People ask me how they can get a handle on incoming mail. Outside In Organizer & Makeovers supports this basic approach: SORT PRIORITIZE CONTAIN The first thing you can do is schedule adequate, uninterrupted time to sort. Begin with one pile at a time, preferably recent mail, first. Don’t distract yourself and move from one pile to another. TIP: handle one piece of paper at a time, only once!
When I’m out and see a dog pulling it’s owner by the leash I can’t help but wonder who is walking whom? Is your email managing you and your time? Is it causing you stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed? Try this process for no less than 2 weeks: (1) Commit to checking your email no more than 2-3x/day. Schedule 10-20 minutes everyday, at specific times, and check only then! The benefits? You will feel more focused and less distracted and this alone will improve your productivity. (2) Delete junk email immediately. Unsubscribe to sites that do not have specific personal or professional value. The benefits? You will save time, money, and have more time for important communications. (3) Create a folder for “ACTION” emails. When you check email, if you can act on it quickly, do so. Move all other “action” items into the folder; these are items that have a due date and/or require more attention. The benefits? You will have an effective system for prioritizing tasks, save time looking for items, and never miss a deadline. (4) Create a folder for “REFERENCE” emails. Move items that have no due date or require any action into this folder. These are emails that look interesting and can be read later or kept for future informational purposes. Purge this folder at least monthly, if you haven’t read these items in a month they are probably not important enough to save! The benefits? Optimize your time, manage the volume of incoming emails, prioritizing improves productivity and reduces stress.
People hire POs for a variety of reasons. It’s not unusual to think that you can do it yourself and after repeated attempts (or perhaps, procrastination) realize that you need a professional to come in and help. That’s why most of us hire professionals to help us in various aspects of our personal and professional lives. Outside In Organizer & Makeovers treats each client with the utmost care. Most of my clients are organized but due a variety of life circumstances have just gotten behind with certain tasks or projects. Need someone to get you started? Help you prioritize? Hold you accountable? Do the research and look for a Professional Organizer who is trained to assess your needs, create a plan of action, and help you develop a system of organization that you can maintain over time.
At Outside In Organizer and Makeovers the approach that is used is always benefit-oriented. Will it save me time? Save me money? Reduce my stress level? Allow me to feel more in control? More focused? Only you can decide what your reason for organizing is, then let the Professional Organizer step in and make suggestions. Remember that this is typically about changing habits and behaviors. That means that it takes time and practice so that you can see how it is helping you achieve your goal(s). Here are some more great organizing tips: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning-organizing/clean-out-clutter#slide-1
It’s gratifying to see people embrace ideas and strategies that you share with them. I had an opportunity to talk with the San Diego Society of Women Engineers recently. Check out my friend Louise Julig’s blog on http://www.thoughtshappen.net/2011/09/how-do-you-really-spend-your-time-only-one-way-to-find-out.html All of us, including myself can benefit from doing a weekly time audit. Discover how you really are or are not using your time. This is powerful information that you can use for making the changes you desire!
Decluttered and organized space in your home, garage, office and even the trunk of your car has a calming effect. Sometimes my clients view it as an invitation to fill it again rather than keep it clear. So, how do you keep it uncluttered? First, acknowledge the work that you put into clearing the space and be proud of your accomplishment. Second, identify the benefits of having the space cleared. For instance, you can see the lovely granite countertop or enjoy the beauty of the wood grain on your desktop. Perhaps it’s that sense of knowing where you put things when you cleared the space and feeling calmer because you can find what you need and are less hurried. The key is to create a logical storage area or tickler system for those items that used to be piled up in the space. That way even though it’s out of sight, it’s not out of mind! Start with something simple, easy to maintain and immediately beneficial. Invest in a bill organizer with numbered slots for each bill statement. Use the drawer below for related supplies such as postage and return address labels. You can keep this compact system on your desk or counter so everything is well-managed and organized, or if you prefer more privacy you can store it in a closet that you use on a daily basis. TIP: You can place birthday cards that need to be sent out by certain dates in the slots as well, it’s not just for bills. BENEFITS: Bills are paid on time, no late fees, no clutter.
Everyone can use a little organizing, right? One common misconception is that people think that hoarding is the main reason for hiring a Professional Organizer. That is not the only reason for hiring a professional and in fact, just because someone has a lot of “stuff” doesn’t necessarily mean that they need a Professional Organizer. My San Diego and national clients range from very organized to chronically disorganized and everyone in between. The key factors in considering whether or not you might want to hire a Professional Organizer include: The disorganization that you are observing is adversely affecting one or more areas of the individual’s life. The disorganization is recognizable to the individual and not necessarily to others. The individual is ready to accept help and make change(s). I’ve met people who have desktops and countertops that entirely covered. This situation doesn’t cause them stress because they know where everything is and are able to find it without wasting time. I am not sure that clearing their desk or counter would increase their productivity and provide them with a sense of calm. On the other hand, I am working with office clients who are afraid to put piles of papers away because they will forget to do something with them. The first red flag is that they haven’t done anything with those papers in months, and the piles continue to grow larger. That is someone who could benefit in several ways from working with a Professional Organizer to develop a system with results. I have another client who is very organized and appreciates the aesthetics of an uncluttered home environment. She hired me to assess her home and provide her with ideas for reducing inventory, displaying stored items, donating unused items, and relocating items for improved access and functionality. Working with a… read more →
Multitasking is highly overrated. Trying to fit more into your day simply adds to your stress level and potentially lessens your productivity. Action: Spend no less than 30 minutes each week deciding what 3-5 actions will be your priorities during the coming week. Action: At the end of the week, before you schedule your new priorities, review whether or not you met your goals. Re-assess your priorities, the time that you allotted, and determine your next set of priorities. Remember these principles: 1. Not everything is of equal urgency…prioritize, plan, schedule. 2. Not everything must be done by you…you can delegate. 3. Determine the importance of doing one thing well versus doing many things half-heartedly…weigh acceptability versus perfectionism. Organizing and time management are processes, not finished products. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the process.