The joy of a clean car and not doing it yourself!

I recently treated myself to having my car professionally detailed.  I have spent many hot summer days vacuuming, washing and wiping down my car.  I always love how it feels the next time I get in and it is spotless.  This time, I decided to let someone else use their elbow grease to make my car sparkle and I was not disappointed.

The detail shop did the standard wash, vacuum and clean.  However, in addition, they cleaned the nooks and crannies that collect dirt and are tedious to clean.  They also waxed my car which I never do, even though I probably should.  Another plus was that I dropped it off and went to work and picked it up at the end of the day.  No waiting around for me so it saved a lot of time.

Sometimes it is good to treat yourself.  I highly recommend taking cleaning and washing the car off of your to-do list once a year and indulge in having it professionally detailed.  The detail people really know their stuff and have great tools.  Another side benefit is that after you pay to have someone detail your car, you are much more diligent in keeping your car clean on a daily basis.


Pantry and refrigerator lists

One of the ways that I stay organized is by creating lists of the regular items I keep in my pantry and refrigerator.  The lists are alphabetized to make items easy to find and placed on the fridge door or on a hook in the pantry.  Putting the lists in plastic covers and putting a sticky note on top makes it easy to write down items as you run out.   If you create the lists on the computer, it is easy to update them when you need to add a new item that you are consistently purchasing.  

The time and energy it takes to create the lists pays for itself with less trips to the grocery store mid-week to pick up an ingredient that you forgot for that night’s dinner.  It also saves a lot of time when making out you grocery list and when planning your meals for the week.  Another advantage of keeping a well-stocked pantry, is if you end up having one or two unexpected guests during the week and need to pull something together at the last minute. 

I hope that you will consider taking the time to create pantry and refrigerator lists for yourself and see how easy it will make keeping your home stocked and ready for anything that comes your way.


Double it up Double it up

A great time saving tip that I recommend for busy people is to double up recipes.  Why, you ask?  Well, for one thing it really doesn’t take much extra effort to just make more of something.   You already have the ingredients out, the measuring cups or pans are already dirty and you are already in the kitchen cooking.  The reason it will make your life easier is that when you don’t have the time to cook, pulling a homemade ready made meal out of the freezer is easy.  Instead of stopping to get pizza, you can have a healthy meal that you prepared in advance. 

The other great thing about making extra is having left overs.  You can take them to work so you don’t have to buy lunch or you have them for dinner in a couple of nights.  It saves time and money when you cook in larger quantities.

It is also nice if you are having company over that may be unexpected or last minute.  You can pull out one of your delicious dishes from the freezer and still have time to tidy up before they get there.  They will be amazed and you will be less stressed if you have a back-up plan.  With a busy family comes uncertainty and a back-up plan is always a good thing to have.

One of my favorite recipes to double up on is cookies.  I never make one batch of cookies.  I always double it and freeze most of the dough.  I separate it into smaller containers and whenever my family wants fresh cookies, I just pull the dough out of the freezer and in 20 minutes we have freshly baked homemade cookies.  It does not take long when you pull the dough out of the freezer for it to soften enough to drop it onto a cookie sheet.  Make sure that you lable and date anything you put in your freezer so you can rotate and use the oldest first.

I hope that the next time you go to make chili or chocolate chip cookies that you will double the recipe and then pack some away in your freezer for the next rainy day or cooking craving!


OHIO and I don't mean the state

This little acronym is helpful when sorting through anything but can be most impactful to change our lives when we apply it to paperwork. We have all done it, looked through a stack of mail or papers on our desk and dealt with the easy things and set the rest aside to be looked at later. Sometimes it may seem that the pile of paperwork did not get any smaller even after it was sorted. An acronym that I find helpful to solve this problem is OHIO. OHIO stands for Only Handle It Once. When you decide to sit down with a pile of paperwork it is best to do it next to the shredder and the filing cabinet so they are easily accessible. The key to only handle it once is to deal with each item individually and immediately. Once you are done with it, it should be put it in its proper place. If you need to make a phone call or fill something out, if at all possible, do it before moving onto the next piece of paper. This may seem easier said than done and I admit that it will take some practice. However, if you keep repeating the phrase in your mind while sorting through your stack of papers, you might find that it does get easier and quickly becomes a habit. Hopefully, a habit that will leave your world free of unnecessary paperwork and will cut down on the time you spend searching for that receipt you need because it is in your file where it belongs. Go OHIO!


Limiting your to-do list to get it done

I recently took a look at my to-do list and found that it was always too long. My solution was to break my list down into smaller portions and do a little bit each day. I limit my to-do list for each day to five things. This was a workable solution to the never ending list and found that I had a sense of accomplishment each day when the list was done. The beauty of a personal assistant is being able to finish your to-do list by having your personal assistant do the things that you would otherwise spend a lot of your free time getting done. There are some things that you will have to ultimately do yourself like renew your driver’s license. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have your personal assistant tell you what day of the week and when the Department of Motor Vehicles lines are the shortest so you can get it done fast. In addition, a personal assistant can help you prioritize and manage your to-do list so you don’t have to.


The Art of Delegation

As a personal assistant, I see times where people have a hard time letting go. Whether that be letting go of things that are creating clutter in their life or that household task that could really be done by someone else. We are all too busy. Too busy at work, too busy at home and too busy in our minds. Learning how and when to delegate is a skill and being able to really let the task be done by the person you are delegating to can be an emotional journey. The main hurdle in delegating something to someone else is figuring out what tasks can be delegated. With good instructions and a person who is willing to listen and pay attention to the details, you can gain hours in your day to do the important things in your day that no one else can do but you. This could include things like going to the gym, reading a story to your children and sitting down after dinner to spend time quality time with your spouse.


Welcome to The Zen Maker

I am excited to be starting a new chapter in my life with The Zen Maker. I am a personal assistant because I like to help people make their lives better, every day. This blog will be a place to come to find ideas on simplifying your life, organizational tools, and other helpful tips that will make your life better. You might be saying to yourself, I am not a movie star or the CEO of a large company, what am I going to do with a personal assistant? How much free time would you have if all you had me do for you was grocery shopping twice a month, picking up your dry cleaning and buying a birthday present and having it come to you gift wrapped? That might clear out two Saturdays worth of errands for you and allow you to enjoy your free time doing something else such as going to the zoo with your family, going away for the weekend or taking a day to spend with your loved ones. It is easy to get started and The Zen Maker packages and prices will be up on the website very soon. Stay tuned!!!