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happy New Year! Wishing you and your family a favorable, blissful, and prosperous 2017.

Tip of the month

Old Periodicals and Old Research Material (October 2015)

It’s easy to lend an unexpected amount of space to old periodicals and old research material that served a purpose long ago. Now that the articles are read and the projects are completed, get rid of the clutter so that you can make room for new ideas and inspirations.

Next level: Consider going online for all your reading material. Moreover, instead of printing that material you were searching to find, bookmark what is necessary.

The moral: You'll never have paper clutter when paper never enters your space.

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Being Organized to Get a Good Night's Sleep (March 2016)

Did you know being organized can lead to a better night's sleep? Take the time to wind-down before crawling into bed. Avoid carrying the thoughts of the day and tomorrow across your bedroom threshold by creating a to-do list. When you transfer your thoughts to paper (phone or what have you) your thoughts are released and your mind is focused and relaxed. Just having a conscious idea of what's ahead for tomorrow will slow down the wheels in your head, and that's what it takes to bring closure to your evening so that you can get a good night's sleep.

Next level: Consider crossing off some of the to-dos on your list before retiring for the evening. For example, prepare outfit(s), pack lunch(es), etc.

The moral: According to Health.com, "Getting a good night's sleep is important for your mood, your energy levels, and your overall health." So, if being organized can lead to a better night's sleep, then being organized can lead to improvement in your mood, your energy levels, and your overall health.

Start Organizing those Piles of Paper—Now! (April 2016)

Have you noticed that piles of paper take on a form of their own when coupled with procrastination? First, there was space dedicated for the mail until you could get to it. Then there was space carved out to hold onto the kids’ artwork until you would have the time to admire it. Next to come was space to put magazines that you plan to read at your leisure. And, before you knew it you were shuffling piles around to get to your flat surfaces, and shuffling yourself around the piles to get things done. All from good intentions that you will surely get to when the time is right.

Now is the right time to put those good intentions into action by using the R.A.F.T . system. This system will guide you merrily and gently down the stream to managing your piles of paper. R.A.F.T . stands for Read. Act. File. Toss. Here is how it works. Armed with a trash bag, merrily take on one pile at a time, and for 10 minutes gently look at each piece of paper to decide if you need to read it (at a later time), if you need to perform some type of act on it (pay a bill, put an event on the calendar, shred), if you need to file it away (receipts, statements), or otherwise toss it in the trash. Repeat for 10 minutes and stop. You will end up with no more than three sorted piles; read items, act items, and file items.

For the read items, use an 8-pocket, minimum pocket size, accordion file folder to write each day of the week on the first seven pockets. Place each read item in the pocket of the day you found it. You now have given yourself a deadline of one week to read that correspondence. And you must either read it or toss it on or before the deadline. For the 8th pocket of the folder, insert your magazines. You have now given yourself a cut-off date to go through each magazine. You must either read or toss each one before the next month issue arrives. This will also help you to see which subscriptions are worth keeping and which subscriptions you should consider canceling.

For the act items, create an action file using an accordion file folder. Use the pockets to group like act items together in a way that works for you. For example, bills in one pocket, invitations in another, permission slips in another. Group them in a way that will encourage you to act at a glance.

Now for the file items, use an accordion file folder as a temporary filing system to group like items, and once the accordion is full transfer the paper to your permanent filing system. If you don’t have a permanent filing system and need help setting up one call on us to do this for you.

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Start Organizing those Piles of Paper—Now! (May 2016)

(As requested -- Reprint)

Have you noticed that piles of paper take on a form of their own when coupled with procrastination? First, there was space dedicated for the mail until you could get to it. Then there was space carved out to hold onto the kids’ artwork until you would have the time to admire it. Next to come was space to put magazines that you plan to read at your leisure. And, before you knew it you were shuffling piles around to get to your flat surfaces, and shuffling yourself around the piles to get things done. All with good intentions that you will surely get to when the time is right.


Now is the right time to put those good intentions into action by using the R.A.F.T. System. This system will guide you merrily and gently down the stream to managing your piles of paper. R.A.F.T. stands for Read. Act. File. Toss. Here is how it works: Armed with a trash bag, merrily take on one pile at a time, and for 10 minutes gently look at each piece of paper to decide if you need to read it (at a later time), if you need to perform some type of act on it (pay a bill, put an event on the calendar, shred), if you need to file it away (receipts, statements), or otherwise, toss it in the trash. Repeat for 10 minutes and stop. You will end up with not more than three sorted piles; Read, Act and File.


For the Read items, use an 8-pocket, minimum pocket size, accordion file folder to write each day of the week on the first seven pockets. Place each read item in the pocket of the day you found it. You have now given yourself a deadline of one week to read that correspondence. And you must either read it or toss it on or before the deadline. For the 8th pocket of the folder, insert your magazines. You have now given yourself a cut-off date to go through each magazine. You must either read or toss each one before the next month issue arrives. This will also help you to see which subscriptions are worth keeping and which subscriptions you should consider canceling.


For the Act items, create an action file using an accordion file folder. Use the pockets to group like act items together in a way that works for you. For example, bills in one pocket, invitations in another, permission slips in another. Group them in a way that will encourage you to act at a glance.


Now for the File items, use an accordion file folder as a temporary filing system to group like items, and once the accordion is full transfer the paper to your permanent filing system. If you don’t have a permanent filing system and need help setting up one call on us to do this for you.


Next Level: Now that you are in motion, reducing the old piles, avoid adding more paper onto your surfaces as the days go by. As soon as the paper comes across your threshold immediately go into R.A.F.T. mode. And if the paper selected for Act takes 2 minutes to complete, then take the 2 minutes to complete it. Sign the permission slip and put it back in the backpack. Put the invitation date on the calendar, fill out the RSVP, seal the pre-stamped envelope and have it ready for the next day’s mail, and then Toss the envelope the invitation arrived in–Yes, that only takes 2 minutes.


The Moral: When you work consistently in short bursts of time you can conquer any number of piles. And, when you take action immediately you can manage your piles of paper to their extinction.

FOCUS on CLUSTERS (June 16, 2016)

Raise your hand if you have to manage your business, family, work, home, and most important YOURSELF. So, you are multi-tasking to get is ALL done. And you know that ALL is not getting done at a 100% success rate. Take it easy on yourself. After all, we are only human---super human exist in movies and fiction only. So how about focusing on one thing at a time to maximize your success rate across all categories?


Stick with the multi-tasking concept by working with clusters of time and not on clusters of varied tasks. Here're examples of what that could look like:


  • Early mornings are reserved for your time;
  • The beginning of the work day is reserved for emails, text, and calls;
  • After lunch is reserved for returning emails, text, and calls;
  • Early weekday evenings are reserved for family ties;
  • Thursday nights are reserved for laundry night;
  • Friday nights are open mic--whatever anyone wants to do;
  • Saturday mornings are reserved for running errands;
  • Sunday mornings are reserved for prepping and cooking meals for the upcoming week;
  • Sunday nights are reserved for administrative work for your business.

Next Level: Use a planner to fill in the clusters of time that work for your busy lifestyle. Stick with the schedule and tweak your clusters as you get more accustom to the routines.


The Moral: When you have routines that work for your busy lifestyle your life will flow as easily as breathing--you just do it without much thought about it.

DO THE EASY PARTS FIRST: WHERE TO START (Aug 2, 2106)

There is one common theme with every client that I’ve ever worked with: “I just didn’t know where to start!” And I always say start small—start with the easy parts first.


We all know clutter is overwhelming, and conquering the clutter has a lot of angles to maneuver through. That is if you look at clutter as one big all-consuming monster.

All clutter can be broken down into sets of smaller clutter.


Let’s start with an easy example-a bathroom. You know, towels flung over the towel bars, a shower filled with multiple bars of soap, half empty bottles of shampoos, conditioners, and body washes. The sink counter is crammed with makeup, face products, hair products, grooming products and so on. Under the sink has more than what’s in the shower and on the vanity countertop. And what's muttered every morning is “I can't stand this, but I just don’t know where to start!”


I’m telling you to do the easy parts first. It’s easy to combine the multiple bottles of shampoos into one shampoo bottle and throw out the empties. It’s easy to follow suit with the conditioners, body washes, face products, hair products, and grooming products. It’s easy to pull a bowl from the kitchen cabinet and place your regularly used makeup in the bowl.


Next Level: It’s easy to create zones on your sink vanity by folding a paper towel in half as a boundary of what is allowed to remain out. When you can no longer see the edges of the paper towel you cannot put anything in that zone, unless you replace one thing with another. That will force you to put away everything that is not used on a daily basis.


The Moral: Start small to divide and conquer clutter.

Guests are Arriving in 30 minutes, and the Place is a Mess! (Sept 7, 2016)


We had a hectic week and did all we could to juggle the planned and unplanned events that demanded attention. And up comes another surprise. You receive a phone call that guests are arriving in 30 minutes, and the place is a mess! You want to say to the person on the other end, “oh no not today.” But, you look around, suck it up, and say, “see you in 30 minutes.” Here are a few tips to help transform your space from lived-in to welcoming.


First, give the bathroom a once over. Keep cleaning products and paper products close to where you use them so you can spruce up the sink and the mirror, check that there’s enough toilet paper on the roll, and paper towels are plentiful.


Always have a storage box available to get the toys off the floor and into the box.


Keep a basket where you drop-off the mail to have paper contained at all time. If some of the weekly mail did not make it to the basket, now is the time to toss the stray pieces into the basket.


Keep the dishwasher empty of clean dishes. After each load, put the dishes away. Place the dirty dishes, pots, and pans in the dishwasher.


Next Level: Take the same concept into your professional life:


Have a spare shirt and tie or blouse and hosiery nearby for the accidental spills and snags that could tarnish your professional image.

Factor in extra time at the beginning and end of a project's deadline for any unexpected requests from your boss and co-workers that could come your way and throw you off schedule.

Keep data and research material for your current projects in a designated space on your desk, and on your computer. You never know when you'll get called into a meeting to help sway a decision on a project.

The Moral: We can’t live or work in a museum or a magazine photo shoot. But, if we organize our space we can be prepared for the unexpected as much as humanly possible.

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