 3 of this blog series will be out in a few days.  It talks about large disruptions, good and bad, which will require some changes in our routines. Some are longer term but still temporary.  Others will require a “new normal”.

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To a lighter load along the way.


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Disruptions to Routines: Small – Part 1


Do you feel like you can never finish your routines because of constant disruptions?



Does it feel like you’ll never can catch up much less get ahead?

We all have disruptions in our lives.  Some are daily, some are only every once in a while, and some are life changing, for good and for bad.

How boring would life be if everyday was the same as the one before?

At the same time without regular routines our homes and lives can quickly become chaotic.  That’s when it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

Small disruptions will throw us off temporarily. Usually we can jump right in where we left off.  Medium disruptions may call for a change in routines for a little longer period of time but they are still usually temporary.  It’s the large disruptions that call for changing our routines to a “new normal”.

In this blog post I will list some of those small disruptions and offer a few solutions to help minimize them.  The medium and large disruptions in our lives will be addressed in Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

So what are these small things, that in spite of their size, have a tendency drive us crazy?

Small Disruptions

  1. Random phone calls from family or friends through out the day.
  2. Spam phone calls.
  3. Children wanting or needing attention while you are cleaning, doing paperwork, or cooking dinner.  We won’t even get into children disrupting you if your work from home for business.
  4. Pets wanting or needing attention.  The dog needs to go outside.  The cat wants to play and won’t leave you alone until he gets his playtime.

The above things and many more like them may disrupt your daily routines.  The key is to not over-schedule your day so there is time allowed for the disruptions.

Here are a few specific things you can do to reduce/control some of the things listed above.

  1. Let the answering machine take all calls even from friends and family when you are in the middle of doing something.  You can check the message and call them back when it’s convenient for you.  If you can, set ground rules ahead of time as to the best time for them to call you or you call them.
  2. If you get calls on your cell phone you can use a different ring tone for different people. This way you will know right away if you want to answer it or not.
  3. Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry and also your state Do Not Call list if it has one.  It won’t stop all the spam calls but it should reduce them.
  4. Plan ahead to keep your children busy or even better include them as much as possible with doing your routines. Doing “chores” with you will make it more fun and a learning time for them.  Spending quality time together is much more valuable then having a perfectly cleaned home.
  5. If you have a dog that needs to be walked or played with during the day plan the walks according to your schedule.  Instead of a disruption it will become a scheduled mini exercise break for you and a potty break for the dog.  Studies show that pets help reduce stress and tension.  Look at these disruptions as breaks to help you relax. You can try this with a cat but if you are a cat owner you know how independent and stubborn they can be.


If you experience other kinds of disruptions that tend to drive you crazy please share them in the comment section. You never know,  either I or even one of my readers just might have a great solution to your problem.

Look for Part 2 in this series in the next couple of days.  If you are not already on the email list to receive blog updates you can sign up on the right sidebar.

If you prefer you can sign up on the Facebook page or Twitter to receive notice of the updates.

To a lighter load along the way.


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Get Off The Hamster Wheel – 365 New Beginnings

It’s hard to believe this is the last week of January. Just a few short weeks ago was New Year’s Day.  We  were feeling excited about a new beginning.  Even if we screwed up and got nowhere last year, when the calendar year changes we feel like we get another chance to start over and do it right.

But here we are, into the fourth week of the new year, where many of us have already given up on those new year’s resolutions. We’re back into the same old (bad?) routines that didn’t move us forward towards our goals.

Albert Einstein said:

  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


hamster wheelThe sun rises each morning giving us another chance to work on reaching our goals and dreams.  But it seems like one day drags into another. We feel like we’re on a hamster wheel going nowhere.

Many of us don’t know how to get off that hamster wheel and it’s causing a lot of insanity!


Maybe it’s time to change our thinking about “beginnings”.

There are 12 months in the year.  Why don’t we look at the beginning of each month as a fresh start to get it right this time?

What about the 52 weeks of the year?  Each week we get a chance to begin again.  It doesn’t matter if the new week starts on Sunday or Monday or any other day.  Each week is only 7 days and you get a chance to start the next week every 8 days.

The same is true for each day.  That’s 365 chances for new beginnings!

Maybe it’s time to make changes not only at the beginning of this year but at the beginning of each month, week, and day.

Take a few minutes to write down what you did yesterday, last week, last month, and even last year with the following questions in mind.

  1. What successes did you have and what did you do that brought the results you were looking for?
  2. Where did you not accomplish your goals? What did you do or not do that didn’t bring the results you desired?

When you figure out what worked then repeat that action as often as possible.

When you figure out what didn’t work then stop doing it. It didn’t get you the results you were looking for so why continue doing it?  I know that’s easy to say but remember the quote above.  If you keep doing the things that aren’t working what makes you think all the sudden they will work?

Of course we always hear of stories where someone appears to be doing the same thing over and over again until it eventually it works.  What these stories don’t tell you is that the person kept tweaking what they did until eventually they hit on the right formula to make it work.  In other words, they didn’t continue to do exactly the same thing and expect different results. What they did was evaluate their actions and the results they got then slowly changed their actions so they could change their results.

Good habits can help us reach our goals. Bad habits can keep us on the Hamster wheel. One good habit to create this year is taking a few minutes each day, either at the end or first thing in the morning and review what you did that day or day before.  Keep a notebook and write it down. Take a picture and document the progress if you want.

Whatever way you choose to keep track it will help you see what you are doing to get the results you want.  It’s a habit that will help you have a new beginning each day, week, and month, not just at the beginning of a new year.

To a lighter load along the way.


P.S.  Getting Organized magazine is still running their 20% off regular price until the end of January 2015.  Just click on the link in the sidebar to go to their website. I love going through my paper copy but if you prefer they also offer an e-copy at a discount if you subscribe before January 31.

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Fun Decluttering Projects for Bad Weather Days!

It’s that time of year when many people have unexpected days at home due to bad weather.  If you have school age children you know it can be a trying time when everyone is cooped up in the house.



Here are a few projects that can be fun to do with your children or even by yourself on a cold snowy day.  The best thing about these projects is that you will be clearing out some clutter at the same time.



1.  Go through your boxes of photos and throw away any bad shots.  Take a photo safe pen to write the date, names of people, and location on the back of the good photos.  Make this a fun time to reminisce with your children or educate them on the family history.

2.  Pull out the boxes of your children’s saved papers from past school years. Go down memory lane with them. Then get rid of as many papers as possible. You don’t have to wait until the end of the school year to do this for previous years.

3.  Snowy days are a good time to go through the overstuffed shelves filled with books and DVD’s.  Pull out the ones you know you and/or your children will never read or watch again.  You just might find a book or two to sit down and enjoy with your children along with a cup of hot chocolate.

4.  Do you have a lot of craft supplies stashed away?  Why not pull those out and get creative with your children. When supplies sit there unused for long periods of time they can become clutter.  So get those creative juices going to have fun and use up some of those extra supplies.

It doesn’t have to be snowy weather that keeps you indoors.  Rainy days come along all year round.  So can sick days.  Plan ahead for that day so you’re ready to jump in and have fun.  Buy a photo safe pen if you need it.  Purchase the proper storage boxes if you don’t have them.  Don’t go overboard with buying more supplies, just make sure you have the basics to work on your chosen project.

If you have any indoor projects you do on those unplanned days at home I would love to hear about them. Thanks.

To a lighter load along the way.




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Think Small for Big Results

New Year’s Day has come and gone.

Did you make resolutions for the new year?  If so are they the same ones you made last year? Continue reading

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A Quick Way To Clear Your Head and Relax

The holidays are here!

It’s the third night of Hanukkah and Christmas is only seven days away.  Are you feeling overwhelmed right now?

If so it’s time to take a break for a few minutes to clear your head.

A quick way to catch your breath, put  a smile on your face, and relax is to write out a Gratitude List. Continue reading

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Is Holiday Stress Getting To You?

Is the stress of the holidays starting to get to you?

Do you feel like you won’t get it all done perfectly or on time?

If your expectations on what the holidays should look like have been influenced by other’s, especially the media, then it may be time to re-evaluate those expectations. Continue reading

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Clutter Free and Almost Clutter Free Gift Ideas

Part of celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah is giving gifts to family and friends. Sometimes we feel obligated to give but hopefully most of the time we give a gift to show how much we care about that person.

Christmas presentsAlthough we want to find the “prefect” gift for everyone on our list it’s not always easy.  We don’t want to give them something that will end up in a closet or drawer taking up space.  In other words, becoming clutter!


Below are some ideas of clutter free or almost clutter free gifts.   Continue reading

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Say “No” to Emotional Dependency Cords

After a baby is born she will depend on her mother to meet her physical and emotional needs.  As she reaches toddler-hood it is natural for her to start cutting the emotional dependency cords. This is to show her independence as an individual. We’ve all seen a toddler stamp her foot and say “no”.

All forms of animal life from baby birds to humans find a way for offspring to cut the cords of dependency.

Bird in flight-2


Can you image how restrictive and tangled up everyone would be if none of the emotional dependency cords were ever cut?  It would be a cluttered mess!  Continue reading

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