From my 20 Step Office Organizing Checklist, the task for this week is:
If your clutter is driving you crazy, try this on.
It's time for the Olympics here in Vancouver, so why not take my Olympic Organizing Challenge and be a Gold Medal Winner in your own home or office?
If your household clutter is making you crazy, here is my invitation for you.
Here is what you can do to participate:
Choose your challenge: Take a look around your home and identify areas that you want to organize and de-clutter.
Plan to succeed: Grab your note pad and make a list of your priorities and set some deadlines. (Start small if you like, perhaps only one or two specific tasks. Tip: be realistic and plan out your actions to make it happen.)
Submit your entry: ad a comment to this blog post that explains your commitment to your project, whatever it may be. (Start this post with the words: "My Challenge is:")
Participate actively: Every Saturday come and post an update and share the good news. (When posting the update, start your post with "My Update:")
The Olympic Organizing Challenge will end March 31st.
Award Certificates for GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE will go to the participants that enjoyed the best results and put in the most effort.
Just like any other service provider, professional organizers like me are here to help you save time and money. We can't always do everything by ourselves and sometimes we need help to stay on track and achieve our goals, and that's ok. If you have trouble getting started or staying on track, consider calling me and getting organized once and for all.
Accept the challenge, enjoy the feeling being organized can bring. And please remember, to pass on this information to anyone you know that can benefit from a home, an office or a life more organized.
7 Steps to a Functioning Closet
1. Consider visibility, accessibility ad flexibility when planning your closet design.
2. Measure carefully the height, depth, width, and also for the entrance to the closet too.
3. Inventory what you have and what you need more of. Hanging space, shelves, shoe racks, etc.
4. Remove the things you can do without and put seasonal clothes away, preferably in close and accessible storage.
5. Shop for what you need. Talk with a closet designer to get ideas and determine costs for special installations.
6. Put it back together, containerize and label any baskets or show boxes properly.
7. Respect it, maintain it and love it.
4 More for the Kitchen Drawers
1. Designate just one drawer to be a "Junk Drawer." For items like batteries, flashlights, tape measure, paper pad and a pen for example.
2. Sort and Purge the contents once every 6months to a year. Try to keep it for truly important things, not just a free-for-all junk collection as the name would suggest.
3. Use drawer organizers to separate and store "like" items.
4. Keep your flatware near the sink or dishwasher and your cooking utensils near the stove.
Do you feel like you are spinning your wheels and not getting the important things done and is this starting to stress you out? I think a good many people feel like this much of the time, as most of us could agree information comes at us at high speed and many demands are made on our time and resources. This goes for just about everyone, from busy mom’s to busy business owners alike.
Here are 6 tips to help with planning time better and get more out of your busy week.
1. Get up early.
Remember the old saying “early to bed, early to rise”? Well I find that for me I enjoy getting up before my fiancé as I can quietly work on tasks alone for an hour or so, and get a good jump start to my day. I can also take a few moments to get prepared for whatever I need to do that day.
2. Use the time matrix to stay on top of priorities.
The gift of the Tiger Tables, which is based on the Time Matrix concept, that I give to everyone in my Tidy Times community is a tool I use myself much of the time, especially when I feel I have more on my plate than I can handle. Sometimes I just use a blank sheet of paper to make my list using the matrix concept, showing you it doesn’t have to be pretty to be effective. If you struggle to know what to do next because there are so many things you have going try using this regularly and see how much clearer your priorities become.
3. Use Sunday night as a time to strategize.
Spend about 15-30 minutes on Sunday night to look over your appointments and tasks for the coming week. Perhaps book the time with your significant other too so you are both aware of what is going to be happening in the week and can find solutions together should any conflicts in timing arise.
4. Get realistic about time and block what you need.
The funny thing about time is how our perception can be skewed about how longs things will actually take us. If it’s something we enjoy we tend to think we can do it faster and not block enough time, and if it’s something we hate we think it will take to long and may put it off. When planning your tasks try to think of how long each step of the task will take and don’t forget to account or interruptions. Giving yourself a buffer will give you room to breath and if you do find you finish the task early you can always work on something extra in between times.
5. Use a timer to stay on track.
Sometimes I can get so involved in something I just can’t break away. If I know I can push off something else that is not a priority I don’t sweat it too much yet if I really need to be careful about getting to the next task or appointment on time I break out the good old egg timer from the kitchen. This handy little device has saved me from myself on many occasions, not to mention how helpful it has been from preventing me from burning my food as well.
6. Group errands and like tasks together.
Like with objects, grouping like things together makes good sense. So rather than running out for this today and that tomorrow, work your errands around so that you can get more done in less time. As they say “Kill two birds with one stone”. Oh gees, I hope I don’t get into hot water with fellow animal lovers over that one. It is after all just a figure of speech. For example when I know I will be in a certain part of town for work during the week I plan a visit to shops on that route for my needs in the upcoming week or days after.
So now that you have these 6 tips I have shared with you may be thinking that you have some great ones to share also. If you wish to share your time management strategies that work for you I would love to hear them and I’ll bet so would the rest of my readers.
Send your suggestions in 500 words or less, how they work for you in your life and in your business and perhaps they will show up in a Time Management issue of Tidy Times.
Do you have too many emails and can’t get to everything, yet don’t want to leave your co-workers and clients hanging wondering if you even opened their email? Then like with the mail you should open and decide on each message right away and preferably over the trash.
If you find yourself reading all your emails in a row and then afterwards re-reading the important ones and only then respond or perhaps sometimes letting hours or days pass before returning them or forgetting about them altogether try applying the “one-touch” rule.
For example, if an email comes in that requires no return mail and no follow up file it away in its appropriate folder or delete it immediately. Or if something comes in that requires you to take action soon, yet not at the very moment, make a calendar or task appointment to remind you to take action when you know you will have time, and then immediately following this file away the email into it’s appropriate folder. Here is where spending time to set up good folder systems within your email to find the emails again when you need them will become imperative.
For emails that regularly come in yet you know in advance that they will not require your immediate attention and can be put off until you require the information, such as newsletters or the odd report, set your email with a “Rule” to file away the email into the appropriate folder automatically. You can then look at it when you have time or even set a reoccurring calendar appointment to remind you to check it when you know you will have time to do so.
If you do get an email and the sender is in need of a response sooner than you know you will be able to give an appropriate one, try not to leave them stranded, wondering if their email was overlooked or forgotten, and send them a brief note as to when they can expect a proper answer. At least this way they will rest assured you have acknowledged them and will be more apt to wait patiently until they hear from you again.
As things are easier said then done, be sure that you set an appropriate reminder for yourself to get back to people when you said you would. Give yourself a bit of a buffer if you feel you need it too, because as they say “It is better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver”.
For more tips and information on email management and email etiquette start by checking out the “Top 26 Most Important Rules of Email Etiquette” http://email.about.com/od/emailnetiquette/tp/core_netiquette.htm
Are you ready for your work, your play or an emergency?
For what I do I need to be prepared with the correct tools for the job. To do this I have created and gathered a selection of tools and products that cover just about every aspect of work I hope to encounter. This image represents a good portion of these tools of my trade.
What are the tools for your trade? Do you have your sales kit ready to go with the tools and information you need? Is your office set up to enable you to work effectively with the needed supplies you use most? And what about being prepared to fill in time gaps when you are waiting on a task or sitting on hold?
To help make the most of your space and time here are a few tips...
Make a list of each type of event or encounter you may need to be prepared for. For example: Sales Presentation, Home Consultation, On-Site Work, Workshop Presentation or Association Meeting.
In each category make a list of the tools you need to bring or have available.
Print a copy of this list for easy reference in future when you need to do a quick check over in a hurry.
Gather the materials together so you know how much room you need or how big a container you need to take with you on the road.
(Now is a good time to carefully examine the value of each item and scale back where possible.)
Try to designate a particular space to hold things like your Sales Kit so that it always has a home and is ready to go when you are.
Label the containment if possible as well so that temptations to take the kit apart and use the case for other unrelated items doesn't come into play. It may in times be better to spend a few extra dollars on dedicated containment than to waste time shuffling items in and out of one.
Make a point of keeping things where they belong and schedule in time every month or so to check on your supplies and that you have stock for what you need when you need it.
Lastly, enjoy the feeling of knowing you are ready for anything!
Bonus tips: When it comes to errands and weekday routines try consolidating them. Select shops and services located between your office and home, for example, dry cleaners, pharmacy, grocery stores etc.
Carry a list of the little things to catch up on, like entering phone numbers into your cell or reading the last association newsletter you received. This way if you get stuck in a line or waiting on service you can fill the gap and get more done.
Bonus Resource: New to Tidy Tiger Resources Page
Emergency Preparedness Guide