Thursday, August 28, 2014

Praise in the Park

Have you started the 7 day challenge? Have you started gathering your paperwork from across your home and organizing?

Let us know if you need help! That's what we're here for.

We wanted to give you a heads up for an event coming up in a few days (August 30th).

GOD’s Anointed has spearheaded for the past five years a collaborative community outreach called, “Praise in the Park.”  There are various denominations, organizations and the philanthropic community that partner with us to do this empowering event. 

Free clothing, food, school supplies, hair cuts, health services, job and educational information; bouncers, pony and train rides; prayer, praise, preaching and much more!
This event will be held: August 30, 2014 @ the Richard Allen Park 
(formally Nardin Park) @ Grand River/W. Chicago, from 1:00-5:00pm.
Please call 313-350-4890 or email 
for more information.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

7 Day Challenge

We have a challenge for you today at ECHO.
In doing our research on budgeting and how to help others map their money, we've stumbled across the idea over and over again of writing down your spending. It can be hard after grocery shopping or a random visit to the gas station for a pop, but its important. Those little purchases sneak up.

So here's the challenge:
Write down everything you spend money on for 7 days. Every little thing. Keep a piece of paper in your pocket or purse and actually make an effort to write it down. (or maybe write it in your new planner!)

Once the week is over look at what you are spending your money on.
Where is most of your money going? Can you cut back on any of it? How do you view your own spending?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Workshop Coming UP!

There's a great workshop coming up on August 28th that we wanted to share.

How to Organize Important Documents!

So here at ECHO we have a little project we're embarking on to help you keep track of and organize those important, important documents.

In the meantime, we thought we'd offer some basic tips on how to keep those papers in order:

1. The biggest question is this: Are all of your family's documents in the same place? Are they in a box or bin or storage container somewhere in your house that is safe? This is the best place to start. Even if they are in one big pile in a closet somewhere, that's better than drifting around the house. From there, try to sort into different categories. For example, bills, medical info, budget, and birth certificates/passports.

2. If its easier for you, take photos of your documents on your smartphone to help stay organized.

3. Don't be intimidated. It usually doesn't take as long as you think it will.

Like we talked about a few weeks ago, set a reward for yourself and a timer. It will be sorted before you know it! We'll be back here tomorrow to expand on this idea and give you even more tips for #AUGUSTORGANIZED.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What to Do When Stuck...

Do you ever feel like you have a huge pile of rocks in your way?

So yesterday we talked about how to start.
Today we're talking about what to do when stuck.

Maybe you're at a certain point in your project or to-do list where you can't decide what to do next. Maybe you've run out of ideas. Maybe you're facing a bump in the road.

What is a good way to overcome this?

The best advice I've discovered about getting stuck is to TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Do anything. Whatever you have to do. Break your pattern or habits. If you are sitting in your house, try going to a coffee shop. If you work primarily in the morning, try late night. Go for a walk. Try the opposite.

This morning I found a quote which really inspired me to move past my boulders today:
"Tell me, when you think of taking consistent action in the direction of your dreams, do you imagine discipline, stamina, work, sacrifice, monotony, courage, and strategies, or are you thinking adventure, discovery, new friends, excitement at the crack of dawn, magic, surprises, fun, laughter, an, on occasion, the Macarena?" - The Universe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Afraid to Start?

Do you feel like you have so much to do that you don't know where to begin?
Are you overwhelmed with a daunting task and don't know where to start?

First things first, you are not alone. Everyone feels this way at one point or another. What helps me here at ECHO is to break the project or task down into little tiny bits and start with the task that I'm most excited about FIRST. This way I am getting something down and starting - which can be the hardest part! Another way to go is to start with the simplest task first. Maybe to start you need to send an email or make a phone call.

Another tip to help yourself begin your task is to set a timer! Sometimes I give myself even 5 minutes on my cell phone alarm clock and I find the ticking clock is a great motivator.

What do you do in these scenarios? Let us know if the comments below!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Make your Dream List

Do you have dreams?
Not the kind of dreams you have in your sleep, we mean GOALS. Dreams for your future. 
Have you ever written those dreams down?
With all this talk of planning and organizing your life, it is really important to balance out the logistical info with your DREAMS. 

Maybe grab a new notebook from Dollar Tree or even the gas station and dedicate this notebook just to dreaming. Try to write down everything that you want to accomplish. Imagine you already have all of your hopes and dreams, what would your life be like? I like to keep my dreams on a big piece of paper that I hang up in my apartment. For me, seeing my dreams every single day when I wake up or go to sleep helps to keep me hopeful and stay focused.

Another helpful tip is to write all of your dreams on post-its and scatter them around your house. Maybe you need to see your dream in your bathroom mirror or on your refrigerator. Whatever it takes to stay motivated and stay hopeful! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

80/20 Analysis

Brief tip for those of you that are having trouble with this month’s theme of organization. Do you get distracted or easily off track? Are you making to-do lists but not accomplishing your goals?

The first step is to identify your distractions.

Ask yourself this: “What are the 20% activities/distractions that consume 80% of my time?”
Write down your answers and really study your list.

Pick one item on your list that is the real time-sucker. Try to limit the amount of time you do this activity this week or if eliminate it all together. This will absolutely help you create more time in your day to accomplish what you want to get done.

For me, I struggle with surfing the internet and watching too much tv. I try to limit surfing the web by allowing myself only 15/20 minutes after dinner. This helps me avoid spending hours and hours of time on something I don’t really care about. What strategies do you use? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One Dollar Planner

If you are interested in the non-electronic planner method, this post is for you. Planners at Staples or Office Max can be very expensive. Instead of spending $20, I decided to make my own for $1. First, I went to the Dollar Tree and bought a small notebook. Next I divided the pages by month and week. Using a ruler, (this is where it gets a little complicated) I drew the monthly calendar. It takes a bit of time, but creating it yourself allows for your own personal flair! Design how it would work best for you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Free Organization Toolkit

There are lots of different ways to organize yourself. Some people like making lists on their phone, others use their computer calendar, or email calendar. I’m the type of person that will forget everything unless I physically WRITE it down. For me, planners and pens are vital. Organizing yourself does not have to be expensive. There are a lot of free online resources to help.

Printables: A printable is a free template that you can print out at home or at the library. There are lots of calendars, to-do lists, thank you cards, and budget templates that are out there for free. Here are a few of my favorites:

Online Calendar:
On your phone or email account there is usually a calendar program already built in for free. Explore your electronic device and you might be surprised to see that you can set reminders and appointments that will notify you when you need to be someplace. I like Google Calendar because it is simple and clear. Here’s a tutorial for some help:

For those of you out there who want to use an even simpler method of organization, a basic planner or notebook might work best for you. Staples, Dollar Tree, Meijer, Target, and some grocery stores have an esile for Planners and Notebooks. They come in multiple sizes and colors and shapes. Look inside before you purchase. Do you like lots of space for the week or do you like more of a monthly calendar look so you can see the whole month on one page? Do you have space to carry around a large notebook? Would you be more likely to forget a tiny pocket planner at home? All of these are factors in your choice of planner.

Any other free online organization tips that I forgot? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Reward Yourself!

So you've been making lots of lists and learning about organization. It can be really hard work. One way to stay motivated is to make a reward system!

Pick three of your most dreaded task on your to do list and decide what your reward will be when you accomplish them! 

For example: Food (my favorite reward), working out, seeing friends, 
watching a tv episode, surfing the web! 

Meet my favorite motivator :) 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Real Example: Lists

For todays post, I’m going to show you guys into my world! Yesterday we covered to-do lists. Today we are going to break down the basic to-do list into multiple categories.
Stay with me, I promise this will be very clear.

To start, I made a messy list of everything I needed to do today. 
(I mixed realistic and ideal expectations for the day)

Pretty messy right? Next I looked at the list and noticed groupings/categories beginning to form. Using a brand new piece of paper, I folded into sections. Then I wrote the category at the top of each section and made mini-lists.

From there I prioritized each list with a number and focused on the #1’s!

Can you see all of the #1’s in red with circles? I did this so they would pop out on the page as PRIORITY. These are the things that are most important to me to get done today. Make sense?

Send questions my way! Hope this helped!!