Welcome To Friday’s High Five!

Friday's High Five


Are you someone who thrives on multitasking or do you go into overwhelm mode?  Most of the time I find multitasking very invigorating but like everyone else, I have a tipping point.  I reached that tipping point this week.

Often times when things get rough, I get the urge to clean out my closet and drawers.  It’s usually a distraction from the one important thing (or the very long list of things) I need to do but it seems to satisfy the need to control something in my head (and the universe) that I interpret as chaotic.

The decluttering process becomes a project of major proportions in terms of time and energy.  It isn’t a monumental accomplishment in the grand scheme of life but once my closet and drawers are organized, I feel better prepared for the next challenge.

My current deadlines will not allow for lengthy distractions, so in order to feed my need for decluttering, I found 5 small ways that have been giving me a sense of accomplishment but still leave enough time (and energy) to actually accomplish the things I need to do:

Declutter, simplify

1.  Meditate

It doesn’t get more Californian sounding than meditating, right?  Believe it or not, a few minutes of sitting on a pillow and listening to a meditation for anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes has made me a bit calmer.  I also believe the time spent attempting to calm my mind has helped me think more clearly during the day.

If you haven’t meditated before, I’d highly suggest trying the FREE Take 10 program from Headspace.   Andy Puddicombe and his English accent couldn’t be more soothing.  The man was also once a Buddist monk so he radiates calm but doesn’t make meditation intimidating.  If you’re interested in utilizingYouTube, try videos from Rebecca Borucki from BexLife.  Her videos are short and down to earth.  Even though her voice is not as soothing as an English accent, her NY accent is comforting to me. 

2.  Make “kitchen sink” meals

When you’re single and stressed out, you can eat cereal for dinner and not think anything of it but when you’re an interim single parent (Jay is traveling) and working whenever the child is at school, creating gourmet meals is of very low priority.

Hence, the kitchen sink meals.  Whatever is in your fridge, freezer or pantry now gets center stage at your dinner or breakfast table.  Tonight my meal was a baked pasta dish with spinach and ricotta cheese.  I made a slew of banana chocolate chip muffins with half of the flour requirement replaced with maple brown sugar oatmeal packets (ground in the Ninja Express Chopper Jay had to have when he saw it at Target last year) that will be included in the last of school lunches and snacks as the school year winds down.

We are going on a couple days of vacation next week after school ends so a big grocery shopping isn’t in my near future.

3.  Simplify The To-Do’s

I do not have to go on to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but I do enjoy it.  In order for me to take those social media breaks, there are things that need to get done.  After getting the child up, dressed, fed and off to school, I walk the dog, attempt to do some sort of exercise, shower and then I look at my schedule for the day.

On Sundays, I try (this doesn’t always happen) to plan out my week in my swanky weekly/monthly calendar that I mentioned at the beginning of the year.  I schedule out blocks of time each day to create a reasonable framework for tasks to get done.  I try to limit myself to 3 minor tasks and 2-3 major tasks to do each day.  My scheduling plans don’t always work the way I’d like but I find that changing from a list of 20 things To-Do that carries over every day to a daily list of 5 or 6 tasks reduces the sense of overwhelm (and the desire to flee from my desk and go straight to my bed to watch Netflix all day).  

4.  Spend 1 hour on email

I check my email way to0 often.  I know I’m only supposed to read it a few times per day to be more efficient.  Instead, I read my email and then mark it with flags to comb through later.  Sometimes later means days and then the panic sets in hard.  Recently, I’ve tried to spend a full hour going through my email and attending to all of my flags.  Sometimes the hour is long and tedious and sometimes it flies by but when the answers are sent, actions taken, junk deleted, messages filed, calendar dates recorded and the flags are gone, the sigh at the end of 60 minutes is one of relief and not of dread.

5.  Make calls in the car

In my heart, I’m still a New Yorker relying on public transportation to get wherever I needed to go.  This is not the case in Los Angeles.  You need a car to do just about everything here in LA.  It can be  tedious to drive everywhere but when you need to make calls for business or just to let your friends and family know you haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, making calls in your car can be life affirming.  When I first started making calls in the car, I felt like a douche.  I felt like I was giving the message – “I’m so important and busy that I can only call you from my car” to whomever I was calling.  I learned to get over it because making the connection voice to voice is sometimes very necessary.  Texts and emails are very efficient but they don’t alway convey tone the way someone’s voice can.  It doesn’t hurt that car phone calls help to distract from the fact that a 20 mile drive can take an hour!  It’s not ideal (I always let the person know they’re on speaker phone in the car to assuage my douchy-guilt) but it can be a great multitasking option when done safely (especially when you have a 3 hour time difference with friends and family).

Bonus:  Use beauty samples you’ve amassed as a reward for an hour/day well spent.

If you’re like me, you’ve amassed a crapton of beauty samples that you’re saving….for some day.  Jam packed days are the perfect time to utilize those babies!  A sample treat of a high end body lotion, shampoo or facial products  can make you feel nice on those days when you want to escape to a spa (or just get a manicure/pedicure because your digits look horrendous) but your deadlines won’t allow.  BTW, a friend of mine who works for Rodan + Fields recently sent me a mini facial packet and I plan to use it very, very soon!


Truth be told, my closet is still calling me despite using these strategies this week.  I’m certain that as the chaos of school ending, summer camp beginning, fitness conference season kicking off and as launching my nutrition private practice draws closer that my closet and drawers will be bellowing with an intensity that will be exceptionally hard to ignore – but I’m going to give it my best effort.

The temptation to delve into the diversion is always strong but I’m going to use these tips to stave off the rabbit hole of distraction and keep myself on course to meet the challenges that I really believe I can conquer.

What’s your secret for getting through stressful times?  

Am I the only one who has the urge to declutter or organize when the going gets tough?