5 Critical Reasons to Declutter… (just in time for Spring and Mother’s Day) Your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer wants to share my 5 critical reasons to declutter. The includes all of your stuff and even your to-do list. I say that it’s “critical” because the long term affects of living and working in a cluttered environment or with a cluttered schedule have consequences. Reason #1: Create more space and flow of energy. Clutter wastes space and blocks the flow of energy in your environment. Everything has energy and blocking it with stacks of paper, piles of books that you will never read again, expired foods, and unlimited amounts of cables and cords will cause stagnation and the problems described below. Read on… Reason #2: Improve health and safety benefits. Clutter attracts dust and mold; stacks can cause tripping and falls and head injury. I had a client years ago who tripped over a stack of things piled on her staircase. She broke her foot and had to go up the stairs on her bottom for months. She only called me because her friend threatened to contact adult protective services if she didn’t work with a Professional Organizer! Imagine how it would have changed her life and her relationships if she had discarded, recycled or donated items. Reason #3: Increase efficient use of time. Clutter means wasting time searching for important things and papers. Wasting time can cause you to be late and miss deadlines. You know that being late is disrespectful or others’ time and can also have financial implications such as added fees. Why risk your relationships or your credit rating? Reason #4: Reduce stress and enhance self esteem. Having to deal with clutter on a regular basis causes frustration, stress and embarrassment; it can negatively impact… read more →
Personal Organizing Tips: Space, Time, Clothing Personal Organizing Tips for: Space No matter what the size of your house, rooms, closets, drawers or bins here are useful Do’s and Don’ts: DO buy shallow bins to contain things. DON’T buy deep bins (except for larger items), they tend to get filled. DO make an agreement with yourself to only fill containers and drawers to no more than 3/4 capacity. DON’T fill spaces to the top. DO buy non-perishables in bulk. DON’T buy perishables in bulk. They tend to not get used and expire. Personal Organizing Tips for: Time Management & Productivity More time doesn’t always equal more results. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts: DO make appointments with yourself. DON’T expect to find free time to get things done. DO break big projects into smaller, more manageable ones. DON’T attack big projects without planning and lead time. DO assign due dates to important tasks. DON’T create never-ending to-do lists with no assigned date and time. Personal Organizing Tips for: Wardrobe & Clothing Do you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts: DO keep or purchase clothing that is your current size. DON’T keep or purchase clothing that doesn’t fit you today hoping it will fit later. DO turn all of your hangers backwards. DON’T wear the same things over and over again. After you wear an item hang it back up correctly. See how many things are still hung backwards at the end of the month. DO let go of clothes that you do not like or wear. DON’T feel guilty about having bought those items. Donate or consign them to someone who will love them. Bigger is not always better when it comes to space. There is a tendency for… read more →
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 →
Time Management Tips | 5 Sure-Fire Ways Not to Get a Speeding Ticket Your Time Management Coach can help you to: Allot sufficient time- be on time consistently Reduce overwhelm- make your schedule work for you Get things done – meet deadlines, prioritize Feel in control – plan and schedule effectively Maintain credibility – arrive and finish on time, be prepared It’s a sign that you need to improve your time management if you are always running late and speeding to get to meetings. Not only do you risk getting a speeding ticket (or worse), it can affect you emotionally, physically, and professionally. Here are my 5 Sure-Fire Ways NOT to Get a Speeding Ticket: Schedule transition time to wrap it up and leave Schedule commute time to and from appointments Set boundaries – Let the person(s) you are meeting with know that you can meet until a specific time; start wrapping up the conversation at least 5 minutes before Portion tasks – Divide larger projects into smaller ones Set a timer These 5 tips are what I call “Optimal Habits“, the changes that you make to create habits that serve you personally and professionally. Do that to improve your time management, work-life balance, and productivity. The best approach is to work on creating your Optimal Habits one at a time.
Lateness | Are you always running late? If you are suffering from chronic lateness and want to get out of the house faster here are some of tips are things that you may have heard growing up (and still apply): • Make your bed first thing in the morning. • Select what you will wear the next day, the night before . • Pack your lunch the night before work (or school). Lateness causes stress and compromises your credibility with others personally and professionally. Even little changes in your behavior and routines can improve your productivity and time management. Try making the easiest change first. Once you get consistently better with that aspect of your organizing and time management you can add another change. If you want more information you can read my blog about the benefits of time management. Here are more time management and organizing tips for conquering lateness from Denise Levine, your San Diego Professional and Personal Organizer: • Stop re-packing your workout bag. Keep your workout bag in the car. Leave the basics such as shoes, clean socks, and underwear in the bag. If you use a mesh laundry bag for damp items that need to come in to be washed and replaced that is the only thing that needs to come in and go back out. • Always give yourself a cushion. Leave 15 minutes earlier than you typically would for every meeting and appointment. Plan to get there early and use that time to: meditate in your car, journal, read, check email, post on social media. • Stop looking for the same things. Avoid time wasters such as looking for your keys, eyeglasses, phone, and charger by creating a station for those items. It doesn’t matter where you locate your station as long as… read more →
Time Management – Are You Productive? Time management is a set of skills that can be learned. As a certified Time Management Coach I empower and teach individuals who want to improve their productivity by looking at two things: what they want and need to get done, and what they are already getting done.Instead of being self-critical about what you are not getting done it’s important to have a balanced perspective. Unless your productivity is impacted by your sitting around all day doing nothing, I know that you are getting things done! So let’s start with a new attitude about time management… What if instead of thinking and saying, “I have too much to do”, or “I never get anything done”, you said, “I get the important tasks done.” Your mindset and your words are critically important in time management. Here are 5 ways that will get you started: 1. Daily audit. Write down everything that you do from the time that you wake up until the time that you go to sleep for one entire day. Still not convinced? Do it the next day, too. 2. “Done” list. Write down every task, call, email, appointment, meeting, etc. that you completed for an entire week. 3. Conquer your to-do list addiction. Look at your to-do list(s). Write a separate version with the 3 tasks that you plan to get done today. Get them done and cross them out. Whittle down that list as fast as possible. Scheduling a block of time to do this helps a lot. 4. 10-20 Minute Blast. Look at your longest to-do list and highlight 3-5 things that you can get done in 10-20 minutes. Blast them out and do them now. Cross them off of your list and do 3-5 more tasks. Keep on blasting!… read more →
Eliminate Procrastination – A System That Works Do you have a task that isn’t urgent, but you need to do it? Do you find that you procrastinate about doing it even though you know that it would take you less time to do it than the time you’ve spent putting it off? We all do this to a greater or lesser extent. It’s only when it nags at you that it becomes an issue. If you want to conquer procrastination, here’s a system that will help you eliminate procrastination forever. As a Professional Organizer and Time Management/Productivity Coach I help you reduce stress by increasing your productivity. I will advise clients to assess the things that they have on their to-do list (mental or written) using this system of decision making criteria: Is it something that you… 1. Need to do and want to do. 2. Need to do but don’t want to do it. 3. Don’t need to do it but want to do it. 4. Don’t need to do it and don’t want to do it. The benefits of organizing and sorting your to-do’s using these criteria will enable you to eliminate the things that don’t need to get done all from your list. It will help you to identify the tasks that you can delegate or outsource to others who can get it done. Using this system will also enable you to identify the priority tasks that you will now schedule time to do. These are the tasks that you need to get done even if you don’t want to do them and more importantly, the tasks that you need and want to do. Be gentle with yourself and try not to judge. Creating this awareness and going through the process of organizing your to-do’s by using… read more →
A Balanced Schedule Takes 5 Easy Steps! What does having a balanced schedule mean to you? Does it mean that at the end of the day you feel productive because you crossed everything off of your to-do list? Does it mean that you were able to manage your time to fit in work and exercise? Does it include time to prepare healthy, home-made meals for you and your family? As your Time Management and Productivity Coach I can tell you that your schedule doesn’t know the difference between your personal and professional time and activities. If you want balance you need to create that in your weekly schedule and build in flexibility (unscheduled) time. You need to be able to prioritize, make choices, and set healthy boundaries. Here are 5 Easy Steps for creating a more balanced schedule: 1. Sleep – Set up a regular wake up and go to sleep at night time. Stick to it! An adequate amount of sleep every night is key to good health, mood stability, and productivity. Use your waking hours to create blocks of time for the core areas of your life. 2. Stop it! – Stop doing the things that you don’t need to do, have to do, or want to do. This is a key time saver. When you realize that you are doing something that isn’t necessary, out of habit, and that you and no one else appreciates it’s easy to let it go. 3. Delegate, hire, share – Have someone else do the things that you don’t need to do but have to be done. They might do it better, faster, and with more enjoyment. Again, this is an important time saver because now you can focus on the things that only you can do. 4. It’s all good… read more →
Productivity Coach Tip: Use Deadlines As a Productivity and Time Management Coach I can assure you that using deadlines will help you improve your productivity and overall time management. Some tasks and projects have deadlines, for instance, there is a deadline for enrollment and registration for school, for purchasing holiday gifts, and for filing taxes. Deadlines can work for you if: You believe that you work better under pressure. If you are rule-driven. If you are a people pleaser. But what if something doesn’t have a deadline and you are still having difficulty getting to it? Productivity Tip: If you believe that you work better under pressure create a deadline for any project that doesn’t have one. Your brain will believe that you have to meet the deadline. If you believe that you have to meet this deadline it will prompt you to get started and get it done. Using deadlines can reinforce time management skills such as planning, time estimation. These skills are critical to your personal and professional success and not only your productivity, but your credibility.
Does your limited thinking create clutter? Limited thinking about your ability to get organized and stay organized will prevent you from taking action, including getting help from a Professional Organizer. If you don’t believe that you can be an organized person it will likely create negative emotions. Clutter in your environment and your schedule has a negative impact on your confidence, productivity, and health. In the book, “Clutter Busting”, author Brooks Palmer describes how clutter can keep some people from feeling their emotions: “It acts as an emotional insulator in the same way that drugs and booze do. Like a drink, it wears off, and then you have to acquire more to be numb. Clutter buries you alive.” Clutter may keep you from feeling your emotions temporarily, but it is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a large open wound. It’s an ineffective and superficial way to mask something deeper. Trust me, the feelings which will eventually seep to the surface. See if any of this limited thinking and negative emotions sounds familiar. Ask yourself questions such as: • Guilt – Were you taught to believe that letting go of things is wrong or wasteful? • Lack of confidence – Did you think that by acquiring things you would feel more admired and less inadequate? • Low self-esteem – Did you learn that doing everything yourself rather than asking for assistance was a sign of dependence? • Failure – Do you feel like a failure and that you should be able to be organized without assistance? • Shame – Do you avoid inviting people into your space and worry about their judgment? • Attention issues – Are often exhausted and lack mental energy and focus? • All or none thinking – Do you believe that if you can’t organize it… read more →