Monday, October 29, 2012

Motivational Monday #70 - The Storm is Coming!

I woke up this morning to the local news telling me hundreds of thousands of people had evacuated.  Pictures showed train stations and airports empty.  Power was already out in some areas, they are expecting water surges of eleven feet, and the storm is still a few hundred miles off the coast.

I think it is safe to say this will be a bad day for a lot of people...

Every time I see a big evacuation like this I wonder how well these people are prepared.  Of course it is my business (literally) to think about it, but I also wonder from a warm fuzzy human aspect as well.  It must be scary to pick up and depart your home, not knowing what you will find when you get back.  A home is where your comfort zone is.  It is familiar and safe.  To leave your home because it isn't safe anymore must be emotionally difficult.

When evacuations are ordered I also think about logistics.  I wonder where people will go, how they will travel, and what they will take with them.  I worry a little bit that they will find themselves away from home and family and without the things they need.  I am concerned that in their haste they will walk away without the basics.  These thought are not unfounded, as history has shown us time and again that people leave without the things they need.

It is a fact that in moments of crisis, stress or uncomfortable decisions, people's normal thinking patterns change.  I know of a woman who was asked to leave her home because of wildfires.  Her husband packed the kids, food, clothes and the family pictures.  She packed her makeup.  She wasn't a shallow woman, in fact quite the opposite, but when it came down to it, she froze.

Obviously I think a family's documentation is important, but there are so many other "essentials" that need to be included in an evacuation plan.  Here are a few of my top items.
  1. Living things - This includes family, pets and neighbors that may need assistance.
  2. Things to Sustain Life - This includes food, water, medication and cash.  It also includes clothes, blankets and medical supplies.  It may also include fuel and camping supplies, depending on the situation.
  3. Things to Simplify Life - This includes things like identification, financial and insurance information, evacuation plans and contact lists.
  4. Things to Make Life Pleasant - This includes activities, electronics (and chargers), games, books, and creature comforts.  It also include sentimental items such as family pictures and heirlooms.
So what would you put on your list to take?  Do you have a formal list made?  Do you have 72 hour kits already in place? What have you done to prepare?

Most of us will never have a nasty hurricane forcing us to evacuate, but with floods, wildfires, ice storms and earthquakes, just to name a few natural disasters, many of us live in areas that require preparation.  So go pick one thing, and get started.  There is no time like now.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Motivational Monday #69 - My Clean House *giggle*

Today I cleaned my house.  Who am I kidding?  I attempted to clean my house, and only succeeded in putting a dent in the project.  Short of having a housecleaning fairy, I want to know who really has all of their house clean at the same time.  A fully clean house may either be the 8th wonder of the world...or an empty theater set, but not a real home!

I think many of us have "Clean the House" projects on our lists.  They are items that can never really be accomplished, but are an endless journey of little progress and major setbacks.

Being prepared is the same.  It can never be "finished" and is always changing.  The preparation we need when single is different than when we are married, which is different than when we have young children, which is not the same as older children.  Being an empty nester is different even still.  I remember Anna Nicole Smith leaving her entire estate to a son who died before her, and nothing to the brand new daughter she had.  Obviously she had taken the time to prepare, but she didn't update her plan.  Oops.

So, as this is a Motivational Monday, and I just depressed you, I will attempt to add a little motivation.

Start where you are.  Pick one thing.  Prepare your financials, or your legal paperwork, or your funeral wishes, or your 72 hour kit, or your food supply.  Whatever you do, don't try and do it all today!  For the same reason you can't clean the whole house, you can't prepare your whole life for emergencies in one sitting.

So get up, get going, and get something done.  You can do it!  (How is that for motivation?  Should I offer to give you a locker room butt smack as I head you off into battle?)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Motivational Monday #68 - What Am I Doing Again?

Do you ever have that crazy feeling like you have forgotten what you are doing?  It is the sensation you get when half way through a task you realize you have no idea what the original purpose of the task was. 

Sometimes I get this feeling when doing the laundry or washing dishes, I mean really, what is the purpose of those nasty tasks?  I also get this feeling when I am knee deep in a closet clean out project and years of belongings that once nicely fit (read: stuffed) into my closet are now all over the room.  It is at the moment I find the once useful, but now broken/corroded/dated/ugly "wonder appliance" that I realize I have a few urgent questions:
  1. What is this thing?
  2. Why did I buy it?
  3. Why did I keep it?
  4. What do I do with it now? and most importantly...
  5. Why in the world did I drag it out of my closet?
Yep, about then I have no idea what I was doing.

I think many of us feel this way about preparation.  We start out with a fabulous "pie in the sky" type of plan.  We say to ourselves, "Self, it is time to get prepared," but we don't give ourselves any specific goals.  It is kind of like saying, "I am going to organize my closet."  What does that actually mean?  Does it mean I am going to get rid of things that don't fit, or does it mean I am going to arrange all of the things I hate into nice even groups?

When organizing ourselves, it is important to have clear goals.  Your goals should be simple and have only a few steps.  Here are a few examples of organizational goals.
  1. Today I will gather all of the extra blankets and put them on the empty shelf in the guest closet to make sure we have enough blankets when guests visit.
  2. This month I will put the paid bills in the top drawer of my desk so that I can start a budget next month.
  3. This week I will buy twice the normal amount of dry goods so that I can increase my food storage.
  4. Today I will call the doctor and ask for a copy of my medical chart to include in my personal medical record.
  5. This week I will make sure to recycle all "junk mail" before I put it on the counter to reduce clutter.
Do you see how simple and well defined each goal is?  Each statement gives a time the goal will happen, and lets you know the intended outcome.

In contrast, here are some of the goals I think most of us make.
  1. Clean out the garage.
  2. Clean the closet.
  3. Get organized.
  4. Go back to school.
  5. Spend more time on myself.
  6. Cook healthier meals.
  7. Spend more time with family.
Do you see the difference?  The statements on the second list have no time frame, and no goal. They are abstract ideas, and you will quickly find yourself lost in the middle, asking yourself, "What am I doing again?"

My humble suggestion is that you break things down.  I tend to get lost in the task of dishes.  I can't tell you the number of times I will just walk away from a fairly dirty kitchen because I am overwhelmed and feel like I will never get the task done.  I found that if I tell myself I will go in and just unload the dishwasher, so that I can have a place to put dirty dishes later, I will get that done fairly quickly.  Then when later happens I realize I can put the dirties straight into the washer without stacking them on the counter.  Wow!  What a difference!

Once I identified a realistic goal, and the outcome I intended, the task was completed.  You may laugh that I get lost in the dishes, but I'm sure you have a task just like it.  Try breaking it down the way I did and see what happens.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Motivational Monday #67 - The Older I Get

Sometimes I have deep thoughts.  Other times I don't.  Sometimes I am just glad to string sentences together.  Let's be honest, this 'ole grey mare just ain't what she used to be!  I may not be ancient, but the older I get:
  1. The More I Realize I Don't Know
  2. The More I Forget
You can see where this is going...nowhere good!

How is it that when we were teenagers we completely believed we understood the world?  How is it we thought our parents were dinosaurs and our grandparents were remnants of an archeological dig? How exactly did we figure it "all" out?

Honestly, I think this falls under the category of "You Don't Know What You Don't Know."

As I have aged and become a parent, I have realized a few things:
  1. My parents may just have known what they were talking about.
  2. My grandparents were a bevy of untapped knowledge.
  3. I had NO idea what I was talking about as a teenager.
  4. Life can not be figured out by age 17.
  5. Rice Crispy treats are yummy at any age.
So where has this strange collection of random information left us?  The older we get, the more we know we do not know, and the more we know we have forgotten.  While this may sound depressing, it is actually good news!  If we still have our wits about us enough to realize this, that means we still have time to take action.

I used to think I could remember every detail of my life.  Now I realize most days I can't remember what I had for breakfast.  The best solution for this faulty (read: normal) brain of mine is to write things down.  There are so many things that need to be documented, but honestly I only have time and energy for so many of them.

For now, I choose to document personal details.  This includes vital statistics, medical information, and insurance.  This way, if my brain takes a leave of absence I will have this information all ready to go.  Someday I will move on to bigger things, like my financials...but let's be honest, it is only Monday, and I have a whole week to get that motivated!

So here is the plug.  Prepared Binder is a great way to organize and record your person information.  It is simple, concise and ready to use.  Obviously I like it, or I wouldn't have created it.  I'm sure there are other ways to organize your information, but I am partial to this one.  Take a second and give it a look.

Okay, enough Motivation for this Monday....I am off to eat Rice Crispy treats!  While I'm gone, try reading a few of our past posts.  Sometimes I'm almost brilliant!