Professionally, I do not advocate for a paperless office for my clients (or myself). My experience as a former educator strongly suggests that the very act of writing something down adds benefits both in learning and memory. I advocate for a balance (see TIPS below). That said, paper clutter in the office or home has no benefit. As a Professional Organizer in San Diego I am witness to the pitfalls of excessive paper…health problems (piles of paper collecting dust and impeding a clean office)…safety problems (heavy piles of unfiled papers, injuries related to lifting or tripping over piles)…stress-related issues (constant complaints of overwhelm and frustration)…and financial problems(late or duplicate bill payments, lack of productivity, lost time looking for important papers). Before I share the Outside In Organizer Approach’s TIPS I want to share an interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/jobs/pen-and-paper-still-practical-in-the-office-workstation.html?ref=global Outside In Organizer and Makeover TIPS: 1. Purge unnecessary papers. Ask yourself these 3 questions to help you decide: What do I need to keep the hard copy for? Is it something I need to act upon, or is it for information purposes, only? If it is informational, only, can I access it when I need to refer to it in an electronic file or the internet? 2. Sort the papers that you need to keep. Create an easy to maintain file system so that every piece of paper has its place. Streamline your system and use broad categories to avoid files that only contain 1 or 2 pieces of paper. 3. Create a tickler system for action items. A lot of my clients are afraid that if papers are out of their sight they will forget to act on them. Admittedly, leaving them out doesn’t insure that they will work on them! The answer? A dated tickler system that aligns with your calendar. This allows you… read more →
How many messages are in your inbox right now? Are most of them opened but you don’t know what to do with them? Outside In Organizer and Makeovers shares these tips about how to manage your email and in essence…improve your time management. First, treat your inbox like any potential source of clutter. The process of organizing it is the same: PURGE, SORT, ORGANIZE. Second, delete any junk mail and unsubscribe from unnecessary sites. Tip three, create files to store messages that are for future use or reference. Purge these at least once a month. Tip four, designate action items that are already overdue. Tip five would be to mark those items that require your action or response within the next week. The next tip is the most important one…schedule 1 time in the morning and 1 time later in the day to read, organize, and respond to your email. Commit to this rather than checking your email throughout the day, you will increase your productivity.
Getting organized before you travel allows you to save your time for enjoying your destination. Outside In Organizer and Makeovers has 5 tips for organizing your travel: #1 – Pay bills early and online #2 – Use a packing and to do list #3 – Have the concierge make reservations for spa appointments, tours, and meals prior to your arrival #4 – Locate a grocery store near your hotel; purchase the basics on the first day you arrive (ex: bottled water, snacks) #5 – Keep duplicates of some items in your luggage so you only need to replenish rather than unpack and pack them Safe travels from me to you!
Love to travel but hate to pack? Here are some organizing tips and ideas that promise to lighten your load: 1. Use a backpack for your carry on. The weight will be distributed evenly and allow your hands to be free. 2. Bring an e-reader instead of books and magazines (don’t forget your charger). 3. Find multi-use products such as lotions and makeup with of an SPF 15, or more, conditioning shampoo, lip gloss with color, and so on. 4. Email yourself (cc: others) necessary documents rather than print them out and carry them. For example: your itinerary, emergency contacts, and presentation materials. 5. Ship items you purchase or pick up at conferences to your home or office rather than try to pack and carry them.
Make a list of 3-5 things you would do with an extra 15 minutes in your day.
Take advantage of those rainy days and pick one project you would like to start and finish. It’s important that when you finish, you reward yourself for getting it done.* Remember the Outside In Organizer and Makeovers approach: 1. Sort – put all discards into recycle, shred immediately. 2. Keep – is it something that requires action? If so, put it into your tickler system so that it is scheduled. If it is something that you need to save, Can it be scanned? ** 3. Reference – is it informational, only? If you discard it can you find it on the internet? If so, discard it. *TIP #1: Time who long it takes you to complete the task. This will give you an idea of how to schedule future projects. **TIP #2: Remember that your task is to sort, not to set up a new file system. Make that a separate project so you get this one completed. You will be more productive.
One of the many reasons why I love being an Organizer is that I can show my clients simple to use strategies to organize their lives. The Outside In Organizer and Makeovers approach looks at what is behind (or under) the problem. Not enough space? Eliminate clutter. Contain smaller items. Store items near the place they’re used. Not enough time? Audit your schedule for a full week. Look at how you spend your time. What can be eliminated? Shared? Delegated? Nothing to wear? Take everything out of your closet. Donate items that you haven’t worn in a year or more. Reorganize your closet by grouping your clothes in outfits rather than categories.
Each person has a different level of tolerance for what they think disorganization is in any given aspect of their lives. We all know individuals who can find exactly what they need at any given time when surrounded by piles of papers. We may also know people who complain that they never have enough time to get everything done. What about someone you know who has closets full of clothes and remarks that they have nothing to wear? Outside In Organizer and Makeovers offers these guiding questions to answer, “How do I know if I need to hire an Organizer?” First, begin by asking whether the situation is having adverse affect on: your health or safety? your relationships? your mental well being? your finances? Second identify specifically, how the situation may be affecting your finances and productivity: Are you late making payments, going into overdraft, incurring fees, or making duplicate payments? Are you unable to manage your mail? Are you unprepared for meetings and appointments? Do you waste gas making several trips all over town in any given day? Does it seem like your “to do” list is always growing? Third, look for patterns of behavior or perceived obstacles: Are you an organized person who is too busy, has too much to do, needs help getting a system in place? Do you find that you are able to organize a situation or space only to have it undone quickly? Are you unable to make decisions about what to keep and where and how to store it? Is it difficult or emotional to make decisions about what to donate or discard? Do you read books and magazines about how to declutter and organize but are unable to implement the ideas? Do you purchase organizing tools and supplies but rarely utilize them… read more →
Time does not magically open up. Every choice we make about how we are spending our time requires us to make the time to get it done. So think about scheduling everything that you have to do, or want to do. My clients are busy folks juggling the responsibility of home, family, career, their health, finances, volunteer work, and more. The best way to get things done is to commit to scheduling time to do them. Sounds easy, right? In fact, it’s very difficult and requires making choices and reprioritizing. We all do it throughout the course of a day but sometimes, it’s random rather than planned. Try the following: Schedule grocery shopping including travel to and from the store(s). Schedule time to check your email 1-2x a day…no more. Schedule dedicated time to call family or friends (not while cooking, watching tv, working on the computer, etc.). These are examples of just 3 necessary activities in most of our daily lives. Plan ahead, save time. I promise that you will be more productive and feel less stressed!
Everybody has the same 24 hours, 7 days a week. Why do some people seem to have more (or less) time than others? Have you heard yourself saying that you wish you had more time? The most efficient way to organize your time is to first, understand how you are using it. Sounds simple, right? It’s not, but doing it every day for one week is worth the effort if you want to optimize your time. Here is the best way to do your weekly audit: Use your calendar, or a separate piece of paper, to show 30 minute blocks of time for each day of one week. Write in standing meetings and scheduled appointments for the entire week. Write in travel to and from these meetings and appointments. Write down key words to capture what you do with every 30 minute block of time. Be honest and include all that you do…checking email, playing internet games, getting gas, showering, and so on. Next step? I’ll give you the steps to using the information that you’ve gathered. Stay tuned!