Got the post summer closet blues?
Retirement should be an enjoyable part of life, but unfortunately for some it brings with it added stresses and strains that may tarnish the golden years.
To avoid stress in your retirement, it is best to plan well in advance for what you will need when you are no longer working and for the possibility that one day you may not be able to provide an adequate level of care for yourself.
- A good time to visit a retirement community is when there are activities on, so the potential resident can see what types of events and activities are held there and what level of participation there is.
- It is a good idea to ask management for a schedule of events and activities to determine if the community hosts the type of events in which a retiree would be interested.
A key factor in moving into a retirement community is safety and security, so asking about specific safety and security arrangements is vital.
- What arrangements are in place in the event of an emergency situation?
- What are staffing levels like at night?
- How do residents contact staff if an emergency arises?
The benefits that come from living in a retirement community are plentiful, both in terms of finance and health. In general, the cost of maintaining an independent home will be greater than the cost of moving to a retirement community. Indeed, the cost of maintaining a home can become increasingly burdensome as people age and those jobs that seniors were once able to do themselves have to be done by hired help. In a retirement community environment, the costs associated with maintenance and repairs are split between the residents. Utility costs can also fall significantly, as the retirement community can obtain a bulk plan for utility purchases.
"I don't know where to start!" or
"I don't know what to do with any of this!"
Try these 3 big first steps...
1. Spread things out a little so you are not stuck seeing the forest rather than the trees.
2. Start with items that you know what do with. Put them away immediately.
3. Pick items up one by one and force yourself to look at them.
Once you have put away the items you know what to do with you may see categories emerging.
If items don't have a home or don't fit in current location keep gathering them up in their 'like' groups.
After you have your categories of stuff sorted out you will be in a better position to gauge what else can get tossed, donated or recycled, and where the keepers should be kept.
Tip #1. Set up activity zones, such as the ones listed in my previous article called 'House Zones'. For example, group gardening supplies in one spot, tools in another, and decoration storage in their own area.
Tip #2. Look 'Up' and try using the walls to build shelving on and the ceiling for some over head storage. This will help you make better use of the space you have. Storage solutions like peg boards, clear bins, and open crates that allow for easy access are great ideas. Avoid cardboard or risk water damage, mold and bugs!
In the Home Office
Tip #1. Keep most-often used items close at hand. For example, items used daily such as a stapler, writing tools and your calendar should be kept on your desk. Other items such as tape and rubber bands that get used less often can be kept in a nearby drawer. Plastic drawer organizers work wonderfully.
Tip #2. Sort and file paperwork. There is an ART to Filing. Paperwork can fall into three categories. A stands for ACTION, R stands for REFERENCE and T stands for TRASH.
Create 4 basic folders (Labels) in your email.
- Action (To act on fast - set task appointment and reminders)
- Deferred (Things that can wait)
- Read Review (Items of interest that are not important to act on)
- References (Information you can't just Google when you need it)
Delete the garbage (Archive/Delete as needed)
- select 'All mail' and use the search feature to find oldest emails
- grab all the old emails and archive or delete
- use search filters for past Newsletters no longer wanted and delete those too
- unsubscribe to unwanted news-feeds and letters as you go
Create tasks for actionable emails
- for date specific items, create a task in your gmail calendar with reminders
- place a star on email needing action
- file actionable email under the 'Action', 'Deferred' or 'Read Review' labels
- consider using Evernote for task lists (Free to use and it can sync anywhere)
- take time to set up good task lists
- learn the 'GTD - Getting Things Done' method of productivity for the most effective task list management
File away your resource emails
- these can all get lumped into the 'References' label
- search old email and file as needed
- only keep what you can't find easily on Google whenever you want
- if you have newsletters or email that need to be read but not urgently, place them under the 'Read Review' label
Create filters & practice quick communication
- create filters as needed for future news and resources
- review old labels and consider new filters for Read Review and Deferred tasks too
- keep your email engagement down to 2 minutes each as much as possible
- if you can answer or file away an email in less than 2 minutes, do it immediately
They also will help to give you an overall feel for just how organized you really are.
All you need is 5 minutes to assess your organization...
1. Do you make time to be organized?
2. When your home / office is messy, how do you feel?
3. Can you find your keys right away?
4. Do you feel in control?
5. Are you on time for your appointments?
6. Do you use a calendar / planner to organize your events / schedule?
7. Do you use a ‘To-Do’ List?
8. Do you break down larger tasks into smaller pieces?
9. Do you know where your passport is?
10. Do you shred personal documents before throwing them out?
Want to dig a little deeper?
Take the Personal and Workplace Assessments here...
Here are two simple questions to ask about some common household items that may be lurking in the corners of your countertops, closets and drawers.
Will I bring old magazines with me to the doctors or mechanics so I can read mine instead of theirs?
What percentage of the magazines or newspapers that I pay for, do I actually read?
Have I ever browsed through a pile of old newspapers in my free time, looking for old information?
If I really needed to look for information in old newspapers, wouldn't a trip to the Library or a Google search cover my needs?
Do I remember what lock this key is for?
Do I still own or use the lock for which this key belongs?
Will I really forget how to use my toaster?
If I am keeping for warrantee reasons only, has it expired?
When was the last time I needed a whole pile of twist ties at once?
If I already have a collection of twist ties, do I need more, and for what?
Do I have a mountain of pictures of my trip that I can look to reminisce instead?
Will I ever really use that tacky novelty ashtray I bought on my last holiday?
I recognize the fact that in this world we are bombarded with paper, information and stuff and that getting overwhelmed by it is something that can happen to anyone.
Need help with letting go, getting organized and becoming more effective and relaxed? I will be happy to help you simplify your life and your work today.
If you are in the Ottawa and Lanark County area, contact me for a consultation. 613-452-2233
Visual reminders can be helpful, yet when they get used for too many things they become clutter.
This clutter makes us feel overwhelmed, breaks our focus and can make us lose sight of our top priorities.
We tend to think 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind', yet let's consider the role of the 'To-Do' list to help us to remember what our priorities are instead.
Writing down our tasks and then putting away the file or project to where it belongs means we will remember to do it.
My gift of Tiger Tables and the Time Matrix tools that I share with my newsletter readers is great for keeping priorities clear. They should be used in conjunction with your day-planner.
If you don't have a copy, please sign up on my home page now and get your free gifts today.
And remember to make sure that if a task is truly important, if it has a deadline, and if it will take more than 20 minutes, that you put it in your calendar. 'Getting the Stones Down' as they say.
If you having trouble, are overwhelmed and need help to get started in the right direction, contact me anytime.
2. Prioritize your tasks and make a 'To Do" list everyday. Break your tasks down based on their Value and Deadline so you can easier gage what your top priorities are. As well as having this To-Do list, take time to schedule your tasks into the calendar or planner. Getting real about time and when you will do it makes it more likely that you will get it done on time.
3. Plan your week on Sunday. When making your plan for the week, try to group 'like' tasks together. If you have errands and tasks that can be grouped together you can save a lot of time. Take up to a 1/2 hour on Sunday to review on paper what your obligations are for the week ahead, this is one of the best organizing strategies.
4. Create filing systems (Paper and Electronic) that suit your needs. Everyone is a little different in they way the process information. When it comes to file systems, although for the most part they can be similar, there are lots of variations in setting them up. There are even choices to be made when it comes to what you keep as 'paper' and what you keep 'electronically.' Regardless of the system you use, it must be easy to maintain and allow you to find what you need quickly.
5. Dedicate space for your business. If you have an actual office, a converted closet, a spare bedroom or an office nook in the kitchen, the space needs to be dedicated to business. A place where you can work on your tasks and have what you need close at hand, avoiding distractions.
6. Become a student of Organization. If you don't already have a file or a 'favorites' folder on organizing, maybe now is a good time to start one. Read articles and books on time management and organization. Attend seminars, telecasts and try to get your hands on as much good material on this subject as you can. To ingrain the material into your subconscious you should go over the materials 6-8 times.
Too busy or overwhelmed to get started?
Live in Lanark County or Ottawa area?
Call me and we can work together hands on getting you going in the right direction. 613-452-2233
Time to get down to basics. Here is one way to clear out what you don't need without having to worry about purging too quickly.
- Start by pulling out all of your kitchen utensils from the drawers.
- Separate the basics that you 'must have' from the rest.
- The things you rarely use or have very limited function should now go into a box, just big enough to hold them.
- Then go ahead and mark this box with an expiry date of either 6 months or 1 year from the date you do this.
- After you have done this put the box away in a location you can access if you need to, but out of the kitchen and out of the way.
- As time goes by after this clean up and you find yourself needing something from that box, go ahead and remove it from the box, but only the one item you need and then reseal the box.
- Be careful to only do this when you actually need something and nothing else you already have will work.
- Be mindful not to purposefully create a need just so you can pull out a utensil. When the expiry date you chose for that box is reached,now you can take the entire box, without opening it, and donate it.
- Doing this will give you the best idea of what you actually use, and what is clutter.
Much like the idea for the kitchen, this little trick works great for the wardrobe.
- Take all of the clothes that you have on hangers and flip the hangers backwards in the closet.
- As time passes and you you wear an item, wash it afterwards and when you are done go ahead and hang it on the closet rod the proper way.
- After one year, allowing yourself time to get through the seasons, donate whatever is still facing the wrong way.
- With the exception a very occasional formal wear this will show you what you actually use and what you do not wear.
So much of what we bring into our homes has packaging we ultimately have to deal with. Finding a home for this in our kitchens can be a challenge, so I suggest creating a disposal center in the garage, making it easy to deposit things into as you come and go.
- In your garage set aside some room for a recycling and trash area.
- Each time you leave your car take with you any trash and recyclables and deposit them in this recycling/trash area.
- It will be a good idea to set it up in a way that will accommodate your household needs as well, as getting all of your trash and recycling in one area is ideal.
- Engage the rest of your family to help you not only keep the car and garage clean but to move recyclables and trash from the household into the trash and recycling area.
It is much easier to keep things current when you can discard things you no longer need quickly and efficiently. To help you and your family members discard items that are no longer needed, set up a donation center in your house.
- Use a large cardboard box, or invest in a nice large laundry basket to create donation center that you can easily drop things into.
- This donation center can be in a closet, kept in the corner of a bedroom, or place in the garage.
- When someone goes to put on some clothes that no longer fit, or discovers that they no longer want or need something, it can go straight into the donation bin.
- Keeping a clearly marked bin like this in each closet will help prevent things from going back into the laundry pile by mistake.
- Donate all the items once the box is full
Gadgets and cables can get out of control fast in a world where technology is everywhere. If you're tripping over cables and have gadgets stuffed into every available corner it's time for a clean up.
- First, go on a mission around your home to collect every random cord, electrical item or charger that is not in use.
- Go through the box to determine what has value and be sure to mark them properly so that you will know what they are for in the future.
- Whatever you are not using should be donated or safely recycled.
- Many regional recycling depots will take items of this sort for no cost.
When you are organizing it may seem like a good idea to attempt to organize two or more room at the same time, but this is not always productive. It's best if you can focus your energy on one room, or one space at a time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to work in that space as Rome was not built in a day. Your big organizing projects will likely not be completed in a day, so be sure to continue to schedule time to work on your spaces as needed until they are finished.
One in, one out
I know that you have heard this before. The old 'One In, One Out' rule. Employ this rule to keep your stuff under control. If your shoes wear out and you must buy a new pair to replace them, go ahead and make sure you throw the old one out. If you are buying a new item, clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, etc., the old one must be donated or discarded.
'Back to school' will be right around the corner, soon enough however, and there are lots of things parents can do ahead of time to reduce the stress that is sure to bubble up as the first day of school approaches.
Here are my top 11 picks for this years 'Back to School' Pre-Planning Checklist.
1. Update Your Calendar
2. Think Back to Plan Ahead.
3. Arrange for Sunday Night Planning Sessions
5. Make a Sick-Day Game Plan
4. Plan Care and After-school Services
6. Stock Up Supplies
7. Create a Homework Centre
Gather up the typical supplies needed for homework and check out your local craft supply stores to find some nice options for you to utilize. Try to get a container that can easily be grabbed for homework. Like this one...
8. Create a Morning Launch Pad
Click back to this post to "Create a Central Station to Conquer the Morning Mayhem"
9. Back Up the Lunch Money
10. Clear Closet Clutter
Go through what's left and make a list of what you'll need to shop for.
11. Stock the Freezer
If you have any back-to-school tips that have worked for you, I'd love to hear them. Good luck all of you in the new school year!
Here is an easy way to have fun and create a nifty art storage case for your child's art projects.
Not only is this a practical exercise, it is also a great way to spend quality time with the kids.
Be sure to allow them a chance to get crafty and help decorate it as you build it.
As you put the it together have the kids sort their artwork and maybe decide to let go a few of their less favorite pieces. Narrowing down their collection to the ‘Best of the Best’ will help ease clutter and leave you all with their best works to praise over and over again.
Once you create the case, by simply folding the construction paper together and sealing up the sides, cut a handle in it if you like.
Then when you have the main part together, the kids can decorate it! Depending on their age you may need to help, but either way let them get their creativity going and have fun!
Here's all that I used to make this one:
- 4 large sheets of construction paper (Cost: $4.00 at my favorite local Dollar Store)
- Scissors & Tape
- White glue
- Ribbon for frills
- A little imagination
You don't have to stop with one. At approximately $1 per sheet, you can make many more and not break the bank. For example you can make one for each school year, and for each child (if you have multiple children). You can even create one to hold more craft paper for future works.
Safety Tip: Remember to watch when using a stapler that you tape the seam up to prevent any snags on clothing or little fingers. Ouch!
More Important Tip: Have Fun!
& if you want to share your creation afterwards, I would be thrilled to see them and post them to my blog and perhaps newsletter. I relish the thought of getting to see just how creative my readers are!
Keep doing what you're doing, and keep getting what you're getting. Growth happens when you change things. Change is part of life so go beyond your comfort zone and try new things.
Make the most out of the resources you have.
Life is not about having access to countless resources and stuff. Exploit the resources you have. Ask yourself what resources you have access too that you are not using to your best advantage.
Identify the lesson in every situation.
People you meet, circumstances you encounter, etc. They are all part of the learning experience we call life. When things don't go your way, it could mean something better may come along. The lessons we learn as we go may be important to the next step.
Learn and practice skills.
Self-reliance is a vital key to a productive and healthy life. Being a 'jack of all trades' means you will be better equipped to handle what life throws at you. Besides, learning new skills can be fun!
Embrace problems as a natural part of growth.
People lose jobs, get sick, and sometimes die in accidents. The smart thing to do may often times be the hardest, which is to be tempered in our reaction to these life events. Remember that rage only makes matters worse, and even tragedy can provide us opportunity to grow stronger.
Start applying ideas after you have a clean bathroom. You might even want to clean it up before the ideas start – the need for repairs may arise as well after all is clean and shiny, and all the flaws become obvious. Gear up, equip yourself with a mop, sponge, wipe, and cloth, and some cleaning products and wipe away at the dirt and grease. If you do not have the patience or time to do it, there is a simpler solution – hire a trustworthy house cleaning company to do it for you. Professional household cleaners will do the job faster than you, though it will cost you. While at it, think about doing a whole house cleaning as well. Domestic cleaning is a tough job, so why not let somebody else do it.
Now think about what goes where. Since this is the bathroom, you have a limited amount of options – sponges and shampoos go near the bathtub or near shower stands or racks, toothbrushes and paste go on the sink or in the cabinet above it; mirrors go above the sink; and toilet paper goes near the toilet bowl. Basic and simple.
This is where the ideas come in. You might be an eccentric that wants more mirrors for a more spacey feel for the room. Or why not a different-colored bathroom than the usual white/gray/blue ones. The options for variety are many.
You may think practical as well. Add a small cabinet near the toilet bowl to store more paper in case somebody forgets to place a new roll after finishing the last one. Have more space in the cabinet for toothpaste so that you can store more tubes and spare yourself the time and effort of going to the convenience store or supermarket. Place a curtain around your showering area to prevent the splashes of water to wet your whole bathroom while showering. Add a colorful curtain as well. Make the place more vibrant.
If you want to make the bathroom a safer place, put some handles around the areas that get easily wet – mostly around the shower or bathtub. A small handle on the wall can be the difference between a clumsy recovery and a nasty spill to the floor.
It is generally a good idea to have a cabinet where you can store all the bathroom-related items: bars of soap and shampoos, toiler paper, cleaning products, etc. Have a separate corner for the cleaning gear, too: rubber gloves, mops, brushes, and so on.
Use your imagination to make the most practical bathroom you can have. Just make sure everything is safe and at arm’s length, and all is fine.
The 3 types of files every business should have
1. Long Term files
The memory banks of the company. This will include permanent tax files and any financial records. It can also include things like your business plan.
2. Short Term files
Your primary tools in everyday workflow. These can be checklists, projects in the works, pricing quotes etc, etc.
3. Support Files
These files support everyday workflow. The materials used in these processes are created temporarily and are used to get the job done only.
8 tips to make things a lot easier,
no matter what kind of files you are working with.
2. Create a "Information Map" showing layout and the logical relationships between various file sections. (Keep this handy for all to see)
3. Use "Visual Helpers" such as colour coding, well labelled cabinets etc.
4. Separate unnecessary information so that it doesn't become stored.
5. Active files should be routinely purged and Inactive to be archived. (Use a well established system and archive consistently using that system)
6. Don't let "To Be Filed" piles grow, never more than a week should go by before the pile is completely filed correctly.
7. In large offices there should be a card placed in files place when a worker removes the file. This way anyone else looking for it will know where it is.
8. Break down larger files into manageable sections. (for example a large project may have several sections like, payment records, scheduling, correspondence, floor plans, contacts list etc.)
- Start with kitchen cleaning. It is always better to organize all your things once the room is clean and tidy and ready to take everything in. Not to mention that a good cleaning service will freshen up the place, so that’s two birds with one stone.
- A completely optional choice is to use a professional and reliable cleaning agency. This will save you half the work as the professional cleaners will put the shine to your kitchen and all that will be left to do is organizing it.
- Empty everything. Yes, everything. Ironically, the key to de-cluttering is to clutter up everything in the middle of the room first. Take out all the things from the cabinets and drawers, off the shelves, and off the fridge. Now you know with how much items you are dealing with, as well as how much space you have
- Use a checklist. Also optional – but you may like to know specifically what you own. You can sort the checklist as well – surely not everything from the pile of clutter is something you need. There are things you use often, seldom, rarely or never. Consider donating the things you don’t and won’t use. They will only take up space in the kitchen – less things to go through when looking for something is always a good idea.
- Use racks. If you don’t have any, you could install some – they are always useful for pans and cooking utensils, and the items you hang on them won’t take up space in the drawers.
- Organize your drawers. There are useful sets that you can use, with different sections for the different type of utensil. Use them to relieve yourself from the constant searching through spoons to find a fork.
- Put smaller containers in bigger containers. As long as you can remember what goes where, this is a good way to save space for new items or decorations.
This room always needs some cleaning, tidying or reorganizing, but there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. Working on different projects can be a real fun, especially if you are doing it with your children. And seeing their happy looks after all the work has been done is a prize for your efforts.
If your goal is to provide the kid’s room with a completely new appearance, it is a good idea first to choose a theme and follow it during the whole process. This will make your work a lot easier and will ensure great results. Respect your children’s opinion when picking the room’s concept, because this will be their place and it’s very important that they feel comfortable and happy in it.
Do not reject their ideas – a football playground, mini zoo or a flower garden, in the beginning they may sound unachievable to you, but you will be surprised how many interesting solutions will come up to your mind.
But what comes next? There are plenty of toys, books, clothes and shoes and all of them wait to be gathered and arranged, an important and often tough task. You can simplify it by following this logic – the more your child uses something, the lower level you should storage it at. There is absolutely no point in putting something your kid needs daily in a place too high to reach. Adults often forget to think like children and that is the main reason for their mistakes when it comes to the design of a kid’s room.
A great idea is to put labels as much, as possible. You can use plastic boxes, cardboard ones or whatever containers you want, just label them and wait for the benefits. This will not only help your children clean and organize their belongings more effectively, but it will be also very useful for improving their reading skills. For smaller kids you can use pictures at first (e.g. socks, shirts) and start writing the words next to them after a while. You can even play a matching labels game with the kid, while picking up toys from the ground.
Magnetic holders for toy cars – put them on the wall and your child will have both well organized toys and additional decoration for the room. Deal with the problem of constantly scattered Lego pieces – create a set of containers for each color and make your child put the pieces in the right one every time after playing. Involving the kinds into the cleaning process is also a great way for learning the different colors. It is also very useful to have some transparent jars or boxes for small things like hair accessories, pastels or puzzle pieces, so that they can be easily seen and put back in their places after.
There is no time like the present to get started...
You can start here, and find your next best read!
Here is a great place to start.
There are many sources of good information on the topic of organizing, getting organized at home or work, and productivity. To help motivate and inspire you on your journey to becoming more organized I have started with a small list of my favorite reads.
PRODUCTIVITY & TIME MANAGEMENT:
- Getting Things Done - by David Allen
- Eat That Frog! - by Brian Tracy
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Stephen R. Covey
- Time Management From the Inside Out - by Julie Morgenstern
- The Disorganized Mind. Coaching your ADHD brain to take control of your time, tasks & talents - by Nancy A Ratey
- Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder - by Susan C. Pinsky
DECLUTTERING & ORGANIZING:
- Organizing From the Inside Out - by Julie Morgenstern
- SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life - by Julie Morgenstern
- Get Your Act Together, A 7 day get organized program - by Pam Young & Peggy Jones
PAPERS & FILE ORGANIZING:
- Taming the Paper Tiger at Home - by Barbara Hemphill
- Taming the Paper Tiger at Work - by Barbara Hemphill
MEETINGS, NEGOTIATING & BUSINESS OPERATIONS:
- ON TRACK: Taking Meetings From Good to Great - by Leslie Bendaly
- Roberts Rules of Order, in Brief - by H.M. Robert III, W.J> Evans, D.H. Honemann & T.J. Balch
- The Power of Ethical Persuasion, Winning through understanding at work and at home - by Tom Rusk
- The E-Myth Revisited - by Michael Gerber
- Lean Six Sigma for Dummies - by John Morgan & Martin Brenig-Jones
So here we all are, all on the same time line, all subjected to having only 24 hours a day to work with. Factor in sleep, grooming, cooking, eating, traveling and working, and what do we have left? Well for most it's about 2-3 hours a day. That's about 8-12% of the day during an average work week. Not much is it?!
We all want our share of the cake though, don't we? We all want to be able to enjoy the time we have and make more time for the things we enjoy, right?
My question then is what price are we willing to pay? How about taking less time to sleep, less time to prepare healthy meals, or how about less time to work? What ever it is, there is going to be a trade off. The real question is what to do, or not to do.
1. Create a master list of everything you need to do.
When you have your list complete, you will need to break it down into order of priority. Factor in the value of each item and any important deadlines. Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that will happen if this doesn't get done?
2. Label and rank your items and make a to do list for each day.
Give yourself some high priority, medium and low priority items to do each day.
3. Break down complicated tasks into smaller bite sized pieces.
Giving your self a large and daunting task to do all at once that you know you can't get done can tend to prevent you from ever starting it in the first place.
4. Add some fun to the mix.
Work with a partner, turn on some favorite tunes and take breaks to step away for a moment or two so you can come back fresh each time. You can even try to play "beat the clock" and make tasks a bit of a game.
5. Enlist the help of others.
Give them clear instructions on what needs to be done and how. When doing this, be prepared for the fact that sometimes others may not do things as perfectly as you would have done. Remember, when there is room for slack, give up on perfection.
6. Put limits on what you say yes to.
In other words; "Don't let Others Should on You."
For instance, do you ship packages? Use a computer? Use a bulky paper cutter? Scrapbook? Sew?
Some activities can be done in the same spot, while others need more or specialized space. For instance, if you often use your paper cutter and your binding machine on the same project, you'll probably want enough room to use both at once. If you use your paper cutter for long periods of time, you'll probably find it helpful to have a counter-height cutting area so you don't have to bend over the paper cutter while you use it.
Assess the furniture and organizing supplies you already have. Does what you have work?
Based on the list you made, what do you need to add? Does what you have fit well? Is it too large? Too small?
Remember, you can put together a home office without spending a lot of money, so for this step, don't let budget considerations restrict you when making your list of what you may need to add.
That said generally the one thing that is set in stone is the space you have to work with. When making your list try to keep in mind the size and shape of your room, along with any restrictions the space may have (for instance, the wall of windows that lets in great light but means you can't have a wall of bookcases on that wall).
Do of course 'Think Up' when you can. Meaning when considering some areas it may be feasible and suitable to build organized units that reach the ceiling, so you can maximize your space.
Small office, large office, home business or just a place to work on your goals and take care of your finances, this post can be used essentially as your checklist to create the office space that works with what you already have, as much as possible.
Think about the features of the room carefully when playing with ideas.
For example think about ways to ensure that windows won't cast a glare on your computer monitor. If your home office has a great feature like a view or fireplace, keep that in mind as you sketch the floor plan so that you can ensure you get to enjoy that feature.
After you've sketched out your plan, it's time to make a life sized "model."
That's right, you're going to actually arrange your office and do a trial run.
Don't buy anything new just yet, but do feel free to "borrow" furniture from other rooms. For instance, a chest of drawers from the bedroom can make a great stand in in the office for a credenza.
Before you buy anything new, whether that be organization supplies or new pieces of furniture, live with what you have set up as close to your plan as possible for at least a week. Depending on your work schedule, you may want to use the temporary set up for longer than that. How does it work? What needs to be rearranged? Make tweaks until it's perfect.
It's time to fill in the gaps. You're ready to head off to the stores and purchase what you need whether that be storage boxes or furniture pieces.
If you have a really small budget, head to thrift stores and ask friends/family for pieces that fit your requirements that they don't need anymore.
Depending on what you're changing in your office, perhaps you could propose a swap of furniture you don't need for furniture you do. Remember how you "borrowed" furniture from elsewhere in the house for step 4? Keep your options in mind.
Since you're decorating a home office, remember that furniture that's designed for other rooms, whether that's a kitchen buffet or a bedroom dresser can actually fit right in and be very functional.
So, when you go shopping, don't feel like you have to stick exclusively with "office" furniture.
Rather buy furniture and accessories that have the right functionality, that suit your budget, and that you like the look of.
My heart sank with those words as I was hired specifically to implement new coordinated and cost saving procedures. So there I was, left powerless by lack of support. Needless to say, I, like many others before me, had to walk away from this position.
In defense of my immediate supervisors, they were just doing the best they could. The fact was that organization and productive teamwork was not a priority for the owner. It seemed making money was the only thing that was focused on. I found that ironic, since losing money to poor organization cuts into profit and company credibility.
I was witness to thousands of dollars in losses each month, which was heartbreaking. Detailed proposals I brought forth were not supported, and even the agreed upon actions were not followed through. For example; the simple implementation of a one page order checklist, to catch costly errors before orders went to production, was turned aside and ignored. Working in this environment was too painful to continue for someone like me.
One of the best articles I recently read talks of a talented and skilled fundraiser who walked away from a position working for a state senator after only working 6 months. She was faced with a non-stop series of "emergencies" that forced her to stay late many times and things were not improving. Her boss was just "disorganized" and just kept piling the work on her desk without much thought to it.
This situation is somewhat different than the issue I faced, yet is derived from same underlying issue of being reactive and not proactive in approach to problems that may occur.
It is very hard to feel efficient and productive when things are not organized and your supervisors don't work with you to help make changes for the better. I understand why that woman walked away because I have been in her shoes before.
Just how much does being disorganized cost?
Average hourly wage of your employees: $_________ x 1 hour lost each day. Take the hourly wage above x 240 days. (48 working weeks is 240 working days) Now times the number of employees = $________.
Example: $15.00 x 240 = $3600.00 x 10 employees = $36,000.00
Did you know statistically the cost to lose an employee is between 25% to 200% of their annual salary? Between loss of morale, service disruption, absenteeism and costly mistakes made during training it all adds up. Lets review one sample: Average salary of $40,000.00 = $10,000.00 to $80,000.00 for every employee that walks out the door.
Symptoms of disorganization:
- Stress at work leads to physical illness, which leads to time off work, which leads to lost productivity, which means a loss of revenue.
- Inadequate paper or electronic trail systems lead to poor follow through and communication with customers, which leads to lost business.
- Poor productivity from overlapping tasks when there is lack of clear communication.
- Purchasing items you probably already have but can't find.
- Lost income from forgetting to invoice a client.
- Poor growth, too much time spend "spinning wheels" to fix mistakes cause by disorganization and poor communication. Wasted time = wasted money.
- Last minute jobs creating overtime that could have been avoided with better planning.
Signs that it's time to make a change:
- Desk cluttered with files and equipment. Results of a poor filing system.
- Procrastination. It's either the fear of failure or simple indecision.
- Being reactive instead of proactive.
Don't wait for something to happen, make something happen!
Get organized now and save money and time!
There are many great tools at your disposal, including personal organizers. Getting organized is easy if done methodically. The bottom line is that being organized means things run more smoothly which then boosts moral which then increases productivity which then affects the profitability. It just makes sense.
The experiences I have had personally have led me to become an organizer. I am here now to help those that are ready to make changes for the better and who understand the bigger picture and want to save some money in the long run by getting organized now.
So many details to handle and they all are important.
So how do you keep it all together?
Here are some of my best tips to review when picking your date and things to discuss with your team to ensure everyone is on board and enjoys working your event along side you.
Checklist for picking the date:
- Make sure Chief Guest is available
- Verify that VIP's are available
- Check if you can get the venue for free
- Consider any holidays that may effect attendance or travel
- As well, check on city events or service strikes
- Give yourself lots of time to prepare and schedule it into your calendar
- Consider when to send invites so there is enough time for guests to plan
For Team Success, I offer the following list of tips:
- Don’t criticize, instead make suggestions and offer solutions
- Do not sub-delegate items given to you
- Do not be late
- Plan what to do and stick to it
- In smaller groups plan "how to do"
- Keep accurate records
- Be flexible, friendly and stay calm
- Enjoy the event
If you are considering an event and need a quick and easy way to get started on the right track, check out my Event Planning Kit, that comes with 9 custom made checklists and forms to help you to plan your next event in style.
I understand that the customer is not always right, sometimes they are down right nasty and horribly out of line yet in the end I feel that as an agent of an organization it is necessary to step outside and look at things objectively, never letting personal feeling get in the way of providing great service, even too the nasty one's.
There are three key things that can ad up to great service no matter how good the customer or how sour. I am sharing this information as it has served me well in my work and I hope that anyone in customer service or at the front lines gets something out of it too.
First. Have a good attitude:
Greet everyone equally, with a smile. Let them know in words as well as non-verbal ways that you appreciate them and care about their needs. I should hope that this is true of most people that are in the service industry, because if that's not how you feel and you really don't care, then I would suggest perhaps another line of work. Seriously, if only for your own good as it is important to do what makes you happy and enjoying your work is very important since we give more time to that than anything else we get to do our whole lives.
Second. Communicate well:
Listen, I mean really listen to what the customer is saying. Don't jump in with your own conclusions, that will only take you two steps back every time. Part of listening is asking questions and asking the right questions. Clarify what the customer is saying so that you and he know that you understand what the real issues are.
Third. Take action:
Be the eagle that people talk about. It will go a long way in helping you enjoy your work more too, as people will be praising your efforts. Be mindful of your superiors, if any, and explain any limitations with your customer so they understand that you really are doing the best you can. Not following through on what you say you will do looks bad on you as well as the company so only make promises you know you can keep.
Personally when I witness and receive good customer service I notice it, I appreciate it, and I am then very likely to tell them or write to the company about it so that it can be recognized. I enjoy telling others when I am impressed by them, it usually helps foster a better relationship and the service just gets better after that. So don't be shy to tell others that serve you that you appreciate the hard work and attention, and when you're the one giving the great service just watch those compliments come your way too!
The Four Agreements:
There are a few more points, or shall I say agreements I wish to share with you that can help you on your way. These agreements can be applied to every area of your life. They come from a book I have read called "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" written by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is on my best reading list and I recommend it to anyone.
Here are the four agreements I like to follow and I hope you can apply them in your life with excellent results too.
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Openly giving opinions about people and things about which you know nothing is gossip.
Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true.
Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego, and your own dream.
Your opinion can be black magic, in the form of gossip or you can make it white magic.
Don't create poison and spread it to others just so you can feel right about your point of view.
Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing other people do or say is because of you, it is about them and their belief system.
Everyone's opinion is their own, your point of view is no one's truth but your own.
If others lie to you, it's okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.
It is ok, because they also lie to themselves.
Don't Make Assumptions
We see and hear what we want to hear based on our belief system; we don't perceive things the way they are.
The biggest assumption that we make is that we assume that others think the way we think, and feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge.
We believe we are right; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.
To keep yourself from making assumptions, ask questions.
Always Do Your Best
In your everyday moods your best can change from one moment to the next.
Just do your best - no more and no less than your best. When you always do your best, you take action.
If you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself and feel guilt or blame.
Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward.
Action is about living fully. You can get even more than you would have imagined for yourself without expecting a reward. If we like what we do, if we always do our best, then we are really enjoying life.
As you can see, great service and personal freedom are directly affected by attitude. Our local Toastmasters District # 21 as a little slogan and I feel it pretty much sums it all up.
"Attitude equals Altitude!"
It's the only way to get high,
on life and your work!
Don’t try to do it all in a day. Start in one area, finish, and then move on. Getting even just one small area done will have a great impact and leave you feeling like you accomplished something.
___ CLEAN OUT AND ORGANIZE REFRIGERATOR
___ CLEAN INSIDE OF AND UNDER STOVE
___ CLEAN MICROWAVE
___ CLEAN TOASTER OVEN
___ CLEAN AND ORGANIZE PANTRY
___ CLEAN AND ORGANIZE FREEZER
___ WIPE DOWN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF KITCHEN CUPBOARDS
___ WASH OR DRYCLEAN BEDSPREADS
___ ORGANIZE/PURGE MASTER BEDROOM CLOSET
___ ORGANIZE/PURGE CHILDREN'S CLOSETS
___ ORGANIZE/PURGE CHILDREN'S TOYS
___ WIPE DOWN ALL DOORS; CLEAN DOOR HANDLES & MOLDINGS
___ WIPE OFF WINDOW SILLS
___ CLEAN INSIDE OF WINDOWS
___ WASH OR DRYCLEAN CURTAINS
___ DUST MINI-BLINDS
___ CLEAN SLIDING GLASS DOORS INSIDE AND OUT
___ REMOVE MARKS FROM WALLS; APPLY TOUCH UP PAINT
___ CLEAN WALL MOLDINGS
___ DUST CEILING FANS
___ DUST PICTURE FRAMES
___ DUST LAMP SHADES
___ STEAM CLEAN CARPETS
___ STEAM CLEAN FURNITURE
___ WASH OUT WASTEBASKETS
___ DUST ARTIFICIAL PLANTS
___ CHANGE BATTERIES IN SMOKE DETECTORS
___ ORGANIZE LINEN CLOSET
___ WIPE DOWN AND CLEAN UNDER WASHING MACHINE AND DRYER
On the Outside
___ CLEAN UP FLOWER BEDS
___ FINISH RAKING LEAVES
___ PREPARE PLANTERS FOR PLANTING
___ CLEAN AND FILL WATER FOUNTAINS
___ STRAIGHTEN STORAGE SHED
___ HOSE DOWN PATIO
___ CLEAN PATIO FURNITURE
___ CLEAN WINDOWS ON OUTSIDE
___ INSPECT AND REPAIR WINDOW SCREENS
___ WASH OUT GARBAGE CANS
___ CLEAN BARBECUE
Back To School
Cost Of Disorganization
Identity Theft Prevention
Memories, Photos And Keepsakes
Organizing Facts Report
Photos And Keepsakes