Monday, October 16 2017
I sometimes get asked how to plan ahead on a paper calendar or electronic scheduler. I am sure this is an issue for everyone.
Sometimes we have things we need to do so far into the future, we cannot put it on our current calendar, right? Wrong!
For example, you recently got your colonoscopy and will need another one in 10 years. You need to review your Will, Power of Attorney, etc. every few years. You need to change your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide protectors in your home every 10 years. How are you supposed to remember that?!?!
Typically, if you use a paper planner, you might not be able to add something to your calendar for 10 years out.
However, if you use a binder-style planner such as Day-Timer or Circa you could use a to-do list (or just a blank note page) to capture all these future to-dos and carry that list forward, year after year. At the beginning of each year, you could add any relevant items from that list to the upcoming year’s calendar.
I do the same thing with my annual wall calendar in my office. I make notes at the bottom in the Notes section and each year, when I am preparing for the New Year, I carry those notes over to the next year so that I don't miss a deadline to pay my quarterly taxes, renew a certification or a domain name, etc. You can do the same thing.
You simply need to jot it down on your calendar to begin with and then carry it forward year after year.
As a professional organizer, I provide many other tips and tricks just like this one to create an efficient and effective time management system that you can easily implement.
If you would like to learn more about how to make the best use of your time and get your tasks completed, contact me.
As always, I am here to help.
Monday, August 21 2017
Today I am privileged to welcome a guest blogger. I don't often discuss digital clutter because I am not known to be too tech savy, but I do feel that it is an important aspect to decluttering your life and this was written in a way we can all understand.
Let's face it, our digital world has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade and we all struggle to keep on top of our incoming mail, photos, important documents, etc.
This post is the first of two I am publishing. Please welcome Abby Quillen of ereplacementparts.com and I hope you find her information on this topic insightful and helpful.
DOWNSIZE AND ORGANIZE YOUR DIGITAL CLUTTER
by Abby Quillen (guest blogger)
Physical clutter can damage your health. In a study done by the University of California, Los Angeles, women who described their houses as cluttered, disorganized, disordered, or haphazard had daily patterns of the stress hormone cortisol that are normally associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue, and early mortality. These women were also more likely to feel depressed.
If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your well-being. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos , videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.
Does your documents folder or email inbox resemble a junk drawer with everything tossed in together? Do you usually rely on your search box to help you find files? An organization structure can help you declutter, share, synchronize, move, and easily track down files. Follow these simple steps to get your digital life organized:
Browse through your files and emails and determine the major and minor categories they fall into. For instance, you may be able to divide photos into “work photos,” “family photos, “head shots,” etc. Within those categories, you may have subcategories.?
Once you’ve determined what categories and subcategories you want to use for each type of file, make folders or subfolders for them.
Develop Naming Guidelines
Librarians who manage large digital collections use consistent, meaningful, and descriptive names to identify what’s inside each file. Follow suit, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to track down specific files and photos when you need them. For documents, designate a naming structure such as “descriptive keywords-type of document.” For example, this article might be named “digital-decluttering-article.” For images, create a structure such as “descriptive keywords-month-year.” For example, vacation photos might be named “Hawaii-vacation-March-2017. For emails, use descriptive subject headings.
Automate Email Organization
Email in-boxes can become unmanageable quickly. Depending on your email provider, you can automatically filter incoming emails into certain folders. For instance, all newsletters can be sent to a “newsletters” folder, and emails from colleagues can automatically be sent to a “work” folder.
Make a Plan
Digital clutter builds up quickly. Get out your calendar, and schedule regular recurring dates with yourself to keep your data in order.
(Original Source: eReplacementParts blog)
Let me know how you make out with this plan. As always, if you are in need of assistance when it comes to your clutter, don't hesitate to contact me. I am always here to help.
Tuesday, January 12 2016
I know it's been a while since I last wrote a blog. I have been spending some much needed time on my own home for a change.
I decided at the end of 2015 that I was going to go through my home and thoroughly declutter, clean and organize each and every room of my home. I had been so busy last year organizing others that I, unfortunately, neglected my own home. It was quite an undertaking, I must admit, but the results are great!
I feel so much better when I walk throughout my home now. I went through my second floor in November and the first floor in December and am finishing up my basement this month.
I took time to assess my possessions and ask myself if I really needed everything I had. The answer was an astounding "NO"! I went through my wardrobe, including my collection of shoes and accessories, got rid of old nick knacks that no longer represented who I am, organized closets, cabinets, shelves, drawers and hung some new artwork. I gathered quite a large number of items for donation and for sale and a lot for the trash.
I organized my home office to get ready to rock it in 2016 and moved old files and paperwork into my storage area of my home to archive. I went through all of my filing cabinets and got rid of four boxes of paperwork at a recent shredding event too.
One of the things I paid attention to was whether or not I needed to repurpose any of the areas of my home.
When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you looked around your home and identified areas or rooms in your home that no longer serve you?
Have your children grown up and no longer need a play room? Has one of your children gone off to college or gotten married and no longer lives at home? Is that well-intended exercise room no longer being used? Do you no longer spend time in the living room, but rather use the family room instead?
It is so important to use your real estate. If a room in your home is no longer being used as it was originally intended, it's time for a change.
Start to re-purpose a room by eliminating what no longer suits you. Determine how that space can be better used and re-create a room that you love. Add a fresh coat of paint and perhaps an area rug to give it a fresh look.
Perhaps you do not have a home office and the paperwork in the home ends up everywhere. Wouldn't it be great to have a dedicated room where all of the paper management in the home can live? You could turn your unused living room or a bedroom into a home office.
How about that sitting room you have always wanted? How about taking an unused bedroom and creating a dressing room? The possibilities are endless.
You don't need to have a living room if you don't use one. You don't need to keep a bedroom unused. It could become a home office, a work-out room, a sitting room or whatever you have envisioned that you would like to have.
Take some time and go through your own home and look at it with fresh eyes and see how you can repurpose your home. "The purpose" of your home is to create an environment that you use and love to spend time in.
If you need assistance creating a room that you love, some interior redesign might be the solution. Feel free to contact me to talk about your particular situation.
Until next time, happy organizing!
Tuesday, March 10 2015
Being a professional organizer and having a home office such as I do, I know how important it is to keep it clutter free and organized.
Paper clutter as well as computer clutter are both problematic for most people. It is vital to feel good about your home office environment in order to be productive.
Here are some tips you can use to get and keep your home office functional and enjoyable to work in:
1. Clear your surfaces. Paper tends to pile up on any flat surface such as a desk if it does not have a home. It can be overwhelming to get it organized and under control. So, the first step is the clear the surfaces of all paperwork and office supplies. Start with a clean slate.
2. Provide yourself with sufficient storage space in your filing cabinet. You need to have enough room to store active files and reference/archival files. If you do not have enough space for a good filing system, your paperwork might end up piled on a desk or even on the floor.
3. Keep it separate. Do not co-mingle your personal paperwork with business-related paperwork. They should each have their own zone. If it is not possible to have separate filing cabinets, then designate certain drawers in the cabinet for personal and for business.
4. Create sufficient room to work. If your PC is taking up a lot of space, consider using a lap top computer instead. Designate a portion of your desk for computer work and another portion for spreading out paperwork. Be sure to designate space for your printer, scanner, etc. A good option is to purchase a multi-functional printer/scanner/copier to save space. Make sure your equipment is placed where you can easily reach it from where you are sitting.
5. Out with the old and in with the new. On a regular basis, you should go through your files to clean out old, unused paperwork to make room for new materials either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. This is vital to staying organized as your paperwork will always have a good home. This applies to your computer as well. Eliminate old email, folders or programs you no longer need or use.
6. Create an environment you enjoy spending time in. It is important to have the furniture, lighting and items that reflect your personality in your home office space so that you enjoy being in the space. This will help you to be more productive. Create a space that is functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Be sure to incorporate items that will not only be functional, such as a desk with drawers as opposed to just a desk surface and select a comfortable office chair to sit in. Add artwork or photographs to the walls that you enjoy looking at. Incorporate bookcases or shelving for added vertical storage.
The less you have out on your desk and work space, the better. You will be able to think much clearer and be much more productive when there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Of course, you know, that is how you create A Better Space!
By using the tips mentioned above, you will be well on your way. If you are just too overwhelmed and need assistance to get it under control, I invite you to contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, Happy National Organize Your Home Office Day!
Monday, January 26 2015
Whether you work from home because you have a home-based business or because your employer provides you with the ability to work from home either full-time or part-time, doing so can be a challenge.
When I am not working with my clients in their homes, I work in my home office. I have a large window that lets in a lot of natural light and a large space in which to spread out to work and places for all of my paperwork, office supplies and other needs in order to run my business.
It can be challenging at times to work from home for many people. One of the biggest challenges is staying focused.
Do you find that you daydream? It is more easy to do when you work alone. There is something interesting that happens when you work with others or have a boss overseeing how you are spending your time. That accountability factor can go a long way. So, what do you do when you are working from home and need to be accountable for yourself?
You might be very productive and get things done but it is very easy for your energies to be directed at other things you should not be doing. When in your home, it is easy to spend time thinking about the things that need to get done in the home such a laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, phone calls you need to make or meal preparation. If you are on the computer, you might get a signal every time you get an email, you are curious about what is happening on Facebook or you decide you need to purchase something on line.
Here are some tips to help you stay more focused and keep your attention where it needs to be:
1. If at all possible, take care of distractions before working. If you need to get some laundry done or clean up the dishes in the sink, do it before you start to work. If you are distracted by what you need to do around the house, do them ahead of time so you can avoid these distractions.
2. Determine your best hours to work. Some people are at their best early in the morning. Some are better later at night. I am most productive mid-day. I admittedly am not a morning person. I structure my business based on when my energy is at it's peak so I can be the best I can be during that time. Knowing when you are most productive and clear-headed goes a long way in helping you focus on the work you need to get done. If you are not sure, take a week or so and track what you do over the course of a day and when you get the most done. Then, structure your day around the times when you are the most productive, if possible.
3. Work at a table or desk. This might not seem important, but it is. It is too easy to get too comfortable when you are sitting on the couch. Being near a television can be very tempting too. You might find that you can get things done, but sitting in a sturdy chair at an organized desk or table away from distractions will enable you to take your tasks more seriously. Be sure to work in a place that feels like you should be doing work there.
4. Have a to-do list. One of the things I do at the end of each work day is to prepare a to-do list for the following day. I keep it visible during the day and refer to it often. It's important to learn to prioritize your list so it is not too long and unreasonable to complete. Set time limits on how long to spend on each task to stay on target and create deadlines for more involved tasks. Having a list prepared ahead of time will help you have a clear picture of what you will set out to accomplish each day.
5. Take a break. It is very important to get up out of your chair throughout the day. Every hour or so you should get up and stretch or walk around. You will come back to your work space refreshed and ready to continue with your work day.
Working from home has many rewards but it can also create some challenges. Creating a plan of action that fits your personality and work-style will help you face the challenges, put your distractions aside and maintain focus throughout the day.
If you are transitioning from an off-site work environment to a home-based work environment, I can help you create a customized plan of action that meets your specific needs for time and production.
As always, I am here to help.
Now, get back to work! :)
Wednesday, December 31 2014
Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2015?
This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home. I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.
This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.
Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.
Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.
When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.
2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!
5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.
6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.
Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!
8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.
All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.
IN WITH THE NEW!
1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.
2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.
3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.
4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.
5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.
6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!
7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.
8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.
9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!
OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!
So, what do you think? I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house. I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone! Go through this list and do the best that you can. Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.
Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!
Monday, April 21 2014
I love using inexpensive solutions to help my clients get organized. A great tool that I use quite often is a simple basket or plastic shoe box. They can be used in so many different ways. Have you considered these ideas?
1. Group jewelry in a drawer or on your dresser.
2. Hold coins found in your pocket.
3. On your bedside table to hold hand creams, lip balm, etc.
1. Contain eyeglass cleaning accessories or contacts and solution.
2. Gather Hair bands or barrettes.
3. Use to hold make-up and accessories.
4. Group together nail polish and nail care accessories.
5. Hold razors and shaving accessories.
1. Compartmentalize hats and gloves for each family member.
2. Containerize first aid products.
3. Keep shampoos, body wash and other personal hygiene products in one spot.
4. Gather extra toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste you get from your dentist.
5. Use one to store travel size products for quick packing.
1. Hold packets of sauce mixes together.
2. Group spices together.
3. Keep your measuring spoons together in your kitchen drawer or cabinet.
4. Gather twist ties in one place.
5. Use to store small sharp knives in a drawer.
HOME OFFICE -
1. Contain paper clips and binder clips.
2. Keep erasers and correction fluid together.
3. Gather pens, pencils or markers.
There are so many uses for inexpensive baskets and containers! Use your imagination and start getting organized.
If you are just too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, contact me and schedule your free phone consultation. I can get you started on the road to A Better Space!
Wednesday, August 21 2013
When was the last time you took a good look around your home? Is it time for a change?
I recently met with a new client who has lived in her home for about 18 years. She lives alone.
As we went through the home I learned that she does not use her dining room in the traditional sense. She does not have dinner parties or sit-down dinners with friends or family. She uses the space to gather paperwork as it comes in the door.
This prompted me to ask her if she would be interested in converting this space into a home office. Upon some consideration, my client decided this was a good idea. As a school teacher, she has a lot of paperwork to process and needs a larger and brighter area in which to work, rather than her current space in an area of her basement.
The dining room is spacious enough for a long table or desk and a filing cabinet to store her personal paperwork and school work. It is set off from the foyer so it is not the first thing you see when you enter the home. It's the perfect solution as it would eliminate the need to go downstairs to the small cramped area in the basement to work. My client would have easy access to the kitchen and powder room as needed.
When I purchased my home, the builder had intended the room next to the kitchen to be a family room. I already had a living room on the first floor so another family room would not suit my personal needs. Instead of having a small dining area divided by a pony wall in the living room, I decided to make the intended family room into a nice-sized dining room where I could easily entertain and serve my guests from the kitchen.
Just because a room is originally intended for a certain purpose does not mean that is what you have to have it be. Change a dining room into a home office! Change a family room into a dining room! It's okay! The point is to create a home that suits your personal needs - and this might change over time.
So, I suggest that you take a look around your home. Are there areas of the home that are not being used because their original intent no longer fits your needs? Is it time for a change?
If you need assistance in creating organized and functional spaces in your home, I can help. You deserve A Better Space.
In the meantime, leave me your comments about the areas of your home that you would like to change or have already changed to accommodate your current needs. This might inspire others to do the same.
Have a great week!
Thursday, April 18 2013
Finally, Spring has arrived and with it Spring Fever. It's a time for fresh starts. For me, I am moving up. I am taking my office space from the basement which has no natural light and moving upstairs to a spare bedroom. This room has soft neutral tones on the walls and a big window that provides a nice view and, best of all, that natural light I desire.
I ordered new furniture that will provide me with more room in which to work. It is expected to arrive in about four or five weeks. In the meantime, I have contacted my handyman who is going to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture and I am in the midst of arranging the room so it is condusive to my productivity.
One of my passions is books and I love to surround myself with them. They make me feel warm and cozy. I love to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper's texture and get lost in the pages. I am not a fan of Kindle for this reason - just a personal choice.
When I was doing space planning for my new office space, I decided to incorporate two bookcases in the room just for my leisure reading. I love to see my collection of novels yet to be read - it is quite extensive.
However, I am aware, as you should be, that there is such a thing as book clutter. Piles of books laying around on a coffee table in your living room, on an end table in your bedroom, on your desk in your home office or anywhere on the floor is clutter.
The author of the blog Epic Write summed up the complex relationship she has with books in her post "Show Me Your Book Clutter":
"The problem is I have so many books I want to read. Or, that I need to read...Aside from my cluttered side table, I have digital and paper clutter where I have recorded books I want to read. From my "wants" list on Goodreads.com to titles scribbed on scraps of paper, I am overwhelmed with the amount of books I will get to someday. even with feeling almost buried by it all, I have no desire to change. I love books. I want to see books everywhere."
For me, I do not want to feel buried by my books. Although I have a lot of books, I do not have clutter. My books are lined up neatly in my bookcases with hardbacks in the back and paperbacks in the front, in alphabetical order by author. I can put my hand on any book I want within moments. If my books do not fit within these boundaries, I weed them out, which I recently did.
I want my new office to feel spaceous and calm because I know that it will provide me with the space I need in my head to be productive.
If you have a large collection of books, take the time to organize them in a way in which you can enjoy seeing them. Not on the floor in a pile, but rather, on a shelf or bookcase that can accommodate them. Do not hold onto books that you have already read (especially fiction). There are way too many books out there to still be read.
If you find that you have too many, donate them to a local library or pass them onto a friend who will enjoy them. Books are meant to be shared with others.
Clearly people love books and everything about them. But, it is possible to keep a reasonable number so that they don't contribute to clutter in your living spaces.
Honor your books by being selective about the ones you purchase and by keeping your collection in order.
If you are overwhelmed with your book clutter or any other clutter in your home, contact me. I am happy to help.
In the meantime, get outside and read a book!
Sunday, March 24 2013
More and more people are starting home-based businesses these days. Did you know that it is expected that there will be more than 20 million home-based business in the United States by the end of 2013?
I have been in business almost nine years. I have found that there are some great advantages:
- I can create a flexible work schedule.
- I can control my work environment.
- I can deduct a portion of my home expenses on my income tax return.
- I have created a great sense of independence by being my own boss.
- I focus on doing what I enjoy the most - helping others get organized
- I find it easier to balance work and personal responsibilities.
- I have an overall greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.
However, there are some disadvantages that you need to learn to overcome:
- It can be difficult to turn work "off" when your workspace and personal space are intertwined.
- Working from home can be very isolating.
- Home-based businesses can cause stress on the family.
- It can be difficult to grow your business working as a solo-preneur.
- Depending on the type of business you have, you need to consider if there are zoning regulations you need to explore.
The key to running a successful home-based business is organization, commitment and accountability.
CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE. It is critical that you have a separate workspace in your home away from your personal space. You can use a bedroom, a section in your basement or even change a formal living room into a home office. Find a location where your work will not interfere with your family life. At the end of the day, you want to be able to walk away from it.
YOU MUST GET ORGANIZED! It can be overwhelming but it is the key to your success. Create a space where you have everything you need close by to run a successful business. It is important to know where everything is located at all times. By doing so, you will stop wasting time. Adding up all the times throughout the day that you cannot locate something and having to try to find it will make you realize how much time you are wasting. Being organized with reduce stress. By doing so, you will enable yourself to think more clearly and make decisions faster.
SET A SCHEDULE. One of the biggest transformations that occurs when you start your home-based business is the difficulty in determining your work schedule. When you work from home, you are not necessarily working 9-5 like you might have in the past. Your day might be divided into chunks, especially if you have children. You might work in the morning and then when the children come home from school, you take four or five hours to be a parent. You will probably need to return to your "office" later that evening and work some more. If you are in direct sales, you might be doing in-home parties at nights and on weekends. You might need to attend networking events several nights a week. You should determine a schedule that best fits your needs for your business and your personal life.
UNPLUG. Besides closing the door to your office space, you need to unplug. It is helpful to end your work day by clearing up your desk and writing a "to do" list for the next day. Otherwise, your mind will race alll through the night with thoughts of what you need or want to do. You will feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If you don't take some "me time" at the end of the day, you willl burn out fast. That will take a toll on your body and in the end, will cost you money.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find someone you can account to on a weekly basis. Decide what you want to accomplish. Let them know what you intend to do and the following week you can detail what you did in the past week. If you get stuck, you can bounce ideas off of them to get your past your obstacle so you can keep moving forward. Accountability is a powerful tool in growing your business.
When I work with people who have home-based businesses, I focus on paper management, time management and putting in customized systems to maximize potential.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized when it comes to your home-based business, contact me. I can help. I can provide you with a system made just for you and be an accountability partner so you can maximize the potential for growth in your business.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 27 2012
There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized. I love options because everyone does not function the same way. Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on).
There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual). One way is to make use of binder clips!
Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:
Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall. Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.
I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose. You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days. You don't need to stick with black.
A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member. Assign a specific color to each.
You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.
Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.
Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.
Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.
Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items.
You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".
If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.
If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File".
For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary. They limit the amount of paper work that builds up. It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable. You will need to keep it under control!
As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip. Use your imagination! I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!
So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, January 02 2012
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday season, but now it's time to get down to business.
As a women entrepreneur who began my Professional Organizing business over 7 years ago, I work with many other women entrepreneurs who struggle with time management and paper management in their home offices. As a result, I pay lots of attention to the struggles with growth and prosperity that entrepreneurs alike contend with.
There are many habits that can hold us back so I thought I would list some:
- Not returning phone calls.
- Being late for appointments.
- Not returning emails.
- Not having a schedule.
- Not filing important documents.
- Not saving money or paying yourself first.
- Failure to understand the law of reciprocity.
- Handling mail or email more than once.
- Forwarding nonsense emails.
- Not scheduling events.
- Not exercising.
- Lack of systems.
- Not choosing healthy foods.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Not taking time to rejuvenate.
- Watching meaningless television.
- Failure to invest in personal development.
- Failure to listen.
- Trying to be perfect.
- Waiting for the right moment.
- Failure to budget.
- Lacking or not providing sufficient or efficient communication.
- Having a messy or disorganized workspace or home.
- Unprofessional voice mail.
- Not having a dedicated workspace.
- Not having a business card.
Which of these apply to you? Choose two or three habits at a time and replace them with good ones.
If you need help with time management, paper management, or organizing your messy and disorganized workspace or home, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
Monday, May 16 2011
I am working in my office today and decided I wanted to focus on reducing the amount of mail in my email "in box".
Just like everyone else who has a business and a personal life, I get lots of emails on a daily basis and sometimes it is a true struggle to keep them under control.
But I am determined to clean up my act today and get back on track. In doing so, I had an epiphany!
My emails are always listed with the most current at the top, like most people, so you can see the latest activity.
However, today, I decided to flip it around so that the earliest e-mails are at the top and the latest at the bottom of the list. This worked so well for me today and I am excited to be able to share this with you!
Since I could not see the new entries coming in during my designated period of time that I set aside for this project, I was not getting distracted. It helped me to focus on the task at hand and get through my list a lot faster.
Another idea is to shut off your notification so that every time a new email comes in, you don't hear a bing, a dong or a bell or whatever sound your email makes to indicate a new entry.
If you try these tips, I assure you that you will be able to remain focused for a longer period of time and will be able to greatly reduce that in-box.
Let me know how you make out.
If you need any other assistance in order to get organized, please feel free to contact me. I am here to help.
Have a great week!
Friday, March 18 2011
Lately I have been presenting a lot of seminars on various topics concerning organization. Last week I did a seminar with a certified public accountant and we talked about the tax benefits if you have a home-based business. I spoke on how to best organize your home office space so that you can locate your paperwork and keep accurate records for your business.
The major theme of that seminar was "Document, Document, Document". It cannot be stressed enough as to how important it is to do; whether you have a business or not.
A perfect example came to light for me personally this week when I received documentation in the mail from Wachovia Bank which is soon to be changing over to Well-Fargo Bank officially in my area in mid-April.
The packet of information that was sent included the changes to the various types of accounts. In reviewing the information, I came to the conclusion that, after decades of being with Wachovia, formerly CoreStates, formerly First Union, formerly PSFS, I did not like what they had to offer and decided I would be closing out my accounts and moving them to another bank.
In the old days, this was no big deal. You went to the bank, spoke with the bank officer, closed out your account(s) and took your money with you.
Today, because of on-line banking - which I love because it saves me so much time - the transition will be a bit more complicated. I have not spoken with any representative of the bank as yet but plan to do so within the next week or so prior to the switch over.
I am not sure what their policy is as far as record keeping for accounts that are closed out. I have been doing online bill paying with Wachovia for the past 3 years and want to preserve that information.
This will be much easier for me to transition because I have kept good documentation of all of my bill paying activities.
I always urge my clients to print out the confirmation after they have directed the bank to make the payments for a certain amount on a certain day because they provide a Confirmation Number.
I am comforted by the fact that I have always kept good records of my transactions with the bank, not only on line, but by printing out a paper confirmation to attach to the back of each bill that I pay. I have taken the steps to create a list of the entities involved, their address where the payment is electronically sent and their account numbers so that my transition will be so much easier. I do not feel I am leaving anything behind but just moving forward towards a better fit for my financial needs.
The moral of the story is to document, document, document. You never know when you will need to put your hands on important information that might not be accessible at some point in the future.
Just some food for thought...
If you should find that you need assistance with this or any other type of organization, contact me. I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great and organized week.
Sunday, March 06 2011
Spring is coming soon and it reminds me that it will soon be time to do some weeding. However, that doesn’t necessary mean your garden or other outdoor space.
You can begin to weed out your computer today! You heard me. It’s time to weed out your computer.
There are many people who come to me and ask how to do this. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Now granted, if it hasn’t been done in a while, it could take a good bit of time, but, like everything else, breaking it down into small manageable steps will get the job done.
So, let’s get started...
Just like physical clutter can wreak havoc on a home, virtual clutter can clog up your computer and make searching for files a bit chaotic.
Start with your files on your hard drive. Get rid of old reports, documents, spreadsheets and databases you no longer need. Once the unnecessary files are gone, uninstall the programs you don’t intend to use again.
When this is done, tackle your email contacts and email folders. If you are you no longer in contact with a company or a person, eliminate them. You want to leave room for the ones that are in current use and important to you.
Finally, browse through your Internet 'favorites' and delete any sites you don't plan to visit in the future.
I suggest that you schedule just 15 minutes a day for this task. Do this every day until the job is done. By keeping your time to a minimum each day will ensure the job doesn't become too overwhelming. This way you are still being productive and before you know it, you will have done the weeding; just in time for your outdoor weeding!
Good luck! Wishing you a great, productive week!
Friday, October 08 2010
Ever since I can remember, I have always advised my clients that an important aspect of paper management and budgeting involves keeping an eye on your provider billing statements, your credit card statements and bank statements.
So many people do not take the time to look at the itemized bill or statement and that is a problem. The tendency is to look at the total and just pay the bill or not even look at a bank statement at all and just file it away. It’s important to understand that mistakes are made and if you do not keep track of your statements, the mistakes go un-noticed. As a result, you could be getting charged for items you should not be getting charged for or you could possibly not get credit for payments made.
A perfect example of this was mentioned in the news this week. It involves Verizon Wireless and how they charged millions of customers for services they were not receiving. Verizon Wireless is now required to reimburse those customers a total of more than $1,000,000.
Verizon Wireless was banking on the fact that so many of their customers do not check their statements and just pay their bills based on the total. It is your responsibility as a consumer to make sure you check your bills, credit card statements and bank statements each and every time you receive them to make sure they are accurate. If you don’t, no one else will.
So, do you check your statements? If not, start now. The next time a bill or statement comes in the mail or is sent to you on line, take the few minutes necessary to make sure your statements are accurate.
Until next time, have a great week.
Friday, March 12 2010
Unless you are living under a rock or in a cave, you know and are well aware that we are still in the midst of an economic "crisis". This scares many people. The fear of losing your job, your home and/or your investments can be overwhelming.
However, the one thing I have observed recently is that this "crisis" is forcing people to stop and think about their particular financial situation and have a desire to become more aware of where their money comes from and where it is going.
The number of people per month who are still applying for unemployment compensation in the United States is staggering. Of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, about 13.8 million, or nearly 27 percent owe more on their mortgage than their house is now worth, according to Moody’s Economy.com. Most people have seen their investments and retirement funds decrease by approximately forty percent. The average American has approximately $10,000 of credit card debt. No wonder everyone is scared.
Many have attempted to cut back on spending in order to make ends meet and attempt to get out of debt. However, without a plan in place, you cannot be successful. If you do some research, you will find that many financial advisors and other "experts" have put together systems for creating a solution to your budgeting woes. I have found them to be very complex and time consuming, discouraging most people from utilizing them.
In order to successfully create a plan for financial success, you need to create a budget. A budget will provide you with a way to not only analyze your income (by way of a pay check, investment rental properties, alimony, child support, governmental benefits, etc.) but will provide a visual aide to see where the income is going. You cannot budget your money if you don’t know where it is going.
So, how do you begin to even create a budget, you ask? You will need to determine your income, determine your expenses and then create your budget based upon that information. This can sometimes be a complicated and time consuming process.
You will need to determine whether your monthly expenses exceed your monthly income. Does your current problems involve the inability to save month each month? Do you wonder where all your money is going each month? Do you feel that your life is getting out of control because of your finances?
If so, you need to develop a personalized budget so you can better manage your finances. Ask yourself - "How can I possibly manage my money if I don’t have any idea where it all goes each month?" The answer - you need to become more disciplined with your money.
Many people make the mistake of cutting back so drastically that there is nothing left to enjoy. Many get caught up in the "this minor expense won’t matter" syndrome. Before you know it, "these minor expenses" are added over and over throughout a month and before you know it, they really add up. This is sometimes where overspending occurs. And, don’t forget that budgeting needs to include saving money. Planning for those things you enjoy makes it much easier to stick to your budget in the long run.
You may ask why it’s so important to record all of your expenses. It’s important because, if you don’t track your expenses, eventually they get out of control. You need to have a system and it needs to be documented.
Now, more than ever, everyone is looking for that simple way to manage and budget their money. No one wants to take time to work with a complicated system.
No one has the time!
Take the first step now. Acknowledge that you need to get on a budget and commit to finding the support and tools necessary to get it done!
If you need some assistance, I have developed the "U Can Do It Budgeting System" based upon the budgeting system I have used for myself for over 25 years as well as my years of experience setting up personalized budgeting systems for my clients. Visit the ABS Store right on this site learn more.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, February 23 2010
Since we are well into tax season, many people tend to refocus their attention on their workspace where they pay bills, run a home-based business or correspond with friends and family.
For this reason, I thought it appropriate to provide some tips you can use to create an organized and inviting workspace. After all, who wants to work in a space that is cluttered and, therefore, uninviting?
Whether you're sitting at the kitchen table writing out bills, working at your desk in the home office, or writing a note to a friend on the computer, a pleasant, organized environment will allow for both productivity and creativity. Focus on the following suggestions and you will find that the productivity and creativity will become established.
1. Eliminate the chaos. If you have a disorganized work area, it will reduce the physical space needed for productivity, block your creativity, and increase the chances that you'll lose something which will dramatically increase your stress level. (No one needs more stress.) So, clear the clutter. Provide yourself with plenty of empty space. Keep a wastepaper basket near your workspace to encourage daily decluttering and clean-up. Don't overload the space with nicknacks and picture frames. Only keep those few inspirational pieces that you enjoy seeing in view, but out of the way.
2. Stock your workspace for its main functions. Determine what you need to use in the space and plan around that purpose. If you use a desk at home to write out bills, make sure you have a few pens, a calculator, some postage stamps, envelopes, address labels and other necessary supplies right in, or near, that work area. This will help make the task much quicker and easier. Your filing system should be close by as well.
3. Use those organizing tools. Using appropriate sized baskets, stackable trays, letter trays, pencil holders, paper clip containers, file folders and other organizing tools can help you get your workspace organized. Before buying any of these tools though, be sure to take the time to think about why you need that tool and if the tool you're thinking about is the best one for the job. For example, a decorative container on your shelf might hold all of your office supplies, but a drawer organizer can allow you to put more like items together for easier access.
4. Think ergonomics. If you feel physically uncomfortable in your workspace, you will not be able to focus and will therefore be less productive and creative. Do you suffer from eye strain? Do your muscles ache from constantly stretching to reach something? Do your wrists hurt from them being on a wrong angle for too long? Does your back hurt because your chair is not comfortable? Then, it's time for you to re-think and rearrange your physical workspace for health and comfort. Make sure there is sufficient lighting conditions. If not, you should consider adding some overhead track lighting or additional lamps that provide good task lighting. If your chair is not right for you, perhaps the seat should be raised or lowered. If your wrist hurts from using the computer mouse, get yourself a mouse pad with cushioning. Lastly, make sure your computer monitor is positioned correctly, either at or below, eye level, at a comfortable distance.
5. Put stuff away at the end of the day. This is very important! When you're done using your workspace for the day, put everything back in its place. Don't leave this area in chaos. This way, the next time you return, you'll have an inviting space that will allow you to get down to work without delay. Who wants to start working in a chaotic and cluttered environment?
If you follow these simple tips, you will find that you will have an organized and inviting workspace in which to work.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, however, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to get you on the road to life long organization.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, September 30 2009
I found this information and thought it might be helpful so I am passing it on...
Since an estimated 250 million computers became obsolete in the past five years, recycling e-waste has never been more crucial. But figuring out how to do it isn't always easy.
To help the eco-conscious with this dilemma, STAPLES has gotten involved and has launched an in-store e-waste recycling program.
Drop off home-office equipment (computers, monitors, printers, fax machines) to any store nationwide, no matter where you originally purchased it, and for just $10 per item, the chain will recycle it according to the EPA's standards.
Bring in your extra keyboards and mice, too - they'll take care of those for free.
Hope you find this helpful in getting rid of your old home office equipment and feeling good about doing so.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting that home office organized, contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Have a great week!