Say No to Miserable Monday Mornings

And I mean really say no. Say no to the tears, the tantrums, the frustration, the sinking feeling that the rest of your week is going to pan out in the same chaotic way. Just no.  You have to say no because your mood in the morning is going to reflect on your mood for the rest of your day. Say no because your bad mood is setting yourself up for failure.

Did you just catch what I wrote back there? Your mood in the morning is going to reflect on your mood for the rest of your day. So there is a way to turn things around if you want to avoid that downward spiral, even if your morning didn’t start off as smoothly as you’d hoped. (You can read more about how to cope with a late start here.) It’s just a matter of making some small adjustments to your morning routine. (If you don’t have a morning routine that might be part of the issue, which is why you should read this post here.)

I’m not a morning person either so trying to get back into the swing of things after the relaxation and freedom of the weekend is especially a challenge for me. However, since changing my alarm in the morning from a blaring alert to an upbeat song, I’ve found my mood improve dramatically from the moment I open my eyes. Giving up on the snooze button helped as well, as did my habit of setting myself multiple alarms. Now when I hear that song go off in the morning, I know it means business and I have no choice but to wake up. (Click here if bedtime is an issue for you too.)

Making bleary-eyed decisions stresses me out so I try to do as much as I can the night before to help my grumpy morning self: pack my bag, choose an outfit- anything that can help simplify my morning routine. Keeping things streamlined in my home doesn’t hurt either- I’ve made all of my accessories and toiletries easily accessible and I’ve been in the process of creating a drop zone to help me get out the door quickly. If you wake up and find your mind racing, you may want to include meditation, yoga, stretching, or journal-writing into your morning routine to clear your mind and get you motivated.

You also may want to consider what your schedule looks like Monday morning; I once had a client who took that time off to do his weekly review to get a clear picture of what the week ahead looked like. (In some ways it makes more sense than a Friday, no?)

More than anything, though, I’ve found that a change in my attitude has been key in making my mondays a little more manageable. I’ve tried to let go of the little things that used to freak me out (like having a bad hair day) and put things into perspective. At the end of the week, a lot of what I worried about Monday morning has already been accomplished. Why would I bum myself out about the things that I needed to get done before I actually had an opportunity to do them?

So when Monday morning comes around, I try to do myself a favor and take everything in stride: all my tasks will get done in a (probably) timely fashion by the end of the week, and all my little frustrations will (most likely) be gone by then as well. I changed my perspective, which changed my mood, and it kind of changed my Monday mornings. I hope it changes yours as well.

Do you have your own strategy for waking up Monday mornings? Tell us your secret to becoming a morning person- comment below or email me at keepingbusywithb@gmail.com and I may feature your advice in an upcoming article!

The Drop Zone

 

You don’t have to be a detective to figure out exactly what I’ve been up to when I first come in the door to my apartment. My shoes will be kicked off somewhere near the door; my keys will be on the nearest flat surface I can find. My purse gets stashed just about anywhere (which, believe me, can cause a great deal of panic if I don’t remember exactly where that is). No matter how clean I leave things, when I come back in everything inevitably looks like it’s been in a tornado. (You should see what it looks like when I try to get out the door in the morning- it’s like a tornado in reverse.)

There’s only one good explanation for why this happens to me and why it might sound familiar to you as well: I (we) don’t have a drop zone.

At least, I call it a drop zone. You could call it anything really: a mudroom, hallway, entryway, foyer, or nook in your house (that’s preferably near an entrance). Any place that acts as a transition area between your life indoors and your life outdoors is your “drop zone”. We have so much gear and equipment that play an integral part in our daily lives. Creating an area where we can store these things in ways that are useful and accessible to us is imperative to an organized, productive and stress-free day.

Here are some of the things that you may want to include in your own “drop zone” (when seasonally appropriate, of course):

  • keys (and a spare set, just in case)
  • leashes, treats, waste bags, or towels for pets
  • reusable grocery bags/tote bags and bins
  • sand toys/beach bags
  • gardening tools for quick access (i.e., gardening gloves, trowels, spades, pruning shears)
  • sunscreen, sunglasses and hats
  • lunchboxes/reusable food containers and water bottles
  • winter accessories (i.e, hats, gloves, scarves and mitts)
  • umbrellas and other rain gear
  • shoes and shoe repair accessories (i.e., extra laces, shoe polish, replacement heels, protective spray)
  • first-aid kit
  • bus passes, bus tokens, membership cards, spare change

Storage is not the sole purpose of a “drop zone”; it’s also place that can act as a “command central” for all of your errands and activities (especially if you’re the kind of person who needs visual cues as reminders). You could use it as a place to store your stuff in the morning if you need to get out of the door in a hurry. Other items you may want to leave as reminders could include dry-cleaning, mail, library books, or borrowed items that need returning. In the past when I have had a drop zone, I used it to leave myself lists of things I wanted to pack in my bag in the morning, or things I want to double-check before a weekend away.

Don’t take my word for it, though- here are some people out in the blogosphere that are totally rocking it:

I’m so jelly for Jennifer’s remodelled mudroom over at Style & the Suburbs.

I never knew I needed Dutch doors until I saw Rebecca’s mudroom on Boulevard West.

I love Teresa’s solution for transforming the narrow hallway in her home into something pretty and functional on Sweet Farmhouse Dreams.

Tina from Inspired Reality turned her tiny entryway into something really classy.

Becca at Embracing the Simplified has proof you don’t need a huge budget to create an organized entryway.

What changes have you made to your mudroom or entryway to make it more functional for you? I wanna know all of your secrets (with pictures please!). You can send them to keepingbusyb@gmail.com or comment below with the link to your blog so you can show off your mad organizing skills with everyone else.

Having problems getting out the door in the morning? I’ve got some solutions here to make your mornings more stress-free, and how to stress less when you’re running late. For more inspo on a drop zone that’s both fashionable and functional, check out my Pinterest to see what I’ve been digging up.

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

At least, for some people it is. (Remember those commercials?) Back-to-school season is a mixed bag of emotions- for students, parents and teachers alike. It also doesn’t help that coincides with the arrival of fall, which officially marks the end of summer fun.

I used to love back-to-school time, not only because I was a stationery nerd, but it always somehow felt like a fresh start. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in school now but the feeling has never really left me, this idea that fall can also be a season of change and opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m already starting to dread the end of summer (and I don’t even go to school, man). But let’s take this time to look at the positive side of going back-to-school and use it as a tool to meet your goals, break bad habits, or even boost yourself self-esteem. Maybe you just want to learn how to survive school. Here are some of the ways I think I can help:

Get Organized:

Pick the perfect planner to manage your tasks.

Use this if you want to manage your whole life.

Work Smarter:

3 rules for a successful study routine.

Never hand in late assignments again.

Take control of your lists.

Manage overwhelming tasks.

Quick and dirty tips to help your productivity all around.

Improve Your Time Management:

Stop being late to class. But if you are running late, read this.

How to play catch up.

When you’re definitely not a morning person.

Squeeze more reading into your routine.

Understand and Conquer Procrastination:

Ways to make procrastination work for you.

The whys behind your procrastination habit.

The procrastination solution (or at least, some of them).

Take Care of Yourself:

We know you’re busy, but you gotta make your health a priority.

Ways to take care of your brain.

Reasons why you need to sleep (as if you needed them, right?)

Burnout is real. Don’t let it happen to you.

Find your motivation to get your groove back.

Get Through Your Day:

For when you’re having a breakdown.

For when you’re barely functional.

For when you’re struggling with your mental health.

We all have blips. Me too. We’ll get through it together.

Do you have any solutions or advice for students going back to school? Maybe you can offer the perspective of a parent or a teacher. Leave a comment below and share with the class, or email me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. I may include your tips in a future post!