J is for Jump Start

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree,
I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

Jump start means to initiate a portion of a project or activity in advance. When you jump start an activity before you begin, you prepare a smooth transition into the activity. Abraham Lincoln jump started the process of cutting down a tree by spending time to sharpen the ax. He knew that the task would be easier when prepared.

Here are a few ways to jump start your day:

  • Prepare for the days ahead on Sunday evening by assembling a week’s worth of clothing including underwear and accessories. This routine eliminates the what-will-I-wear-today syndrome.
  • Write out a menu of your family’s favorite 10 meals and rotate every two weeks. This will make shopping and preparing meals easier. One night a week you can feature a special recipe and another night can be pizza, tacos, BLTs or convenience food.
  • Organize an easily-accessible breakfast center with everyone’s favorite items. Set the table the night before and use a programmable coffee pot.
  • Pre-pack a week of lunches with yogurt, fruit, snacks and a juice box. Place the containers in the refrigerator waiting for the addition of a sandwich.
  • Designate a specific spot for backpacks, diaper bags, and briefcases. This can be hooks, shelves or baskets by the main entryway or in each child’s room.
  • Use self-laminated luggage tags to attach to backpacks with the child’s name and a daily checklist of items to grab before walking out the door. Involve all family members in gathering personal items needed for the next day.
  • Keep a second set of toothbrushes in the downstairs half bath so you and the kids do not have to go back upstairs after breakfast.
  • Clear your desk every evening. There will be less distractions when you arrive in the morning. And, before leaving your office, glance at your calendar, to-do list and/or tickler file to familiarize yourself with the next day’s activities.
  • Establish routines that easily jump start your day and experience less stress in the mornings.
  • Bonus: Jump start your reading by scanning the table of contents of a book, magazine or journal and determine which chapters provide pertinent information.

Lazy Clutter Jump Start

The term ‘lazy clutter’ refers to superficial items that accumulate over a prolonged period of time. These are items that you don’t necessarily care about and choose to avoid dealing with them until the situation is out of control.

Get a jump start on clearing your cluttered environment by quickly purging lazy clutter. (The operative word is quickly!) The Tidy Friday System works for me. I set aside a half hour every Friday afternoon to quickly go room-by-room picking up wayward items, throwing away past newspapers and magazines, and straightening pillows and lamp shades, singing and dancing my way to a clutter-free, stress-free life. And, before I go to bed, I polish the kitchen sink! (Flylady.net)

You decide what routine works for you and schedule it on your calendar. Block off the amount of time you need each week to deal with lazy clutter and you, too, will experience a clutter-free environment.