Multi-Tasking, a thing of the past? Multi-tasking used to be considered a skill worthy of practice; something to strive to excel in. Even before becoming a Time Management Coach I read that women were better at multi-tasking than men. (Now women die more from heart attacks than anything else. Just sayin’ )I read articles about how to multi-task and interviews with so-called “super achievers” who claimed that multi-tasking was one of the keys to their success. I tried multi-tasking and pairing different tasks that I could do at the same time. I was thinking that I could get more done by multi-tasking. I balanced a task that was mindless with one that needed more attention and focus. The truth is that multi-tasking wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and that was before the days of computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. It was also before all of the technology became mobile and people were texting, emailing, calling, etc. from their vehicles and desks. It didn’t work then and in fact, it doesn’t work now! The devices aren’t the problem as we all know. Neither is social media, the internet or email. The results? Tasks don’t get adequate attention or done in the best way. The worst part is that instead of being present and enjoying the the process and outcome, we’re distracted from it. So why do we continue to multi-task? What is the alternative? 5 Problems related to multi-tasking: Unrealistic expectations Unclear goals Insufficient planning and task analysis Poor time estimation skills Lack of delegation As a Professional Organizer and member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) I meet so many people who want help with organizing and productivity. They complain about how little they actually get done every day. They are frustrated, overwhelmed, hurrying everywhere, and… read more →
Feeling Organized What does feeling organized mean to you? Think about how you feel when your space is organized and clutter-free. Imagine what an organized day feels like. I love to write about the benefits of organizing to motivate and inspire you towards that clutter-free lifestyle most of us crave. An organized life feels… Calm Productive Energizing Healthy, and Spacious. The disorganized life in contrast feels stressful, overwhelming and chaotic. The worst part of long-standing disorganization is that for some people it becomes the norm. I was just talking about this with a friend and describing how some people become accustomed to living in chaos and clutter and that making change is too scary for them to seek help. There are so many resources out there for you if you want to take the first step and make a change. NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) is our professional organization. As a NAPO Personal and Professional Organizer and Time Management Coach I encourage you to explore their national website, and your local chapter’s website. Ask yourself if you are ready to start feeling organized and get out of chaos. Take baby steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you want to try it yourself, read an article or book that describes the organizing process.
You may think that a nice big container will help you organize all of those papers, take out menus, receipts and so on but wait! Deep containers and bins for a variety of items end up attracting large, unsorted piles of paper. Notice the green container holding that pile and taking up what we Professional Organizers refer to as valuable real estate? Eventually, you’re going to have to take action and the question is, will it be the best use of your time? Some potential hazards include: Losing something important. Forgetting to pay a fee. Missing a deadline. Being closed out of an event. Forgetting an appointment. Expired coupons and gift cards. The result? Wasted time, energy, stress, self criticism or loss of credibility. Organize first by doing a quick sort in order to avoid the piles and desire for something to contain them in. Take action the same day…keep it? If it is something that you need to act on, do it right away or schedule it. If it is for reference later, put it in your tickler file. If you can find it elsewhere (Internet), then recycle it. Confidential? Then shred it. Deep containers and bins are good for larger items such as large toys, blankets, and off season clothing and gear.
A Real Estate Agent hired me to help her clients as the first critical step in staging their home. Their goals were to learn how to… Declutter and organize Prepare for packing and moving. When you make the decision to sell your home that is only the first of many decisions! The benefits of working with a Professional Organizer like Outside In Organizer, include time and stress management. Very few people have the time and energy to maintain their work and family life while preparing for a sale and a move. We began with the family room and decided that it was essential to convey the potential for this well-lit space to serve both child and adult needs. We downsized the inventory of toys by removing some and containing others. This helped to clear the floor area and display just how spacious the room was. TIP: make sure the favorite toys remain accessible to the child in the bins that he or she can reach. Once the toys were removed from the opposite side of the room it was more adult-friendly! We made optimal use of the available storage space under the banquette seating. After decluttering and organizing the space the next step is to add decorative touches. First room done in just hours and everyone was happy!
Maybe you’ve tried organizing and given up. Perhaps, you don’t know where to start. Before you take action and start the process of organizing you want to identify any potential hurdles…we all have them! There are different kinds, see if any of these sound like you: External: physical space, physical stamina, resources and supplies, amount of “stuff” Internal: perceptions about time it would take or the time you have available, attitudes about success or failure, attitudes about what being organized means These are just some of the factors to consider. There are some great books that you can purchase or borrow to help you with both external and internal aspects of the organizing process. You can also discuss them with a Professional Organizer, such as Outside In Organizer and Makeovers! TIP: Work to your strengths and align with your needs. One size doesn’t not fit all.
When someone asks me to work with them to find more time I begin with a very specific question: “What for?” It’s just like having more space, what you will do with it is important to know from the start. Do you want more time to get more things done, or to do things that you never make time to do? How will having more time fulfill you and your goals or relationships? One of the ways that might help you to figure this out is to begin with a “brain dump”, list everything that you have or want to put on your to do list. Then, begin to sort the to do items into 1 of 4 categories: Things I don’t want to do, but have to do. Things I don’t want to do, and don’t have to do. Things that I want to do and have to do. Things that I want to do, but don’t have to do. Are you beginning to see a pattern and the possibility of items that you can delete or delegate? Effective time management is about decision making, making choices, and creating more time for the things that are important to you.
What is your goal for decluttering and organizing your space? You want your space to align with your needs, that’s your starting point. Then you can begin the decluttering process and remove what is not needed in that space. Clear surfaces look nice but they also need to be functional. Identify what you will want to use a specific space or surface for…serving food? Working on arts and crafts? Once you determine that, you can gather what you will need to organize and store in or near that space. Go ahead, use the space! After you use it, get into the habit of clearing it. Store the materials and supplies where you created specific “homes” for those items. Grow your space to create and live an abundant life!
It’s “Thorough Thursday”! Once a week, pick one project where you want to do deep organizing. Professional Organizers are trained to help their clients move from the broad, big picture (macro approach), and then, to the specific and detailed approach (micro). You will have more success if your are doing this, too. Let’s use a medicine cabinet as an example. MACRO: First, take everything out of the cabinet. Quickly throw out empty containers and expired items (not prescriptions, more about this later). MICRO: Sort items that you use on a daily basis and need easy access to then place them back into the cabinet. Items that are used less often can be moved to a drawer or another cabinet. Disposal of prescriptions is important to prevent medication from getting into the wrong hands or polluting our water systems. Here is a helpful resource for prescription disposal: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm
It’s “Thorough Thursday!” That means that even though you organized that space you want to go back on a regular basis to assess it and maybe, tweak it! Is it still working for you? If the general system is working, then you can organize on a deeper level. For instance, you cleared the counter and now it’s time to go through the drawers or cupboards. Maybe you cleared most of your email inbox and now it’s time to declutter your email folders. Follow up consistently, systematically and thoroughly. Let’s declare it “Thorough Thursday”!
As a Professional Organizer I get calls for help about tackling hard projects…piles of paper, objects, photos, and even items cluttering the email inbox. It’s not a question of whether or not it needs to be organized. It’s a matter of how and when. With help from a professional and time dedicated to the project, it becomes manageable. Make any organizing project manageable by breaking it down into smaller mini-projects. Then tackle it every Tuesday, for instance! TIP: Organizing and maintaining on a regular basis is worth the time.