Category Archives: Time Management

Your Inbox is NOT a Task List: 5 Tips

I’ve made the switch to using Google Apps as my email client.  I’ve been pretty happy, I must admit.  It’s nice to have access anywhere and not have to deal with nursing my other application.  However, I was making one mistake that dawned on me the other day.

The inbox is NOT a task list.

Oh sure, I know for some people that works well.  But not for me, maybe not for you either.  Here’s some things that can happen if you use your inbox as a task list: Continue reading Your Inbox is NOT a Task List: 5 Tips

Simplify Your Life: Ask For Help

What chore do I hate? Cleaning out my window sill & tracks. You know why? Because until yesterday, I didn’t know you could take the sliding window out, remove the track and clean it. How simple was that? Why didn’t I know that? Because I never asked. So, the process I went thru the clean the window was not only a royal pain, but wasn’t really effective. I couldn’t clean underneath, and my gag reflex kicked in today when I saw what was under there (thank goodness for vinyl windows!).

So, what the heck does that have to do with simplifying your life? A lot! Can you imagine how much easier it would have been, how many less bumps and bruises I would have had, and how much less time I would have spent on this mundane project if I would have known there was a much easier way? Well, my knuckles are all intact, but for argument sake, let’s talk about time:

Old way: 45 minutes per window, labor intensive, hated doing it so I avoided it (being honest)

New way: 15 minutes per window, very simple and fast to do, didn’t love doing it but definately won’t avoid it in the future

What does that mean? It means I saved myself 30 minutes per window (I have 12) and I now don’t hate doing this chore, hence I will do it more often.

What does that mean for you?

Well, think about a chore you hate to do. Since one of the subjects of this blog is organizing, let’s use that one. Say you’re struggling with your home office, and good grief, it is driving you crazy. So, you cope. You stack up the papers, avoid filing and generally go day after day trying to work in an office that you basically hate. You feel hopeless because what you’ve done in the past hasn’t worked. Instead, you could….

… ask a friend for help (who happens to have a rockin’ home office)

… form a “support group”, make a commitment to each other, help each other out with organization projects

… read a book like “It’s Hard To Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys”, by Marilyn Paul

… check out flylady.net for helpful tips to get you going

… subscribe to my e-newsletter!

Progress, Not Perfection

One question I am asked when meeting someone new is “So, what do you do?”.   More often than not, when I tell them I am an Organization Consultant, they ask a handful of questions such as: “Oh, you’re one of those people with all your spices alphabetized?” (This one happens to be true.)  Or “I would love to see your house.  I bet it’s perfect!”  *insert awkward silence here*

Perfection, Shmerfection. Continue reading Progress, Not Perfection

I’m Hardly Ever On Time

photo by Caitlinator on flickr.com

I’ll admit, I hate trying to be on time.  It’s hard to do, and most times it’s downright impossible.  Now, before you get all up in arms, let me explain with I mean.

Getting there on time is overrated.

Let’s say you have a 3pm appointment.  So, you know it takes 30 minutes to get there.  You are prudent and build in a little time cushion, and you get in your car 45 minutes before the meeting, AKA 2:15.  Then, you hit a traffic backup, you get a flat tire or you get a hang nail… whatever.  Something gets in your way, and alas, you are late and definitely not on time.

Don’t be on time, be super-early.

Let’s take that 3:00 meeting again.  Instead of trying to stroll into that meeting at the stroke of 3:00, trying being there really, really early.  I do this whenever possible.  Here’s that I do:

  • Be prepared. Take a bag, throw in a notebook, something to write with, a project or two, a book and the laptop.  You have work to do anyway, and if you work from home, I’ll bet it doesn’t matter much where you are when you do it.
  • Are you going to work online or offline? That will determine where to go: the actual meeting location OR a nearby wifi hotspot.
  • Set out 2 or 3 times earlier than when the meeting starts. For a 3:00 meeting, I’d shoot for being there about 1-2 hours early.
  • Oh, look at that, I’m already here. Then, when the meeting starts, you’re already there.  No stress, and you even get some things done.

How about you?  Are you on time or early?


photo by Caitlinator on flickr.com

6 Steps to Destress

Feeling stressed?  Maybe there is something you should or shouldn’t be doing.  If you’re shouldering your share of stress, here’s some tips to help you de-stress and take a load off.

  1. Do something that makes you happy. When was the last time you did something you truly enjoy? Read a book that wasn’t work-related (ok, so I’m guilty of this). Go take a walk just because, and notice how beautiful a flower can be. Go to coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Play a card game with your spouse or partner without the TV. Go see a movie.
  2. Stop and think about what is stressing you out, and how you can alleviate the problem. Beth, of My Simpler Life Blog wrote beautifully on this, so I’ll link it HERE, because I couldn’t have written it better myself!
  3. Simplify Your Life. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – simplify your life.  It’s east to let stuff (tangible or otherwise) take over and accumulate.  Sometimes you have to edit your life and get rid of things that are not making sense, or making you unhappy.  Is it easy?  Sometimes not, but having the courage to take control of your own life is worth your sanity in the long run.  (Incidentally, if you haven’t read Seth Godin’s new book, The Dip, I highly recommend it! It gives great tips on quitting, and what that means for you in the long run.)
  4. Will this matter in 5 years? A good, and ahem, more experienced friend of mine gave me some great advice several years ago: when faced with the day to day stuff, ask yourself, “will this matter in five years?”  If the answer is no, then don’t sweat it.
  5. Concentrate on what is good in your life, and how to attract more of the good. Almost everyone on the planet is talking about The Secret, and for good reason.  Concentrate on what is good in your life, and you will attract more of it to you.  What you think about it, you will bring to your life – so make your thoughts good ones!
  6. Review this list. A great list from Jobacle on 50 things you can do to destress.  Take 5 minutes to read it.  You won’t be sorry!

Spend More Time With Loved Ones in the New Year

New Year Resolution #6:
Spend More Time with Loved Ones

8 Days of Resolutions

This series is all about the top New Year Resolutions. One of those is “Get Organized”. Have you ever made this resolution? How did it go? Did you do a “crash & burn” weekend on Jan. 2nd and everything was back to the way it was by Jan. 10th? Try using organization as a tool for whatever change you desire. You may surprise yourself!

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Spending time with those we love is something to strive for.  It never seems to be enough, even when we make it a priority.  Extra appointments on the schedule, events we’ve committed to and other things get in the way.  Or do they?

It’s not the quantity, but rather the quality.

How do you remember your childhood?  I remember moments of happiness:  seeing my parents in the stands at a volleyball game, sharing a holiday meal or tearfully hugging my little sister at the airport when I left for a year abroad as an exchange student.  I’ll bet you can remember some of those things too.  I believe in making moments special, and being truely engaged in that moment. Here’s some ways to spend some quality time, and really being “in the moment”:

1.  Plan for it.  Get chores done, wash the clothes, put things away, whatever.  If it’s on your mind, and you can do it quickly, take care of it.

2.  Turn off distractions. The “always on” cell phone can be really distracting (I get it, really I do) so put it on vibrate in another room for a period of time.

3.  Quit procrastinating and start acting.  If you can’t spend time with those you love because life is out of control, take action.  Get control of your action paper, find a way to focus each day or discover and address what is really bothering you.  Get to the heart of the matter, so you can breathe and enjoy life.

What can you do so you can spend more time with your loved ones?

Greetings StashButtonedUP Birthday BookGIVEAWAY ALERT! Want to win the ButtonedUP Birthday.book &-Greetings.stash? Leave a comment below, sharing your resolution and how you could use organization to help you achieve it. Enter by 1/10/2010! (Read the ButtonedUP giveaway & special reader discount details here.)

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Simplicity Sweep

I read a post today that really resonated with me, and maybe it will with you too.  The author has tried many different things to organize and simplify life, and feels what she has done up to now hasn’t really worked out for her.   She knows there is something out there that will work for her, but hasn’t quite found it yet.  Man, do I know how she feels.  I commented on the post, and I wanted to elaborate here.

Rethinking time.

Reading this post was like looking in the mirror for me.  I remember feeling helpless, and I remember how it felt that those around me couldn’t really rely on me to be responsible, on time or whatever.  I was constantly late to work, social events and singing engagements.  Not exactly a recipe for success.  However, I’m also a naturally inclined perfectionist.  I remember an “aha” moment for me about perfectionism when I heard (on the Oprah show) that many people who are late are perfectionists and over-achievers.  (!!!)  Meaning, the reason they are late is they know they can do one more thing before they go: clean one more thing, put one thing away, make one more phone call…  Wow, did that hit home with me.  I realized that the time it takes to do something is really twice the amount of time I wanted it to take.  So, I started doubling my estimates of time.  What a difference that made!

I titled this post “Simplicity Sweep”.  I wanted to give you some insight to when it might be time for you to do one in your own life, home, business, home office, etc.  You might need a “Simplicity Sweep” if…..

….. you are getting that “heavy feeling”. Ever feel overwhelmed, tired and not know why?  Your body and spirit weigh down your shoulders.

….. you feel overwhelmed.  You look at your schedule for the day and think, man, how did it get like this.

….. you feel anxious, you don’t feel good and don’t know why.  Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate and get back to what really matters.

….. you can’t seem to “get it all done”.  It feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and you know that if you just had a few more you could get it all done.  (Reality check: Not gonna happen.)

All of these things can signal that it’s time to do something. Simplicity can be a state of mind, but it’s also an action, a verb.  It’s something you do consciously.  Living consciously helps you see clearly, and simplicity can be part of that bigger picture.

So, is it time for a “Simplicity Sweep” in your life?

Big Decisions, Opportunities and Things to Consider

Have you ever had an incredible opportunity land in your lap? Have you been faced with moving to another town or another big life change? How do you keep your sanity with all this change? Life changes, and sometimes in wonderful big ways. It’s all in how we look at handling it. So, how can you prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed? I’ve got three suggestions to help you simplify your life when something grand rolls your way:

  1. Is it a great opportunity for you: So, that big promotion or business opportunity comes your way. It’s a big one, and you know it’s great. The question is, does this opportunity make sense for you? Many people get into situations or “force it” . Things like buying a bigger house or car than they can really afford. Down the line these things can bite you in the the you-know-where, so make sure this opportunity feels right and makes sense for you and your situation.
  2. Balance: So, you’ve decided to take the offer, and you know it’s right for you. However, your plate full. Time to think about some elimination. Do you need to downsize in some other areas of your life to make room? Balance means whatever you take it to mean, and you know when you don’t have balance. 😉
  3. Sometimes, sacrifice comes with great opportunity. With the presidential race this year, I am fascinated by it all. What a thrill it is to run in that race, actually get elected and reach the seat or Mr. or Ms. President! I also think about the family of the candidates. They are also giving a considerable sacrifice of privacy and one crazy schedule. Inevitably, something will have to go so you can maintain balance and peace of mind. Make sure you’re taking on what you can actually handle, or your great opportunity can end up a great stresser instead of an opportunity of a lifetime.

Take some time to think things through, and make the best decision with the information you are given. If you go into it with your eyes wide open, you’re sure to get farther. One thing about life is certain, and that’s change. Doors close in one area and open in another. Keep a look out for the ones that have your name on it. 🙂


8 Days of Resolutions: Organized to Change

Resolutions: we’ve all made them and broken them.  Is there a tool we can use to make them stick?  Perhaps.

Last year I did a series on small steps for organizing your office.  This year, I’m bringing the series back, with a little different flavor….

What’s your resolution?

8 Days of ResolutionsWe’ve all made resolutions, and we’ve all fallen off the wagon at one point or another.   One of the most popular New Year Resolutions is “Get Organized”.  Did you know organization can help you accomplish your resolution throughout this coming year, no matter what it is?  Ok, so we’ll leave off the “Quit Smoking” & “Quit Drinking” ones, but the others are fair game.

Organization is a powerful tool for change. Continue reading 8 Days of Resolutions: Organized to Change