Get Rid of Clutter: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

Get Rid of Clutter: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying
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Are there pockets of clutter in your home that are dragging you down?

Do you struggle to downsize your collection of books, DVDs or Tupperware? Just in case those missing lids ever turn up…

Find it hard to let go of clothes in case they come back into fashion or you lose or gain weight? Feel guilty getting rid of things that were given as gifts?

As I prepare for my upcoming move back to London, I’m in major ‘get rid of clutter’ mode. When we packed up and moved to Madrid six years ago I donated dozens of bags filled to the brim to our local charity shops. I gave away piles of books, clothes, baby and household items as I had no time to organise a sale or figure out eBay.

It was amazing to start fresh in a new house. After unpacking I was delighted to find empty shelves and plenty of drawers to spare.

So how is it that just six years later we’ve amassed so much stuff again? 

I’m finally reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo after previously writing it off as being a book about precision folding and talking to your socks. Well, there is some of that, but the deeper underlying message is actually a good one.

Only keep things in your home that spark joy.

This is of course easier said than done, but in the spirit of another fresh start, I’m giving her KonMari Method a go.[more]

Finding Work That Fits Around Family: First Steps to Get Started

Finding Work That Fits Around Family: First Steps to Get Started
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I hear from many mothers who’ve been out of the workforce since starting a family and now feel confused and apprehensive about if or when they want to get back in.

Many make the choice to be a stay-at-home mother when the kids are little, but later wish they hadn’t let their skills and contacts lapse to the point where they’ve lost confidence in their abilities. Others aren’t crazy about returning to work but need or want to contribute to the family income or would like some financial independence.

A big concern is finding work that fits in with family life. [more]

What To Do About A Lack Of Motivation

What To Do About A Lack Of Motivation
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I’m normally a positive and energetic person. I talk and move fast, my brain is filled with a steady flow of non-stop ideas and I rarely feel bored. 

So feeling a complete lack of motivation over these past few weeks has been very strange and unusual. 

It started with a horrible stomach virus which morphed into a bad cold and cough. But even 10 days later when I ‘should’ have felt back to normal, I couldn’t muster up an ounce of enthusiasm for anything.

I didn’t want to work – which has never happened since starting Project Me. I didn’t want to socialise, I couldn’t be bothered to think about food or cooking. My poor family.

I wasn’t depressed and I didn’t feel hopeless. I just had a drawn-out case of the Blahs. Yes, it’s happened to the Mama Motivator herself![more]

Keeping A Family Book of Quotes

Keeping A Family Book of Quotes
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Kids say the funniest things.

Once your child starts talking, they never cease to come up with questions and comments that crack you up.

You might think you’ll remember this stuff, but there’s a good chance you won’t.

My boys are teenagers now and I’m kicking myself for not keeping a family book of quotes much earlier.

I used to say, ‘I’m going to write that in my book of quotes!’ as a joke, but I never got around to actually doing it until they were six and nine.

Better late than never! Our family book of quotes is a source of great amusement to me and I turn to it whenever I could use a good giggle.[more]

Exploring Happy Habits With Gretchen Rubin

Exploring Happy Habits With Gretchen Rubin
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I’m thrilled that Project Me has made a great list of 25 Must-Read Personal Development Blogs, especially given that I share the bill with one of my personal faves, Gretchen Rubin.

Gretchen first came onto my radar several years ago with her book The Happiness Project. She’s as fascinated with happiness, human behaviour and habits as I am!

I once spent five consecutive days sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surreptitiously observing and writing down where people chose to sit and which magazines they shuffled through. The following week I did a similar same thing in a cafe.

Before you assume I’m some kind of weirdo, It was for my sociology class at university.

Gretchen’s latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives, explores how habits affect your life in both good and bad ways. She uses herself, her friends and her family as guinea pigs to test out various theories, which makes it more fun to read than the other books on habits I’ve delved into – and never quite finished…

I especially love her Four Tendencies framework to help people understand how they tend to respond to expectations, both inner and external.

As a productivity and goals coach for mothers, it’s useful for me to understand if the person I’m working with needs my accountability (ie: a kick up her backside to make sure she follows through!), or if she’ll rebel against that and needs to do things her own way. Others respond better to lots of useful information. Once they have the facts, they make decisions they trust.

Since we’re all different, self-understanding is the key to reaching our goals and mastering our habits.

You can take Gretchen’s online quiz to find out [more]

Recommended Meditation Apps for Mothers

Recommended Meditation Apps for Mothers
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Feel like you ‘should’ be meditating, but never really manage to get into it?

Have a monkey mind and can’t stop the endless chatter running through your head?

I hear you!

For years I tried to develop a meditation practice. I’d heard all of the amazing benefits, including less stress and anxiety, the ability to manage emotions, unwind and be more present.

Yet all I seemed to accomplish in a session was mentally scanning my to-do list or pondering what I should make for dinner.

Now I’m using guided meditation apps. They give my mind something positive to latch on to so I won’t automatically go off on a wild thought tangent.

I’ve been experimenting with several meditation phone apps. Here are some great ones and in the comments below, please share any you like too.[more]

Arianna Huffington’s Personal Advice for Busy Mothers

Arianna Huffington’s Personal Advice for Busy Mothers
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I recently had the pleasure of attending an inspirational talk in Madrid by Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and author of the wonderful book ‘Thrive’.

The subject of her talk was one very close to my heart: Balance & Mindfulness.

When she asked if anyone had any questions, my hand shot up. Before I knew what was happening, a microphone was thrust into my hand and I was told to stand up and introduce myself.

I’m a huge admirer of Arianna, so my face burned and heart raced, but I believe it went something like:

Hi Arianna, I’m Kelly Pietrangeli of Project Me for Busy Mothers and I help women find a happier balance between the kids – and everything else. (Whew! All of those months of memorising my ‘cocktail line’ paid off!)

My busy mother readers and clients all say the same thing:

‘My to-do list is never ending! There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done.’

They go to bed feeling exhausted and guilty for everything they haven’t managed to get done.

Arianna, what would you say to the mother with the never-ending to-do list?

Her answer:

There’s always going to be your to-do list. But you also need a gratitude list. Every single day, write at least three things you’re feeling grateful for.

The more gratitude you have for all of the people and things you have in your life, the more grace you’ll extend yourself for not ‘getting it all done’. Focus on what you achieved each night before bed, not on what you didn’t manage to do.

Of course, this made my heart sing, and if you’ve been following Project Me for any length of time you’ll know that I’m always banging on about gratitude as a daily practice.

There’s even a place to write gratitude at the top of my Design My Day action sheet. Never leave that box blank to just focus on your to-dos. [more]

Why You’ve Lost Your Sex Drive and How to Get It Back

Why You’ve Lost Your Sex Drive and How to Get It Back
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Do you find yourself hoping your partner’s already asleep when you crawl into bed? Finding it hard to muster up even a whiff of desire to make love? Worried your sex drive has dried up and disappeared forever?

This is a very common problem (one I’ve experienced for myself after the birth of each of my children), so I’ve invited Maj Wismann, a leading Danish couples therapist and sexologist, to give you some sound advice on this often sensitive subject.

Maj helps women and men to have a better sex life, as well as incorporate more love, closeness and intimacy into their relationships.

Here are Maj’s words of wisdom when it comes to identifying why you’ve lost your sex drive – and how to get it back. [more]

How to Plan a Project Me Date With Yourself

How to Plan a Project Me Date With Yourself
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How often do you sit down with a pen and paper, do a little assessment of the different areas of your life and see what needs some planning or figuring out?

Maybe you need a strategy for organising your home, getting into a fitness routine, having more fun with your partner or friends, or doing more things just for you?  Family life may flow easier if you spend a little time creating some written rules or charts so you can stop the nagging. Perhaps you have a business idea swirling around in your head, but you never take the time to explore it properly?

When you’re constantly caught up in the day to day whirlwind of life, you fall into bed every night without any chance for planning or reflection. Then the next morning you start the whole crazy routine all over again! That’s why this date with yourself is so important.

Here’s How To Plan a Monthly Project Me Date With Yourself

  • Schedule it in. Ink a time and date into your calendar as if it’s an important appointment you can’t miss. Because it is.
  • Find a quiet spot, either at home or in the corner of a cozy cafe.
  • Use the Project Me Life Wheel® to do an assessment of your 8 Key Life Areas. This will flag up any areas that need some focused attention.
  • Grab other Action Sheets like the Challenge Solver, Magic Matrix, Fitness Planner, Meal Planners, or Chores Chart. These tools make it quick and easy for you to get started.
  • Use a dedicated Project Me notebook or journal to capture your thoughts and hash out those plans. Out of your head and onto paper!
  • Schedule in your date for next month so you don’t forget. Once you get into a habit of it, it’s a date you’ll never want to miss.

It’s too easy to spend your downtime getting sucked into social media or mindlessly surfing the web. Having a monthly Project Me Date With Yourself will help you feel more organised and on top of life. You’ll become a pro problem solver and the expert of you and your family.

Once you get on top of the day to day stuff, you’ll have more headspace to dig deeper into your goals, dreams and future plans. You’ll get to know yourself better and understand what brings out your best version of you.

So, when’s that first date with yourself going to be?

In the comments below share your take-aways from this post. When are you going to schedule it in that first hot date with yourself?

To receive the Project Me Life Wheel®pop your name and email into the box below. (I’ll never share your details with anyone.) 

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The results of your wheel will give you a starting point for what steps to take next.

I’m passionate about helping you find a happier balance. Take this free gift – and let me know how it works for you.

Choose Your Word Of The Year

Choose Your Word Of The Year
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If you could choose one word to sum up what you’d like out of your year ahead, what would it be?

Maybe it’s a word that describes how you want to feel? Or something you wish to accomplish?

I’ve been choosing an annual theme word for the past few years. I usually just go with my gut instinct – whatever seems to be calling me.

Then I write it down and hang it somewhere visible, as a steady reminder. I also write it in my journal and put it on a sticky note next to my computer. I’ve sometimes made a bookmark featuring my word of the year which I transfer across to whatever I’m reading each month.

And you know what? I really think it makes a difference! Here are some examples.[more]

Johnny Depp, Beyonce and a Baby: Building A Dream Life With Goal Setting

Johnny Depp, Beyonce and a Baby: Building A Dream Life With Goal Setting
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When my cousin and I were teenagers, we were hanging out at my grandparents farm in Minnesota, dreaming about how great our future lives were going to be.

My big plan involved living in California with an ocean view, driving a convertible and working in Hollywood.

I’d never even been on an airplane in my life, much less visited California…

He was going to start a business, be his own boss, and design and build his dream house with his own two hands.

Our uncle overheard us from the other room and came in with a suggestion. Why didn’t we write our dream predictions down so we could see later if they turned out? He then taped our predictions to the back of the picture hanging above the kitchen table where we were sitting.

Fast forward several years. I’m in my early 20’s and I’ve just arrived home from work. Sorting through a pile of mail, I find a letter from my grandmother in Minnesota.

She writes to tell me that while the farmhouse kitchen was being repainted, they discovered the notes my cousin and I had written.

I looked up from her letter and gazed out my living room window. An enormous orange sunset was dipping into the Pacific Ocean.

I’d just driven home from work in my Volkswagen Golf convertible. My job? Working as Johnny Depp’s press assistant in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, my cousin had started his own successful heating and refrigeration business and had just designed and built his dream house.

This woke me up to the amazing power of having a dream and writing it down like it’s really gonna happen! 

The second pivotal moment in my goal setting journey came along soon after that.

Johnny Depp decided to leave the TV show that had turned him into a teen heartthrob sensation. I thought he was nuts [more]

Create a Family Memory Jar

Create a Family Memory Jar
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Happy New Year to you!

I love the start of a fresh new year. The wide open possibilities that lie in the months ahead, a chance to shake things up, try a fresh approach. Out with the old, in with the new!

It’s also time to empty out our family memory jar and start over again.

Last January my family started with an empty container. Throughout the year we filled it with notes about all of the good things that happened over the months.

I’ve probably added twice as many slips of paper into the jar as anyone else, but the kids have been pretty good about writing notes after we’ve returned home from a trip or a particularly fun day out and I’ve reminded them to include any awards received at school or bringing home a great report card.

The plan was for us all to gather around the jar and read all of the notes inside on December 31st.

We were away over New Year’s (creating some great final memories of the year!) so we postponed the opening of the jar until we got back and could light a fire, serve up some drinks and make a nice little occasion out of it.

We took turns drawing out a note and reading each one out loud.

It was fun to remember all of the good stuff that’s happened over the past 12 months. We applauded any merits, laughed at some of the funny occasions and were pleasantly surprised when we read out three slips of paper written by friends and extended family members who’d slipped in memories about their stay with us. [more]


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