Pre-K: WTF?!?

Just when I finally get some semblance of a routine going with both an entirely new way of working and having to work at home – a wrench is thrown into the works. Homework. For Pre-K.

Damnit.

I was hoping to avoid this for another year, but yes I realize the value. Today, O inked excellent likenesses of several toys (I’ve gotten really good at Disney princess dresses) and a banana for a “yellow hunt” assignment – I was actually impressed by his artistic abilities (or maybe my warm feelings were stoked by the large glass of wine).

So – now I have to remake our evening routine dry-erase checklist (which, to my delight, O loves to fill out…). Squeezing in homework between dinner and bath time. Time to fire up InDesign again and put my production artist skillz to mummy crap. Joy.

Going downstairs to check off “second large glass of wine” from my evening checklist. Cheers, Belles!

Today's Nemesis: Children's Birthday Parties

I’m about to lose my fucking mind.

A stressbomb is ticking… :05 left and that sucker is about to explode – all over a four year old’s birthday party. I do this to myself, I know I do. 40 people are descending upon our little tract home tomorrow afternoon. We’re cooking everything from scratch, I’ve handmade 16 custom superhero capes and masks for decorating activity purposes. In an hour we’re about to go forth and rent a helium tank so we can blow up the balloons OUR OWN GODDAMN SELVES!

Why can’t we be those parents who order pizzas, rent a bounce house and let everyone fend for themselves? I’ve been to those kids’ parties. They’re fun. The crotchfruit have a blast, they could give a shit about artisanal cheeseplates and white sangria. I’m not critical of those parents, I’m envious… I know that no one expects us to do this stuff – well, actually they do a little bit because we set this precedent for our parties while living in NYC – but these kind Austin folks don’t know about it! This was our chance at a fresh start – at embracing slackerdom and liberating the family from our relentless, self-imposed pursuit of entertaining perfection and we’ve totally blown it.

The to-do list for the next 24 hours is now coming in at 100 items long. I’ll be whipping up homemade buttercream at 10pm and F will be up at 4am to start slow-cooking the carnitas.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH US?

I’ve said it every year and I’m saying it again. Oliver’s 5th birthday? Chuck E. Fucking Cheese.

The Ca$h Budgeting System

We’re on a budget that we continually seem to blow – so drastic measures must be taken.

Use cash envelopes to control monthly spending:

Budget each paycheck – down to the last penny

Divide and conquer – create categories like food, gas, clothing, grooming, entertainment

Fill each envelope with cash according to the amount allocated in your budget.

When it’s gone, it’s gone – once you’ve used the cash in your envelope, you’re done in that category. No ATM visits!

Don’t be tempted – don’t touch your debit cards.

Give it time – this system takes a few months to perfect, don’t give up and you’ll see results.

If you don’t want to feel totally deadened by your new system, consider setting up a “splurge” envelope for your impulse buys.

The Travel Checklist

I know you’re most likely travelling to a city where they have, you know, stores and stuff. But I hate the feeling that I’ve left something behind at home and now have to purchase a double. I keep a basic travel checklist in “Notes” on my iPhone that I consult as I’m packing for a trip. By biggest problem, however, is overpacking. I don’t need three outfit choices for every event on our itinerary. An overstuffed bag is a painful for my back and – thanks to the fees – my wallet. Take control of your suitcase!

If you’re an app lover, check out Packwhiz packing list generator:

http://www.packwhiz.com/

Lifehacker’s “Geek Travel Checklist”

http://edge-cache.lifehacker.com/lifehacker/lh_travel_checklist.pdf

Lifehacker’s Time-Saving Travel Checklist:

http://edge-cache.lifehacker.com/lifehacker/airportchecklist.pdf

Universal Packing List (hideous interface, but effective)

http://upl.codeq.info/

Auto Maintenance: A Necessary Evil

I admit, I have always been (and apparently remain) a total slacker when it comes to keeping proper care of my vehicle. I didn’t have to worry about this in NYC, which was awesome, but now we’re back to daily driving and car ownership and so it looms… I did buy two Groupons for Jiffy Lube (pats self on back), so I’m at least acknowledging and addressing my shortcomings in this area. At any rate, here is a handy and simple guide to routine auto maintenance. I’ve scheduled it into my Google Calendar so I won’t space and kill our Kia.

Every 3,000-7,000 miles

The oil and oil filter should be replaced

Inspection of transmission fluid level, coolant, power steering fluid, washer fluid and wipers, tires, exterior lights

Every 15,000-30,000 miles

Replace air filter

Inspect battery and coolant

Replace fuel filter

Replace air filter and power steering fluid

Inspect coolant, radiator hoses, HVAC system, brake pads and suspension

Every 35,000-50,000 miles

Inspect and replace battery

Replace spark plugs and spark plug wires

Inspect ignition system and suspension

Every 60,000 miles

Replace brake pads and brake fluid

Replace radiator hoses, coolant, power steering fluid and timing belt

Inspect the HVAC, suspension components and tires

Oil changes and air filters are very important parts of engine maintenance; however, a thorough inspection of all engine, transmission, cooling, brakes and suspension components should also be performed regularly. The owner’s manual provides a routine auto maintenance schedule based on engine mileage for most cars.

The other issue with car maintenance is the money – my solution is to put aside a fixed amount every month to be saved in case of extensive repairs or parts replacement (beyond the maintenance listed above).

See what the Lifehacker Hive Mind has to say on the subject:

Getting Things Done: Getting "In" to Empty

You’ve gone through last week’s exercise of collecting everything that has your attention, now it’s time to actually wade through all of it. By the time you’re done with this step, you will have trashed the unnecessary stuff, delegated as much as possible, sorted through your own organizing system and identified any larger projects that are looming.

Check out the chart. Scary.

Basic rules: process the top item first, process one item at a time, never put anything back into your “in” basket. By “process,” Allen means “decide what the thing is, what action is required and then dispatch accordingly.” Your in basket is a processing station, not a storage bin, and the key question to keep in mind is “what’s the next action?” The action step needs to be the absolute next physical thing to do – such as “call accountant and set meeting.” If there is no real and immediate action that can be taken, you can trash it, incubate it or keep it as reference material in your filing system.

Once you determine the next action step:

Do it – delegate it – defer it.

Do it if the action takes less than two minutes.

Delegate it if you’re not the most appropriate person to do the action.

Defer it into your organization system as an option for work to do later.

Finally, shift your attention to outlining your projects – those outcomes that will take more than one action step to complete. Make a list of projects to ensure you have placeholders for all of those open loops. This project list must be completed, and maintained as the key driver for appraising your status and progress.

20 Minutes to Asskicking Glory!

I know in your world of multitasking, with browser windows open simultaneously, juggling your many iTems, etc, that setting aside twenty minutes to just THINK, uninterrupted, sounds like crazytalk. However, hear me out…

I came across this revolutionary concept in the Why People Fail book (previously reviewed) and it made total sense.

Put aside 20 minutes a day to just think. Plan things out before beginning them.

I’m not the type of person who can meditate. Yeah…yeah…I know, but I HAVE tried it. Doesn’t work for me. My brain cannot let go. However, I can totally get behind spending twenty minutes, alone, either eyes closed or with a pad and paper to harness the power of my bubbling thoughts.

The book suggests using the following structured brainstorming methods during your thinking time:

“Ridiculous Idea” – write everything down, no matter how “dumb” you think it is. These crazy concepts might lead you down a different path, where even more creative ideas can be conceived.

“Different Industry” – think of a successful business, service or product in a different industry from your own and brainstorm how you could emulate that idea in your business.

“Star Emulation” – emulate experts, celebrities and professionals who have great success. Put yourself in their shoes, examine what they have done. Are you facing a problem that someone else has already solved? Use the past as a tool.

“Dictionary/Word Association” – brainstorming lists of words and finding links between key words on each list. See this link for more details:http://creativebits.org/toolbox/solitary_brainstorming_pairing

If you aren’t into formal methods of brainstorming – and I’m really not – just sit with a pencil and paper and think through a particular project or problem you may be having and free-form jot all of your thoughts down. You may be surprised at what you emerge with.

The other “20 minute rule” comes via Clifford Nass, professor at Stanford University.

Heavy media multitaskers perform poorly at actually multitasking. Juggling causes your brain to constantly “switch” tasks, leaving us less effective at performing the task at hand. Nass’ solution to combat this is that every time you start a new task, to focus entirely on that task for at least 20 minutes. Force yourself to do this, avoid checking emails or talking to co-workers and just perform that focuses activity. If you do this for two weeks, in theory, you will learn where your time is best spent, which activies eat your time and you will become more productive. Go so far as to applying this rule to other aspects of your life: relationships, hobbies. This Braincanvas entry is a fantastic place to start if you’re looking to apply this rule to your world:

http://braincanvas.org/the-20-minute-rule

Clean as You Go

This week’s selection of Bites from Tsh Oxenreider covers two topics near and dear to my heart. Keeping an organized house – whether you live alone or have more crotchfruit than the Duggars requires constant vigilance.

 

#11: Clean as you go

Best cleaning hack there is – if something spills, or gets dirty, clean it up right away. A few minutes of time can really add up when it comes to keeping your home under control. I know either F or I make the bed every morning as soon as we get up. It takes two minutes and it makes the room look that much less like ass. The other thing I do – and this is a constant struggle, I won’t lie – is to hang up clothes and put away shoes after I take them off. A tough thing to do when you drag home from a long day and just want to throw everything in a pile and curl up on your (unmade) bed…

Here are a few more things we currently do to keep things a little less chaotic in Casa Lopez:

• put away primping items when I’m done (I hate having a bunch of crap on my bathroom counter)

• wiping down kitchen after cooking

 

Things we need to work on:

• loading and unloading dishwasher (HATE the damn dishes)

• clearing the tub of dinos and Polly Pocket dolls after Oliver is done with his bath

 

The book suggest that you set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can get done in your immediate environment. Do this until it becomes a habit – clean your house in small sprees throughout the day.

 

#12 – Clean your kitchen as you cook

Professional chefs learn this – and they look like they’re pretty damn busy (at least on Food Network), so I’m pretty sure we can do this in real life. Easier said than done.

Clean up after every task, no matter how miniscule, before moving on to the next. What seems like a drag will eventually become a habit.

 

Tips:

Start with a clean kitchen (easier said than done...)

Assign a proper home for each type of kitchen waste – compost, recycling, garbage

Arrange your workspace for a mini cleaning “mise en place” – place a garbage container nearby for food scraps, for a double sink: run one side half full of hot soapy water for hands and dishes and leave the other side free, keep a dust broom and bin right there, have several clean towels on hand.

PRO Restaurant tip: place a jar of warm water on the counter and stash several soup spoons inside. Use them for stirring sauces and other foods while cooking, eliminating sticky crap on the counter where a spoon has been rested. Also cuts down on dirty dishes since the spoons can be reused.

 

I know we always TRY to clean as we cook – but when we’re up against a deadline, like a looming gathering or trying to get the kids fed, etc – it’s a struggle.

The Job Purpose Statement

I’ve explored the idea of a purpose statement before – specifically the “family” statement, which I think is a fantastic idea. Mission statements are such a great exercise because you can clarify your actions and discard the nonsense.

I lifted this particular “job purpose statement” concept from the “Why People Fail” book and performed further research on the trusty internets. A job purpose statement is a good way to think through and illuminate your objectives – both in your current position and long-term career.

It’s important to have a statement of purpose for every major aspect of your life – career, family, education. Subsequently, you can constantly review your activities and decisions against your purposes to make sure you’re moving in the right direction and not wasting time on extraneous crap.

The Job Purpose – from Why People Fail

Write down three most important tasks at work and put in order of priority.

I did this for my current contracting job, just to get some clarity and cut out some of the bullsh!t that comes along with a new position in a start-up. It’s not for my “ideal” position, it’s for what I’m dealing with right now:

(1) Produce compelling projects on time, in brief and within budget

(2) Make the client successful and satisfied; simplify her life as much as possible.

(3) Make improvements to process/workflow that allow us to get additional/new business and grow the company

The other method to draft a job purpose statement is a more involved three-step method outlined below and in the following links. This is particularly helpful if you are looking for a new position or looking to pinpoint and resolve possible dissatisfaction with your current position. I gave this a whirl as well….

This is tough in a down economy, I think, where employees just don’t seem to have the bargaining power that we did, say, 6 years ago. It’s hard to demand a bunch of stuff from an employer who flat-out tells you that you should be “happy to have a job.” But, it’s a worthwhile exercise, just to remind yourself that you still have values! And prep yourself for the possibility of better things to come….

Step 1: List your expectations: wants, needs, fears

I want to be able to take my 16+ years of ad agency project management experience and leverage that into a career change that allows me to focus on people rather than projects.

I want to work in a company that allows for flexibility – I can work in the office, work remotely, work from home, and handle my business as needed; secure in the fact that the company acknowledges that I’m a responsible adult.

I need to make at least $X per year in salary.

I need a job with a generous benefits package.

I fear starting something that is very different from my past experience, but – at the same time – I’m thrilled by the possibility

I fear getting stuck in another PM job where I’m doing the same thing forever – I’ve proven over and over that a fantastic PM, but I’m ready to move on and grow.

Step 2: Write a long, “from the gut” job purpose statement using the list from Step 1

Purpose statement: The purpose of my new job is to make a career change that leverages my advertising experience and soft skills with a company who values flexibility and work-life integration making at least $X per year salary with a generous benefits package.

Step 3: Write “I will” statements for your job purpose.

Return to the expectations (wants, needs and fears) and to the right of them, write down an “I will” statement. Try to make each “I will” statement specific, actionable and measurable. See below:

I want to work in a company that allows for flexibility – I will make sure to focus on employers who treat their employees like adults and will who value work-life balance. I will research Working Mother’s “Best Companies” list to get an idea of what types of organizations operate with this attitude. I will state this requirement to every prospective employer I meet with.

I need to make at least $X per year in salary – I will mention my salary requirement to potential employers and I will not consider any less, as I am more than worth that amount.

I need a job with a generous benefits package – I will get a full and complete picture of all benefits offered – from health and dental to educational expenses and the little perks and will weigh packages carefully against our family’s needs before deciding.

I fear starting something that is very different from my past experience – I will focus on the wealth soft skills that I gained from over 16 years as an advertising PM, and leverage those in a new position.

I fear getting stuck in another PM job where I’m doing the same thing forever – I will commit to looking only at non-PM jobs and will not settle for another such position. I will network with people from the other industry(ies) that I am interested in, to get a better picture of possible career choices.

I feel like the last couple of “I wills” aren’t super actionable – so I’m going to keep plugging on them. But you get the idea…. Go forth and create the opportunity you deserve!

http://robdkelly.com/blog/getting-things-done/how-to-write-a-purpose-statement/

http://ongig.com/blog/career-development/statement-of-purpose-for-job

The Recipe Collection: My Enduring Nemesis

RECIPES: BEST FRIENDS OR WORST ENEMIES?

The Mr and I love to cook – the ritual of preparing and enjoying a great meal (preferably shared with friends) is one of the great joys in life. What isn’t great is keeping track of the many recipes I pull out of magazines or print off the web, etc. I have a file folder in the kitchen stuffed with the most recent items that I want to try. There’s also a small accordion folder under the bar with even more clippings – somewhat categorized. Plus we have about 30 cookbooks and there’s Epicurious, etc… It’s sometimes a daunting pain in the ass to sit down and plan the weekly menu or conceive a party spread with so much nonsense floating around.

There are many apps and electronic solutions to my problem – but they mainly tackle organizing recipes that are already digital. Plus, I don’t always agree with the way they are categorized – I like to break stuff out into groupings that meet our particular lifestyle needs, such as: food for the kids, party food, weeknight meals, weekend feasts, etc. I think I’m going to go analog luddite on this one and just buy a honking binder with dividers and a bunch of plastic sleeves to protect my recipes.

I’ve been doing some research about electronic options, and while none of them appeal to me, you might find them useful.I think BigOven looks like a really robust option and does allow for scanning or typing in your analog recipies. But, ugh, when do I have the time to transfer all of that data to an electronic format. Good lord – if I had like 10 hours to kill, it sure as hell wouldn’t be spent typing recipes – but I digress… BigOven.com features a 30 day free trial followed by a $15.95 annual subscription charge. I’m doing some research before I make the commitment and document my experience in a future post.

http://www.bigoven.com/?gclid=CLjF8pa6iq8CFQpjTAodxGQMDw

Lifehacker – 5 Best Recipe Organization Tools

http://lifehacker.com/5862746/five-best-recipe-organization-tools

If you’re into a more traditional method of organizing your recipes, you might give this a whirl:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/barefoot-contessa-recipe-organizer-ina-garten/1100026339

But at $100 a pop, it had better cook the damn food for me. Not sure how the Barefoot Contessa can justify the cost otherwise.

 

OCD Mission Control

The brains of the Casa Lopez operation are housed in our utility room… The magnetic chalkboard contains:
-the wipe-off chore list clipboard
-shopping lists
-a plastic envelope of current/relevant coupons
-a plastic envelope of items needed that week (a blank thank you note that has to go out, party invitations, etc.
-that week’s school activities for the boys

I love it. The board’s mere presence makes me feel content and in control. If only the wall was big enough to add our calendar so that area could truly serve as the aggregator of all pertinent family data…
Dream big, Lopez, dream big…

Planning an Annual "Staycation"

I truly hate this term with a passion, but I’m afraid it’s here to stay. I can’t remember the last time F and I went away for an entire week – with or without kids. Oh yeah, I can, we came to Texas from NYC….again… I think it’s good to try to vacation far from home every year – maybe every other year if money is an issue. Preferably not just to visit extended family.

This week’s Bite suggests the “staycation” as an alternative if you need a “break from the daily grind of living to bond with your family.” Unfortunately, staying home for a week isn’t exactly leaving your daily life behind – dishes still pile up in the sink, bills still come in the mail, and O still wants to sit and watch back to back Disney movies every day. It’s hard to get into a “vacation” mindset while staying at home.

52 Bites has the following list to combat this problem…

Tips for planning a staycation.

(1)  make a plan – list of things to do and general schedule of when to do them

(2)  make sure list has at least one thing that everyone would enjoy doing.

(3)  Parents take turns sleeping in

(4)  Have plenty of snacks and easy meals on hand

(5)  Keep up with basic housework like dishes and laundry

(6)  Stay flexible

(7)  Schedule in some “recovery days”

(8)  Be brave – do something new in your hometown, stay up past your bedtime

This year, F and I are taking a kid-free weekend in San Antonio, holed up at a luxury hotel for a fantastic wedding (the “adult prom.”). Also hoping to take a kid-free drive to Colorado for a few days followed by a kid-free group RV trip to New Orleans in the fall.

I’m noticing a trend in our “staycation” plans… They don’t involve staying and they don’t involve the kids. Maybe we’re doing this wrong.

OCD Book Review: Brand YOU

I went into this book by David Roylston-Lee thinking it would be the usual bullshit rah-rah cheerleading self-talk nonsense, but it was actually a great exercise in uncovering your “brand” the way you would in a planning session in the “real” advertising world.

The author uses leading, open-ended questions to coax the information out of you – a fresher way of looking at where your talents and values lie and how to translate that into a cohesive “brand” to present to the world.

The first exercise is to list seven peak experiences in your life and under each, complete the following information: talents used during this experience, how these talents were used, where were you, who were you with.

Pretty flat on the surface perhaps, but as I was completing the exercise, I began to notice a couple of trends throughout my experiences that were not previously top of mind. First, my best experiences took place with other people who had tested or auditioned or otherwise qualified into the program/situation. In other words, I don’t like working with stupid, unmotivated people. Big Shocker.

From your peak experiences, go back in and mine a list of talents. Then, go back and reorder the talents used in order of how much joyous energy you received from using them at the time – from most to least.

List 20 people you admire – living or dead, real or fictional followed by a list of traits that you most admire about them. Go back in and mine this list for all of the talents and categorize into 3-5 different categories from most to least important to you. After going through both parts of this exercise, I learned that the trait categories I most admire/aspire to are: (1) intelligence (2) humor/wit (3) high style/aesthetics (4) feminine strength/working mother (5) hardworking + genuine.

The next exercise was something out of Office Space.

How would you spend $5MM on yourself?

How would you spend $5MM on others?

If you had unlimited funds and everlasting life, what would you do? (Other than drink – a lot….)

Uncover your “archetypes” – both primary and secondary – and how to work those into how you present your brand.

  • Caregiver
  • Creator
  • Explorer
  • Hero
  • Innocent
  • Jester
  • Lover
  • Magician
  • Ordinary Guy
  • Ruler
  • Outlaw
  • Sage

I most identify with sage and explorer, with a touch of caregiver and ordinary guy for good measure. From there, the book instructs you to come up with a list of three things about you that are a “unique combo” and can be easily spit out at parties and online.  I’m going with…

I prescribe and implement custom workflow processes for creative agencies and design firms.

I create beautiful finished executions from art directors’ musings and clients’ deepest desires.

I’m a mother of two boys, a productivity + organization blogger and a crafty baker.


Overall, it was a good way to spend a few hours really thinking about what’s important to me, how it can translate into my working life, and how to distill that into a personal “brand.”

Getting Things Done: Corralling Your Stuff

In this week’s installment of GTD, we finally get to take some action. Gathering all of your crap, sorting, tossing, and moving forward.

Set aside several hours to gather all of your incompletes, your paper, your “stuff” into one place. Note: this works for both your home and office workspaces, so tackle the most egregious one first. Search your physical environment for anything that doesn’t belong where it is and put it in your in-box (or if you have a lot of crap, use an actual large shipping box), so that they are available for later processing.

What shouldn’t go into the in-box:

• Supplies

• Reference material

• Decoration

• Equipment

If something is clearly trash, go ahead and toss it, don’t put it into your in-box.

Order of attack:

• Start with your desktop

• Move to your desk drawers

• Countertops (stuff on top of cabinets, credenzas, etc)

• Then inside the cabinets

• Floors, Walls + Shelves

• Equipment, Furniture and Fixtures (anything you want to change about the physical space itself)

Once you’ve gathered your stuff to be processed or tossed (hopefully), you’re ready to move on to what David Allen calls “the mind sweep.”

Sit with a stack of blank printer paper and a big ass marker and write out each thought, each idea, each project or thing that has your attention on its own separate sheet of paper. You will be processing these items individually, so it’s best to put each thought on its own sheet. Stick these sheets into your in-box.

To assist in your brain dump mission, you can use this trigger list – go item by item to make sure you’ve included everything.

http://wiki.43folders.com/index.php/Trigger_List

Print out your important emails, transcribe important voice mails – it sounds terribly analog – but make everything paper-based and physical and put it into the in-box.

Once you have an overflowing in-box and feel that everything is physically and psychically in one place, you can tackle next week’s step: “Getting ‘In’ to Empty.”

Productivity: The "To Don't" List

PRODUCTIVITY: THE “TO DON’T” LIST

focused on the most important tasks?

 

Take a day or two, and jot down the bad habits that keep you from being productive on a daily basis as they arise – like opening your inbox every time a new message comes in, spending too much time on blogs, working on unimportant tasks, etc. I’m super guilty of opening my email as soon as something pops up and then getting distracted there, or going down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere.

Post your list where you can see it every day – preferably somewhere near your to-do list. It’s just a little visual reminder to keep your eyes on the prize.

Here is the original Lifehacker entry on the topic:

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/02/create-a-to-dont-list-to-avoid-repetitive-tasks/

As well as the source material from Marc + Angel’s Hack List:

http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/02/20/12-things-highly-productive-people-do-differently/

There’s even a whole blog dedicated to the subject (although it’s on the humorous side):

http://todontlist.blog.com/

Getting Things Done: Reference Files

What is your general reference filing system like? Do you have two, big-ass metal file cabinets, meticulously organized and lovingly labeled? Do you have big canvas-covered hanging file boxes (as I do) and keep only the bare minimum? Do you have hoarder-esque stacks of crap lining the walls of your office? Or are you all digital, scanning receipts and tossing them later?

According to David Allen, in “Getting Things Done,” your filing system must be “fast, functional and fun, or you’ll resist the whole process.”

Allen recommends an “alpha system” organized entirely by A-Z as opposed to multiple systems. One simple alpha system files everything by topic, project, person or company so that it can only be in 3-4 places if you forgot where you put it. I’m not sure I’m down with this, as I like to keep my reference files according to subject (i.e. – vacation ideas, childcare articles, etc). He also recommends using the heavy-duty metal filing cabinets, having sh!t-tons of fresh file folders available, and labeling every damn thing with a label maker. OK, I agree with all of that. Also, files should be purged at least once a year – for sure…

 OCD: End of month gut check

OK so this month, I put routines in place for morning and night, started writing up and accomplishing two weekly goals every Sunday, instituted the grocery list template, the menu planner, the wipe-off chore list, a petty cash system and clipboards galore… I think I’ve really taken February by the balls here. Doing my best to get into some better habits – maybe acting like more of a grown up (now that I’m pushing 40)… All that good shit…