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7 Steps to De-Stress Before Moving

7 Steps to De-Stress Before Moving
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Have you ever moved… a big move from your mom’s basement or a little cross-country move to take a new direction with your career? Are you making that huge leap to living abroad?

Right now, I am in the middle of a move. It’s a little move for me, but a big move for my soon-to-be husband, as he has lived here for almost 20 years. As you might imagine, there is more than a little stress.

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Change is stressful.

Change, regardless of why you are doing it, is stressful. There is always a feeling of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. You feel as though your entire life is being turned upside down. There are a thousand little details that have to be planned, organized, and executed. There is a huge overwhelming feeling. This sense of fear and being overwhelmed comes from our natural desire for comfort and stability. Any time the things around us change and move us out of our comfort zone, it messes with our heads and our emotions.

Moving is a double-dose of stress; you are in the middle of stress and you are leaving your comfort zone behind. Yikes! Doesn’t it make you long for the days that you had a blanket and could take your comfort zone with you? Maybe we can’t do that, but we can make it through with some sense of sanity.

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While there is no way to remove all the stress, you can make things so much better by getting a plan together and staying organized. Set up your iPad/iPhone or a simple daily planner to keep you on track. Take the time you need to plan, whether this is 30 minutes or 2 hours. You will benefit tenfold by eliminating all the worry.   You can easily set aside half of your stress by not worrying about what you have forgotten.

Here are some quick tips that will help you stay organized.

Step 1: Write everything down. Get in the habit of writing down all of your thoughts, tasks, and plans. This will help you get out of your head and into action. Many times, we are so worried about getting stuff done that we actually can’t move.

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Step 2: Declutter, declutter, declutter.  You know those boxes that are still in the basement, unopened, from the last move? Just take them right out of your house now!  You can choose to drop them at your local charity or throw them out; either way, get rid of the stuff. You do not need to move clutter. Do you really even need all the stuff that you have? Have you thought about living with 100 items or less? Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but think about how much less stuff to move you would have.

Step 3: Keep a notebook: a central location for all of your lists, appointments, and phone numbers that you will need. There are often a lot of little details. Making sure they are all in one place will make a huge difference. Dare I say, break out the spreadsheet and use it to plan each step of your prep, move, and post-move to-do lists.

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Step 4: Designate. Whenever you can assign tasks to other family helpers, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of the time, the resource that you are the shortest on is time. Let the teenager next door entertain the kids, or have the kids go to a friend’s or grandma’s house. It is surprising how much you can get done without the distraction.

Step 5: Always take care of yourself. It is very easy to say you have no time for the gym or to eat correctly, but you need these things to keep your energy high and to relieve stress. Connect with a support person: your best friend, your minister, or a life coach.

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Whether moving is something you want to do or need to do, it is going to be stressful. You are going to have some good days and some bad, so take each day one at a time. Really focus on staying organized, taking things in bite size pieces, and taking care of yourself. With a little planning and organization, you will make it through with your sanity.

Good luck with your move!

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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