Get a head start on preparing for the holidays. Why wait when you can organize and plan ahead? Organizing tools such as lists and calendars make planning all year long much easier. That’s right, all year long! Make separate lists of what tasks need to get done for a specific holiday and work backwards from the date(s) of the holiday. Identify what needs to be bought, for whom, prepared ahead, and so on. List who you need to buy gifts for and who the gift will have to be mailed or shipped to if they are not local. Remember to keep your lists and update them each year. More tips to follow…
It’s not simply a list of things to do. It’s an evolving list of what to do, who to contact, when to do it, who can help, what is my budget, and what do I need to have in order to move in the most organized and efficient manner. TIP: Develop categories for your list and prioritize according to timelines. Start with the date of the move and then work backwards. Perform 1-3 tasks every day, beginning today so that you are not overwhelmed at the end. If it is on your organized moving list, it won’t be missed! What can I do to help you?
School is starting and NOW is the time to get your kids organized. What are their priorities? Homework, rest, exercise, recreation, nutrition, and time to socialize with family and friends. Do they have these priorities scheduled? Even young children can take responsibility for their schedules and making choices. You can teach your children to do this by first, scheduling time to sit down and review their priorities. Giving them structured choices builds their investment in the process and gives them a sense of independence. Review their schedules as they use them and tweek, as necessary. Becoming more organized is a life skill that serves us all well.
Feel better on the inside when you get your external space in order. Reduce the stress of wasting time looking for things. Helpful hint: Put your things in a designated place and stick to it. Make it convenient, visible, accessible to where you will need it. Think about how you will spend your time instead of wasting it looking for your keys…your cell phone…your eyeglasses. Reward yourself after following this system by spending the same amount of time doing something good for yourself. How about 5 minutes of stretching? How about soaking your feet in warm water for 5 minutes while you’re reading a magazine? How about sitting quietly for 5 minutes and focusing on your breath? Increase your energy by beginning to clear space for energy to flow. Think about the first thing that you see when you walk into a room or your office? How does it make you feel? If it has a positive effect don’t mess with it! If it makes you sigh, slump, or causes a knot in your stomach it’s time to make a change. Helpful hint: start by clearing just one thing that would make a noticeable difference. Is it a pile of unpaid bills? Invest in an attractive sorter or accordian file that is numbered and sort the unpaid bills according to due date. Idea: file them a week before they’re due so you’re never late! You’ll feel lighter, more in control, and ready to take on the next organization task.
Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it my way”. Makes sense in almost every aspect of our lives including decluttering and organizing. One size does not fit all. If you have a system that works for you, continue to use it. If it’s not working and you keep using it expecting different or better results, maybe it’s time for doing it another way. For instance, paying bills, tracking spending, and updating your budget are generally not the most fun activities. Sometimes we procrastinate but that only creates more stress. My suggestion is to find a system that works for you and stick to it. Is it less stressful to check your balances on a daily basis? Pay your bills on a weekly or on a monthly basis? Review your spending and budget on a monthly or quarterly basis. The best way to reduce stress or anxiety is to meet the task head on. Don’t try to do all of it at once. Break the task up into small, manageable goals and schedule the time in your calendar. The most simple organization strategies can declutter your mind, reduce stress, and improve your energy.
When is the optimal time to organize the kitchen cupboards, the junk drawer, the trunk of your car, or your garage? It’s not as if you have an abundance of spare time with nothing else to do, right? In order to organize your space and the things in it you will find that you want to create the time to do it. Begin by organizing your schedule so that you can plan ahead and block out longer periods of time for the bigger projects. For smaller tasks, you can organize your schedule and commit 10-15 minutes on a specific day to complete a portion of a larger task, or a short term organizing goal. For instance, you might decide that every Saturday after breakfast you are going to sit down and organize your bills, pay those that are due in 7-10 days, and file the statements. Just 10-15 minutes and you are done, feeling a sense of accomplishment, and if you’re like me…relief!
We always make time for what is important, right? You can make time for what you want and need to do. The way to organize your time is best accomplished by actually scheduling those activities and tasks. For instance, don’t have time to get to your emails? Schedule 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening, then keep that time sacred and don’t multi task. That means that you have time to delete unimportant messages, respond to items in a timely way, and create electronic files for items that you want to keep and don’t need to print out. Make time to save time.
Time savers are intended to save you time to do the things that you enjoy, not necessarily just to get more done! What are your most successful time savers? Do you put things in the same place all of the time so that you don’t waste time looking for them? Do you store your items near the places that you use them? Do you look at your schedule on a daily basis and reprioritize? Not everything has the same time urgency. Do you feel comfortable delegating at work and at home? Saving time is an important organizational skill and like saving money, it’s a great investment in yourself.
The workplace whether it is a home office, a corporation, or a classroom is often inundated with email. We save messages, procrastinate about reading them, acting on them, and worse we print them out and leave them in piles on our desks. One way to start to organize and declutter is to establish a designated time at least once a day to read email. That means managing your time and committing to an organized schedule. Make time to save time! The next decision to make is if it is information that needs to be kept (in an electronic file), acted on, or discarded. I have more ideas that will help you organize your office! Do you get emails that can be read and don’t require a response? Do you feel like you have to respond even if it is just to say “thank you”? These days how do we define ‘courtesy’ when it comes to sending and receiving emails? And what about those list serves and group emails? We know that time is money and that both are hard to find. When you respond to an email to only say thank you it takes the recipient(s) time to open the email and read or even just visually scan the content, and then delete it (I love the ones that come back saying “you’re welcome”). When the email is sent out to a group of individuals you can multiply those seconds by the number of recipients and get an accurate assessment of the impact of unproductive time. Most messages are sent to inform and to inquire about something with no expectation of response for the latter, in other words, to share information. Most of us have been raised to be polite, and that is a wonderful skill that we don’t want… read more →