What Day Is It?

Forget Monday-itis, we have seemingly evolved into “days-itis”, of who-knows-what Thursday of the week, or month it is. 

Yes, we will dub what we will call the “Covid-19 Effect” which has taken hold of our lives. Between the masks and social distancing, it has become a fight to even remember life before the Pandemic, let alone what day it is. 

And like to many, you are probably finding yourself immersed in the struggle of staying focused. This “temporary” work-from-home experiment that began with high hopes of seamlessly regulating both your employment responsibilities and your downtime ambitions has blurred lines. By being at home you are simply continually distracted and disrupted by everything.

You are not alone.

The logistics of finding a silent, and comfortable space, for the perfect focus and carving chunks of time out to concentrate solely on your work, is next to impossible. 

We want to provide reassurance that the idea of working productively is a specifically learned art of juggling, as opposed to a formulated scientific theory, that runs like a tight ship.

We’re here to support that.

We know that sometimes, productivity feels like it is going out the window. The truth is, the “norm” of what we knew has evaporated. Yes, we are experiencing what some may call the “personal disconnect.” However, all is not lost.

Together, let’s look at multiple ways to maintain focus and lessen those remote-working distractions, and hopefully, this will help you feel like you have some direction and peace of mind.

You Can’t Control Everything

Carpe diem, live and let live, or whatever philosophy it is that you choose. While clichés might appear to be extracted directly from a self-help book – it applies directly to effective time management skills just as much releasing the emotional baggage that we hold within.

It’s common sense, the more you try to gain control over situations that are completely out of your grasp of control, the more stress and pressure you will feel.

Our minds will naturally seek out distractions, rather than address the root of these feelings. Hours later you find yourself wondering how you ended up so off task for what accumulates into hours.

Goals are not achieved like this. iStratus, recommends setting yourself personal deadlines. Place reminders and on your calendar and stick with it step by step. By letting go of external factors you can’t control, you will open up to a feeling of freedom.

Schedules Matter 

Being free means prioritizing. Clearly attributing chunks of time for tasks is one easy way to limit distractions. 

If you break up your day into defined blocks of time, One, two, or 3 hour increments, you’re less likely to get distracted.

Balance is everything; so create a mix of both work and social interactions to break the monotony and potential distraction. Perhaps check your emails or take 5 to call Mom.

Brain Gym

Rev up your internal engine, before getting started on your to-do list.

Have that cup of coffee, read a few articles from your favorite magazine, or send a few texts, to allow your brain to warm up a bit before “hitting the hard yards.” This way, you will feel more motivated to start your tasks and less tempted by distractions.

Set Boundaries

Do external forces—often dictate your schedule? 

Develop strict boundaries for yourself when working from home, guard time when you’re “on the clock.”

Consider the times when you are usually most productive. Save intense work periods for when you tend to feel at your best. Don’t forget to mark off your objectives from your iStratus checklist as you achieve them too.

Triggers?

Ok, we all have weaknesses and are aware of things that cause us stress.

Time wasting is a big one. The guilt associated with that catches up. Thus, a purposeful amount of space to breathe will prevent you from falling down a rabbit hole of Facebook pointlessness instead.

Multitasking Zone

As mentioned earlier, there are a thousand and one distractions, in the four walls of the home – a load of dishes from the dishwasher to the foghorn of Netflix calling, or that buzz of our devices with exciting notifications. 

We’re in for a ride of distractions. People who commonly multitask are not, as assumed, short on attention spans. It is more about prioritizing. Make sure you pinpoint the important tasks and try to address them before the day is over. And breathe.

Body Talk 

We all hit walls. When your brain has reached its limit and your body feels much less energetic, listen. Know when you’re no longer able to focus. Stop. Pay attention. Wind down. Your body needs time to reset. Take the time to decompress to be more productive long term

Remember, stay focused; you’re not alone with the “days-itis.”

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Technology in Action: How It Improves Workplace Communication

Workplace Communication is vastly different than it was years ago – let alone, decades. The days of faxes and paper memos are long over. Today, technologically connected office spaces are central to how we function.

There’s almost always constant feedback and availability, and as such office communication technology has been both applauded and frowned upon. Either way, you perceive it, when used correctly, it’s an essential part of effective communication within the workplace.

We hope you’ll read on as iStratus explores how it brings you into a technological world and improves communication today, we certainly hope it is something iStratus will continue to evolve for the future.

Communication Technology: The Face of Change

In days gone by, when employees departed the office, they were no longer connected to the business for a certain period of time. Nowadays, however, thanks to communication technology our location is irrelevant and connectivity have fundamentally changed on demand.

Like all modern-day technology, iStratus aims to improve communication, regardless of the distance between employers, employees, or workplaces.

Communication across distances, for the immediate formulation of new ideas, document editing, and file-sharing abilities, effectively allows businesses to utilize new digital solutions in the workplace. The opportunities provided by technology are endless, with the rise of instant messaging and video conferencing; we can “drop” files for instantaneous delivery and collaboration.

Furthermore, flexibility is spawned by this connectivity as people now work from home. 

These changes have no doubt had an impact on how communication at work functions, for better or worse, iStratus aims to increase effective workplace communication, with ease.

Connecting Employees Globally

Useful communication is paramount to the success of organizations. No matter how workplace communication is executed, there is a key element to effective communication regardless of the medium. 

With iStratus the clarity of the content is everything. We provide an organizational tool for efficiency, rather than wasting time communicating unnecessary information.

Connecting people regardless of the location immediately also decreases the chances of miscommunication that could become costly in terms of money and time. 

Keeping Conversations = Clear Team Objectives

Chat logs, Checklists, or To Do’s that can be referenced at later dates provide meaningful documentation to operational teams. With notes from meetings, teams can scroll up to have direct access to the content addressed to meet objectives within the workplace, from perhaps days before.

The key is: 

  • Segmenting information into categories so that conversations or content doesn’t become buried. 
  • Maintaining distinct guidelines for discussion when using these tools.

Managing Projects, Communicating with Simplicity 

Depending on how you prefer to utilize iStratus, it can become a central hub of project activity that everyone can reference from wherever they may be. 

iStratus ensures it easier than ever to:

  • Track projects.
  • Overview deadlines or what is or coming up on the agenda in the future.
  • Document any important comments and identified issues, effortlessly accessible in one place. 

iStratus is a functional tool to meet the demands of your company or job requirements. 

Effective communication is central. Any project will feel inefficient if the process and flow of objectives are not established and communicated clearly and simply with your team.

Communication technology like ours also improves workplace productivity by simplifying time-consuming tasks. For example, using iStratus for document management/storage replaces the need for manual file retrieval, data entry, or filing.

The key to productivity is to know when and how technology should be used and when.

Bottom line: Having immediate access to mass amounts of data in the cloud on-demand means we can be more productive, than ever before as a functioning society for the human race.

“Time Track” – Stay Organized

 

For business management, the seamlessness of online productivity, time tracking, and collaboration options available are invaluable. 

iStratus allows organizations to communicate progress, projects, and the time allotted for task completion. 

If employees are not on track, it becomes immediately apparent. Thus, the opportunity arises for a timely solution-based approach – and there will be no more surprises following project completion, as every piece along the way has already been collected, recorded, and addressed with efficiency and collaboration.

“Business success requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.”
~ David Rockefeller

We feel that our technological innovations have the ability to improve your business’ overall to execute, pivot, and scale, projects, objectives including long-term goals be they big or small. 

Our main goal of quality assurance is that we will keep growing our approach towards technology, to be increasingly efficient and innovative for what the future holds. 

And with your investment into combining “technological” theory with actual practice, you’ll be 100% ready to tackle the communication evolution head-on.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Juggle Everything Well with iStratus

In today’s world, parents are juggling a myriad of activities, responsibilities, work commitments, and family affairs more than ever before.

Life is continually becoming busier, and one thing that will make all the difference between having a relaxed and peaceful household rather than a chaotic and overwhelming one is, our favorite iStratus feature: Organization.

If you’d like to incorporate a bit more order into your family environment, iStratus has ways in which you can become an organized parent whilst simultaneously increasing harmony at home.

Everyday Life 

Let’s face it; most of us spend large chunks of our days in the car—driving back and forth to work and shuttling kids to their activities. 

Often it’s difficult to keep track. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your “To-Do List” accessible and ‘on the go whenever you leave the house. Given its portability on your device, iStratus is simply perfect for that.

You’re unlikely to forget a task or project to tackle while on the move, or waiting in line, which saves you time in the long run – and when home there’s more time for family. 

The Weekly Menu

How often do you shop for your groceries?

Are you constantly roving in the supermarket pretty much daily simply because you’ve overlooked some ingredients in that recipe or have no clue what you’re serving for dinner? 

The biggest sanity saver for any family is meal planning. It does not have to be complicated or fanciful. It can still be convenient and healthy.

Most families enjoy staple meals upon the table such as spaghetti meatballs (which you can incorporate veggies, like grated zucchinis and carrots into) roasted chicken and rice, or more relaxed foods like Tacos Tuesdays.

iStratus recommends:

  • Creating a list of about 10 or 12 meals that your family enjoys regularly and incorporate those into your weekly menu.
  • Shop with your dinnertime plan handy so that you don’t overlook any key ingredients on the list.
  • Leave nights open for leftovers, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or take out.
  • Try not to stress over “What’s for dinner?” every night

This way, there’s less stress and you will have some extra energy to spend focused on your projects, which will be of additional benefit to your family.

Resourcefully Organize a “Cheat Sheet”

As you probably well know by now, we at iStratus believe that having a calendar system is a must to keep your family organized, it’s not new news. 

However, in addition to that idea, you can create some “cheat sheets” which can be shared electronically. Information is right there in a few taps.

By all means, transition these into concrete form to be laminated and kept on the fridge or inside the kitchen cabinets, for quick access.

Include emergency numbers for police/fire and any of the following essential info:

  • Work numbers for Mom and Dad, 
  • The pediatricians, neighbors, extended family, and friends nearby 
  • Contact details for anyone who is back up in an emergency. 
  • Notes regarding over-the-counter medication dosages that are required for family members, particularly the younger ones, who have any allergies.
  • Record and safely store social security numbers on the cheat sheet, which is always required for one form or another.

Create a separate memo in iStratus, which can be shared with sitters, grandparents, older children, and so forth, 

  • Record full names
  • Age, weights, and dates of birth of your kids’.
  • Details which doctors and emergency personnel frequently request, on a need-to-know basis).
  • Document important relevant notes following each consultation/check-up – and update them regularly.

That Morning Rush

Besides meal planning, the second-best organizational habit is to checklist what helps you and your kids prepare for school the night before, like: 

  • School lunches 
  • Reminders of the outfits, and extra things needed, such as gym clothes or after-school practice equipment.
  • Library bags, reading folders, anything else needed to head out the door without feeling like headless chooks aka chickens.

Learning to Say “No”

This idea is something we’re mentioned in our previous article: “When Working and Caregiving Are Pulling You Apart” [hyperlink].

One of the main reasons people become disorganized and stressed out more than necessary is because of the difficulty in saying one word: NO. 

You name it, from over-volunteering time to a myriad of duties, too many people over-commit. 

Use iStratus to prioritize your social obligations and civic duties clearly towards multiple play-dates and birthday parties for the kids.

“This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life… the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act and in acting, to live.”
~ General Omar Bradley

Be honest with yourself in what value these things truly hold you and your family. Eliminate the tasks you can and you’ll free up time, be less overwhelmed, and feel more organized.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Multitasking Mania 

It’s crazy how life takes hold of us – really, truly – it is. Today, it has become commonplace to feel the need to reach a certain level of “multitasking mania” of whatever, to be “successful” or productive. 

Let’s rephrase, we have gotten into the mentality that we have to be achieving 15 things at once for the day to be truly made worthwhile. 

Why do so many of us still insist on undertaking multiple things at once as a way of increasing our productivity? 

Technology was supposedly invented to make our lives easier, not motivate us to simultaneously communicate, engage and work across six different platforms or technologies. Yet, that’s exactly what’s happened.

There are numerous studies, which have explored the effects of how multitasking fundamentally increases the stress and anxiety within our daily lives, which then of course, negatively impacts our mood, motivation, and productivity.

To this end, it all becomes counterproductive! 

The crux: iStratus is here to help reduce your need to multitask. Prioritizing is always key to avoiding the mind boggle. In this article, we’re going to address 5 worthy reasons why you should begin switching your multitasking habits more towards “solo-tasking” instead.

  1. Multi Tasks = Multi Mistakes

Logically, when undertaking several things at once, your mind is divided between them all, so it’s a typical knock-on effect that errors will multiply. According to research in the UK, multitasking makes filtering out irrelevant information difficult. In the end, there will undoubtedly be some cross-firing and mental mix-ups between tasks.

Can we afford these mistakes? Likely not. Thus, each task should have full attention, solo.

  1. Your Brain is in Overload Mode

By juggling multiple objectives at once, your mind simply isn’t fully focused on any given task. Have you ever been introduced to someone new and then instantly forgotten what their name was? 

– Hands up folks.

This happens because our mind is distracted by something else and doesn’t retain that new piece of information provided.

This inability to concentrate can indeed impact your professional life but there are implications upon the personal aspects as well. When we’re not living in the present, we are essentially only half-available.

  1. Creativity is Stifled

You may recall, we’ve mentioned in previous iStratus articles focussing on too many tasks at once, your working memory is left conjuring up ideas and concepts. 

When that overload occurs we stop accessing other areas of our frontal lobe that are there to be used for critical thinking and creativity.

  1. Multitasking is a Waste of Time

In an attempt to complete small, seemingly insignificant tasks while trying to close out a larger one, the mind has to reset itself each time it shifts from task to task.

Therefore we are unable to maintain what’s known as our “flow states”. You have probably experienced this before. For example:

While reading an email working from home, the phone rings, kids require feeding or the dog needs a wee walk that cannot wait. 

An hour and a half an hour later, you find yourself back at your laptop having to re-read that email, surprised by how much you’ve already forgotten due to the interruption. 

Increasing that feeling of anxiety, which habitually plagues people who regularly have to divide their attention multiple ways.

Professionally, maintaining flow states undeniably increases productivity!

  1. Are You Living?

The truth is: Connecting with your immediate surroundings or interacting fully with other human beings is what gives us can that sense of deep fulfillment.

By considering the reasons listed above it’s quite easy to see why the idea of effective multitasking is a bit of a myth.

“Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing…what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.”
~ Oprah Winfrey

As humans, we want to accomplish things that matter. 

So, what do you do from here? iStratus recommends these methods to strengthen productivity and cut back your stress levels:

  • Keep your work routine structured as best you can throughout the day. For instance: Undertake those more creative tasks in the morning, then take a short coffee or tea break, before proceeding to address each task you need to complete. (Separately of course)!
  • Share some of your weekly goals and accomplishments with family and friends. When you publicly commit to achieving certain priorities it often motivates you to finalize things on your To-Do List. Acknowledging achievements helps too.
  • Pause checking your emails every hour or three. Avoid “running” to answer your emails immediately. Sometimes it’s necessary to “train” people (yourself included) not to expect immediate responses. You need time and space to focus on the things that require addressing in the now!

Are you still convinced multitasking is productive? We’re not so sure it is. Why not try letting iStratus become your one stop-app for avoiding “multitasking mania”?

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Skills for Successful Leadership

Time management, scheduling, prioritizing those to-do and DON’T lists, for project supervision, are all critical elements to organizational skills that require consistent communication, multi-tasking, flexibility and adaptability. 

Failing to organize effectively may lead to chaos or, at least, an increase in your stress levels. 

Yes, strong organizational skills are central to being an intelligent and inspirational leader.

Truthfully, it will hardly be inspiring if they see you as disorganized and losing the plot due to it.

So, what are the best organizational skills for successful leadership and how can you best develop them using iStratus? 

In this article, we’ll explore some major organizational elements that every leader needs to know to create a calm environment for productivity in their professional lives and hopefully, reduced stress.

Are you ready? If you’re disorganized, applying these skills using iStratus will change your life! 

Project Management

Are you in control of everything you need to focus on to effectively undertake your job? 

Is the correct information always at your fingertips? 

Do you have a clear plan of action every day?

Or does your desk appear to be a bombsite while you’re drowning in emails?

That’s a lot of questions right? 

These are the things you need to be asking yourself regularly if you’re always seemingly in danger of missing a deadline, in a rush and if quite frankly – it’s like winning the lottery having clean undergarments, let alone, clothes pressed for work in the morning!

Bottom line: Your ability to organize yourself not only has a critical impact on your professional success but there’s a knock-on effect upon your team members too.

As a leader, you’ll likely manage projects while simultaneously managing your team. You don’t need to be a ‘Manager’ to handle tasks, however, you do require certain skills to ensure organizational success. 

You can effectively use iStratus to manage timelines and deadlines on the in-built calendar for external clients and internal responsibilities within the workplace. 

iStratus technology allows you to share files and schedules, ensuring clear communication, whether it be meeting in person, setting those reminders for sending emails, or setting Zoom calls and instant messaging when preferred. 

Negotiation and risk management are also valued skills. Record risks, predict possible issues that may arise, and have solutions at hand in your iStratus notes file, in case a hitch does arise.

Multi-Tasking At its Best

Most of us multitask constantly without a second thought, be it: writing an email and answering questions, while checking a text and watching TV or listening to music, and so forth.

The ability to juggle multiple tasks and complete all of them efficiently and effectively in the workplace is key to successful leadership.

Quality Communication

While managing projects, you’ll be responsible for communicating with others who are directly involved in the project either internally or externally, which is where consistent and clear communication has an impact. If messages are misunderstood, tasks can become unorganized, and assignments can get messy.

The ease of sharing features in iStratus means that everyone is on the same page! Phew!

And employees should feel comfortable discussing trials and victories, so they know exactly what works and what requires improvement for the overall success of the corporation. 

Providing an “open-door policy” will minimize intimidation and contribute to positive workplace culture. They’re more likely to accept feedback and constructive criticism when they’re able to discuss situations with you. This is essential for anyone’s happiness, which of course, likely keeps the organization, organized!

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.”
~ William Arthur Wood

4 Visible Habits of Organized People

The more you can live and work in an organized way – the faster you’ll change your organizational habits for the better. 

iStratus suggests, four everyday strategies worth considering:

  1. Use our calendar. If you record things across various applications, it becomes inevitably difficult to effectively coordinate everything. Instead, if you record it all digitally, you’ll find that the technology can pull everything together for you.
  2. Schedule smaller tasks. If a task requires action beforehand (like grabbing coffees for the staff meeting), schedule those into your agenda also. Missing what might appear as a minor thing can have larger knock-on effects upon everything else.
  3. Celebrate the small wins. If you “check off” multiple things on your To-Do List, take a break. Have a cup of coffee, or allow yourself some free time to check your favorite foodie blog.
  4. Place value on your time. Having a chaotic home life will bring its own set of issues. Whether prioritizing your professional tasks for the week or coordinating family commitments, consider how to make every second count. 
Live life and roll well with iStratus.

When Working and Caregiving are Pulling You Apart

Sometimes, it’s hard to take the weight of everything that occurs simultaneously in our lives. 

Are you a caregiver? Perhaps you have a young child or a family member who has a disability or long-term illness that requires significant support.

If you’re someone’s caregiver, you know how tough it can be to balance the never-ending responsibilities amongst your work demands. 

You want to be at your best with both roles, but inevitably there will be days when they feel mutually exclusive. The upside is, there are systems you can implement to manage the demands upon your time.

In this article, we’ll address some of the challenges faced by caregivers, and reflect on how iStratus can help you balance your responsibilities at both work and home.

An Increasing Trend

In addition to the increasing demands of today’s world, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that a myriad of people have been thrown into directly providing full-time care for a relative for the first time. 

As schools have morphed into a hybrid process of instruction, support services for aged care and vulnerable people are at maximum stretch, and there has been minimal time to adapt.

Knock on Effects: Work and Productivity

Caregiving responsibilities can also have a significant impact on your career. At times, you may feel as though you’re being pulled in two different directions. Perhaps you have to take longer breaks during the day to care for a parent, or leave work early more often because of your other responsibilities? Inevitably, this makes you feel less productive at work.

iStratus is here to help you manage your work and home responsibilities when you’re feeling stretched/“pulled apart.”

  1. Get Organized

As a caregiver, it’s not rocket science: You have a bunch of responsibilities. Not only do you have to keep abreast of your work tasks and priorities, but you also have to invest time and energy in juggling the needs of your loved one. Thus, the ability to effectively organize your day is so significant. 

One simple way to combat this is to use iStratus as a notebook, a sort of “catch-all” for your thoughts, notes, and tasks. That way all, important information is in one place and invaluable mental energy isn’t strained trying to remember everything.

iStratus aims to help you where you feel the most disorganized:

Are you often late for appointments? 

Do you often delay meal preparation because you’re busy trying to finish off work? 

Is your inbox a mess?

Start every day with iStratus using: 

  • A new, dated page
  • A new To-Do List or Action Plan
  • Prioritizing responsibilities, so that you avoid lost time on non-essential tasks.

By taking those small steps daily focused on areas that cause the most stress, we’re sure you’ll feel a change.

  1. How’s That Contingency Plan?

It’s essential to have a contingency plan, including a plan C for your contingency plan, in case of an emergency! As life happens, even the top mapped-out plans can go awry.

In iStratus:

  • Create a list of the most likely emergencies that could throw your schedule off course.
  • Establish a contingency plan for each one. 
  • Generate a contact list of family members, friends or colleagues, willing to help out if an unexpected incident occurs.

Find solutions before an emergency happens, so if something unexpected does arise, you will be armed with a plan of attack.

  1. Seek Support, Delegate

Another mistake we make while trying to juggle work with caregiving is thinking that we have to do everything ourselves. 

It is okay to ask for help. Perhaps a friend or your spouse can cover your caregiving duties one day a week, while you take a break.

Using iStratus, easily share: 

  • Household Duty Lists
  • Shopping Lists
  • Meal Plans 

Seeking support isn’t easy at first, but often people genuinely want to be there and are waiting to be told exactly how they can step up and help.

Delegate.

  1. Don’t Forget About Yourself

Your time is your most precious commodity and habitually, it’s what’s in short supply. Don’t be tempted to skimp on “me” time.

Taking time for yourself will help you to manage stress and ensure that you have the physical and mental energy to function.

Schedule some personal time within iStratus to call a friend or read your favorite book. 

“Unless you fill yourself up first, you have nothing to give to anybody.”

~ Robin Sharma

Caregivers become accustomed to putting the needs of others before their own, that their ambitions are on hold. 

Set long-term, personal goals – both for work and the aspirations in your wider life. This will help you stay motivated and moving forward towards the future.

Be honest with your employer, family, and friends, seek support when needed, and apply organizational tools like iStratus, to lighten your load and make managing everything possible.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Cook Up A Storm: Meal Planning

Food/Meal Prep is kind of a funny thing. People either love or hate being in the kitchen. When culinary adventures are in your blood they just are, however, when they’re not – “cooking up a storm” just isn’t fun. 

Between job commitments and family schedules, the working weeks are crazy! One of the last things most people want to do is plan a dinner table full of fancy, stylish foodie things from scratch.

Anyhow, the point being made here is that while leisurely cooking might not be your thing, you still need to eat and eat well. You don’t have to go all out, to provide meals that your and your family will love. 

Meal Planning Made Easy

Believe it or not, iStratus is here to help you relieve some of that chaos felt in the kitchen when you prefer to avoid it like the plague.

What’s the secret? Meal planning. (Ok, so that probably sounds tedious, but it doesn’t have to be).

Taking 5 (or 15) minutes at the beginning of the week to plan out meals is a MASSIVE, timesaver. It always helps reduce the time and energy involved in “dreading” meal prep.

Smart Meal Planning

This isn’t new news… how many of us (*raises a hand, slaps own forehead*) are guilty of wishing we were more efficient meal planners without actually having to plan any meals?

The truth is it only takes five minutes to sit down and type out a recipe list for the week. Using iStratus you can easily start by adding any recipes you know you and the family love to a checklist.

Next, fill in the remaining slots for the week with quick and easy recipes, that you often have staple ingredients stored in the pantry for.

ORGANIZE Those FAVORITE Recipes

Meal planning happens much quicker when using an organized recipe catalog. You’ve probably already guessed by now that iStratus loves to organize, organize and organize.

Easily create Food File Categories for:

  • Recipes you want to try.
  • Your “Quick and Easy” meals.
  •  Recipes you have tried and loved including a note with links or references (unless those tried and true favorites are memorized). 

When planning, pull up your checklist and choose a few things that stick out.

Shop All At Once

This is the toughest part of meal planning – but it saves time (and money!) in the long term. You might even find it reduces food waste too.

  • Plan your weekly meals, noting your grocery list at the same time. Here’s a secret we use.  
  • Use iStratus to checklist your shopping against your pantry items, and do one shopping trip or better yet use a service like Instacart or Amazon Prime to have your groceries delivered

Multiple visits tend to deviate into unneeded things, so checking and sticking to your list curbs temptation!

Not EVERYTHING has to be Prepared From Scratch 

One of the best things about iStratus is that information is stored. You don’t have to keep doing things on repeat or making food from scratch either. WHAT?! How does food prep help your organizational skills? 

If you have a grocery store like Wegmans or Whole Foods (love them both)! You can save additional time following your meal plan by using iStratus to:

  • Establish a shopping list, linking via copy, ingredients from recipes into notes/a checklist. And –
  • If you know the supermarket layout well, pop down the aisle number for the ingredients on your list, it’s a bonus timesaver.

Side note: There is no shame in pre-chopped fresh ingredients or frozen fruits and veggies folks; you’re allowed to cut some corners. (Especially if it means there’s no microwaved Spaghetti-O’s every week).

Join a Foodie Mailing List and Daily Dropbox Meal Ideas

When the repetition starts to get boring it’s time to incorporate new sources of inspiration. Sign up for email updates from chefs and food bloggers. That way, tasty, interesting food ideas are right there on your phone as you’re drinking your morning coffee!

Any recipes that inspire you – copy them directly into your “Daily Dropbox” or your “Recipes to Try” folder. And boom! Meal plans are a one-stop-shop!

Throughout the Week

Using the Slow Cooker on Sundays can be a busy Mom’s friend. A few favorite Slow Cooker recipes are Chicken Cacciatore and Vegetable Curry. Be it a Monday or Wednesday it doesn’t matter, reheat and serve to save time. Favorites stick, simply switch side dishes to avoid boredom.

List Swap-able Staples

9/10 times a mysterious thing happens when you plan in fine detail: There’s change! 

We can have the best intentions, the checklists, and the best-stocked fridge on the planet, but sometimes, you just want pizza to arrive. IT’S ALL GOOD.

Build a “cheat day” into your weekly meal plan – use it whenever necessary, there are no rules.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
~ Thomas A. Edison

 

Just:  Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Time Management For Moms

What do you do when motherhood is your greatest gift, but it eats into minutes of your day so there’s no room for much else?

Time Management For Moms

As a working Mom, “life’s busy”, is an understatement. Chances are, the life you had pre-kids leaves the very definition of “busy” in its wake. Spare time is now both elusive and valuable.

As mentioned above, motherhood is one of the greatest gifts a woman will ever experience, however along with it comes the immense pressure of holding up “the fort” and everyone in it. In most cases, Moms, have their lives choreographed right down to the last minute, just to fit everything in.  But, for a minute or 10, what about upholding Mom herself?

No bones about it, it’s not selfish for Moms to consider their well-being for a moment. The truth is, even the busiest Moms can create some space for breathing room aside from even the craziest day on the planet. 

Fifteen Minutes Of Peace

Whether for work, for others or to care for themselves (the latter is best), a bunch can be achieved in those “sacred minutes.”— For working Moms, a 15-minute window can have an hour’s worth of potential to “chill”.

Our tips below, aren’t exactly anything new for “finding time”, however, we do hope working Moms find some useful ways of doing more with iStratus to take 5 precious minutes, with less time available. We honestly think – Moms Rule!

Set Boundaries with Work Hours

Life commitments and work responsibilities will fluctuate, so it’s important to verify what expectations there are. If your boss typically calls or emails after hours, you need to decide whether this is suitable and what your boundaries are. Sticking to your calendared timeslots makes your work schedule clear. It’s ok to set weekends exclusively for the family if you’re able to.

Set Realistic Daily Goals

A To-Do List is useless if it’s unattainable. Use iStratus to record achievable tasks only.

What’s the benefit of overwhelming yourself? Set daily goals that are realistic enough to finish. Don’t forget, nothing is set in concrete, you can “roll-over” tasks, and/or if you have time to, you can always address more than was planned.

Avoid Multitasking 

Focusing on the task at hand increases performance. When you’re at work, try not to worry about your son or daughter’s calculus homework, or forwarding your spouse, the weekly shopping list from iStratus for Saturday. Address that on Saturday.

Perfection Doesn’t Exist

Therefore it’s unachievable. Instead of holding on to intangible ideals (aka being the “perfect” Mom), use iStratus to establish practical goals for yourself. Schedule that yoga session you’ve been delaying today.

Be Present

Speaking of yoga: Mindfulness and practices such as meditation improve focus, which drives productivity. Block time in iStratus to relax and avoid burnout at both home and work. Embrace the method that speaks to you and zone in.

Set Time For Sleep

If nothing else, prioritize your sleep so that you can thrive, not bomb dive. Schedule sleep like you would any other activity and commit to a reasonable bedtime (for you and the kids too. It’s worth it for everyone). That way, the next day is functional. Ultimately time is wasted with sleep deprivation.

Take Hiatuses From Cyberspace

Surfing the net can be a major time killer for both parents and children. A “little” break can evolve into hours, there’s no way of getting back. We recommend, setting reminders in iStratus to establish limits on family screen time and then make it a habit to unplug once that limit is reached.

The Power of “No.”

Saying no can feel intimidating, however, it’s a skill that frees up time on your agenda you wouldn’t otherwise have. Furthermore, enforcing your limits teaches your kids the value of clear boundaries and priorities too.

Let It Go – And There’s That Word Again: “Delegate”

Relinquishing control and learning to let someone else “handle it” is tough, but it is also necessary to allow other people to pitch in and pull their weight. Delegating tasks is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s important to have support from your network.

“Let it go” and consent to other people in your life managing their responsibilities. This includes children, spouses, and colleagues.

“The time to relax is – when you don’t have time for it.”
~ Sidney J. Harris

With effective organizing and planning in iStratus, you can “get it done” in time as a mom — and still have those precious moments of freedom left over. Just think smart (you know how to) and implement a few rules into your daily routine. 

Once you do, you’ll discover there’s always room for something new, exciting, and compassionate towards yourself. You’ve more than earned it and you deserve it. Moms rule!

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Don’t Ghost it, “Post-IT”!

Who knew a little yellow square could be SO resourceful?

Oh what an invaluable joy those little ‘sticky notes’ are for day planner organization and productivity! 

So of course, we couldn’t resist diversifying their use to suit the electronic form, which we hope you’ll enjoy, just as much as the original. 

Post-It (Note) in the “Daily-WS” Tab – And boom, your annotations, observations, and jotted thoughts are always there when you need them most. One of the best features of iStratus Pro is that you also have the option to add your own signature, date, and/or converting Post-Its to PDF. 

Hallelujah! No more forgetting or “Ghosting” out little yellow squares. Those essential reminders or motivators are set and can be effortlessly exported or forwarded at the drop of a hat. Akin to a handy little pocket, you can simply drop biz into them wherever you go. 

Why The “Sticky Note” Idea Works 

We’ve mentioned it before; distractions are a major inhibitor of our ability to organize ourselves in our modern, notification-obsessed working world. The iStratus “Sticky Note” idea is your workspace best friend created to help you work faster and remain attentive towards the task at hand. 

You may have once been bestowed the “World’s Best Multi-Tasker” Award in your home or office, however, in life’s experience, no one is truly flawless at multi-tasking. 

When you think about it, this concept is really not an actual thing. What we’re really doing is constantly switching our minds from one task to the next. Every time you take a coffee break or tidy the kitchen (which you can’t stand looking at any longer because the kids left it like a bombsite) you’re forcing your brain to change gears.

Your brain cognitively resets this new information – and hello there, sluggish, brain drain that requires a reboot of its operating system.

Multiple University studies have concluded that you’re dropping the ball on at least 40 percent of your productivity by rapidly interchanging tasks. 

Following distractions, it requires approximately 23 minutes to recoup the same level of in-depth concentration you had prior to dealing with that chocolate milk explosion in the kitchen. 

In a world where productivity software reigns supreme, we realize, our attempt to digitize the sticky note, is a hard sell against the more popular original paper square. 

Going From “Blah” To “How Did I Ever Survive Without This?!”

It’s not news, that what is deemed ‘normal’ now was initially difficult to adapt to, simply because “we’ve always done it this other way.” This something we say far too often. Electronic sticky notes are a classic example. It’s really not so different from the initial Post-It Note design idea, so “why not just stick with the paper ones?” (No pun intended). 

We’re here to say, with some adjustment the process, will eventually go from “Blah” to “Wow. How did I EVER survive with this tool before now?!” Give it a shot – change is good from 1977.

They Do What? 

Just think: When you’ve plastered a wall or whiteboard with sticky notes for productivity and development, the only way to record detail is with a photograph, which often goes nowhere in the abyss of your phone. iStratus already has your sticky notes covered:

  • In an online environment that automatically recorded and ready for the next phase of any project. No need for a picture or time-consuming transcribing.
  • Upon unlimited walls for jogging your memory. Electronic sticky notes remain exactly where you left them and you are able to access your spatial memory every time you open the App.
  • With a direct, reportable commenting functions available. You can create Sticky Notes to record a discussion, or meeting minutes, saving time and energy. 
  • Saving trees! This is one of the best parts. The impact we have on the environment is very real. It’s important to question how much paper is truly required. A sticky note generally has a lifespan of a couple of hours, maybe four tops. Is all that paper really essential?

So while you may be stuck in the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset, sometimes all it takes is seeing the advantage of evolution with a little less hesitation.

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; [followed by] transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”

~ Napoleon Hill

Are You Ready To Stick To It?  

The beauty of electronic sticky notes is their ease of use, and just like the original – their versatility enables them to cater to any system, which is why they are still a highly favored element for productivity. It’s not about being a fancy software tool, but a highly effective, useable one. 

Hopefully, things will stick if you let them.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Time Management For Teens

If you have been at loggerheads with your teen’s mood and coinciding words like: “Just stop nagging Me!” “You don’t understand”! Or “Mom! We’re going to be late! We need to go!” You’ve no doubt witnessed your teen unravel under the stress of “time management and anxiety” in action.

Our world these days is over-stimulating, and finalizing assignments involves coordination between the rational processes and emotional needs that play on our minds. For the teenager’s brain, time management is even more difficult. Executive functioning which trains the brain to plan, organize, and execute tasks in a timely manner is neurological activity, intertwined and complicated with an emotional response — Hi there, anxiety! 

When it comes to juggling everything, it’s rough. If you have conflicts with your teen concerning time – before leaping in to rescue them from overwhelming feelings, psychological studies recommend, validating their underlying anxieties. 

More often than not, the reasons for time challenges are associated with tackling emotions. Research shows that identifying feelings and implementing easily accessible time management strategies helps teens’ deal with worries. 

Addressing Time Management with iStratus

We all exhibit an inner procrastinator at times. We can easily fall into mastering the art of dreading something or avoiding tasks until it becomes too much to bear. If your teen evades things, they probably want to avoid failure.

While they’re fully aware of their avoidance, they may not realize its intrinsic protection from painful feelings. The mere thought of study the night before an exam, or not being seated before the bell rings brings anxiety.

Using iStratus as an Academic Planner each day can help your teen visualize what’s ahead so they can plan and manage what they’re required to do; and when they will have the time to do it. In other words, they see the whole picture; your teen has their day mapped out.

You can easily create a list of timeslots in iStratus with the Checklist feature, so that daily scheduling is clear for “ticking off.” For example: 

🗹   Timetable: Wednesday, 5/5/21

  •    Morning Homeroom @ 8:40 – 9:00 am

🗹    English @ 9:05 – 9:55 am

  • Math @ 10:05 – 10:50 am

🗹 Lunch @ 11:00 – 11:45 am

🗹 Social Studies (S.S.) @ 12:05 – 12:50 pm

🗹 Study Period @ 1:00 -1:45 pm

🗹    Recess @ 1:50 – 2:05 pm

🗹 Visual Arts @ 2:10- 2:50 pm

  •    Afternoon Homeroom @ 2:55 – 3:20 pm
  •    Finish Homework 4 S.S. & Math @ 4:15 – 5:15 pm
  •    Prepare gear for Tennis Practice tomorrow afternoon

Shifting Time Management Anxiety

Does your teen underestimate how long tasks will take and then feel surprised by the overwhelm they experience? 

Do you hear statements like: “It wasn’t meant to take this long!” 

Your teen can adapt Stratus to:

  • Avoid spending too much time working on projects until they’re “perfect”. If they have a hard time knowing when a task is complete, checking something off within a deadline helps.
  • Finish things with a clear goal in mind, so they avoid feeling powerless, victimized by their to-do lists.
  • Calendar multiple events with reminders. 
  • Highlight after-school and weekend commitments. The ‘POST IT’ Note feature comes in handy for this.

Visual appeal is important for motivation and engagement too. Your teen can jazz up their Checklists with custom color themes and emojis.

All options are easily duplicated and edited. iStratus is a support tool that helps combat feeling overwhelmed. Everyone is different, keep it simple and use what works.

Teens rely heavily on the approval of others to feel good about themselves. They often lack trust in their ability to complete tasks, when there’s a lot on their plate. 

It’s a struggle with their internal gauge that indicates to them what is manageable and what’s too much. “So long as you’ve tried your best that’s Good Enough” is not part of their vocabulary. Realistically, the words: “more,” “better,” and “improve” are. 

Thus, for a plan to truly be effective, teens require a system, which displays their ENTIRE week at a glance. Akin to adults, it also helps teens to set goals: “What are their main ones? Nonjudgmentally naming them, will help navigate and apply the strategies that iStratus hopes to encourage.

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement, and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.”

~ Brian Adams

Awareness and persistence are everything. Driven by fear, teens will attempt to avert criticism by poking holes in their own assignments before anyone else does. Being over-prepared with iStratus is a way for them to feel in control with increased confidence for managing their anxiety. 

Together, we can time things right.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.