TRAVELING DURING THE HOLIDAYS?

While going on vacation is exciting, I think we can all agree that returning to work after a vacation is usually stressful.


There’s a lot of mail, a ton of e-mails to go through and dozens of other things you need to get to that have been piling up while you were gone.  It can almost seem like a punishment for ignoring your responsibilities.

 

Hopefully you will be relaxed and ready to tackle the many tasks that have been waiting for you upon your return. However, just in case you get overwhelmed, here are some tips to help you ease back into reality:

  • Notify people you regularly interact with that you will be unavailable and away from the office.  If people know you’ll be gone, they (hopefully) won’t try to contact you which will significantly reduce the amount of voice mails and emails.
  • Clear the inbox on your desk and your email inbox so that the new items you must attend to when you     return will be obvious.
  • Wrap up all of your “To Do’s” .  This may be difficult depending on the type of job you have, but do the best you can.
  • Make sure you don’t have any meetings or appointments the first day (or two) when you return to the office.  You will definitely appreciate the time to get caught up.
  • Arrive an hour early to work.  Use this time to check your schedule, messages, mail and e-mail before co-workers get in and start asking about your trip and giving you more things to do.
  • Take an extra day before heading back to work to regroup and catch-up on your life.  Use the extra day to get things done at home so that you can focus on work when you return to the office.

Okay, now go and relax and know that when you get back from your vacation, you’ll have everything under control.

 

Have a great trip!

 

Too Much To Do and Not Enough Time?

How often have you thought to yourself, “If I only had more time,” or, “I wish there were more hours in the day?”

Time Management

Do you think if you had more time that you would get more rest or slow down?

Well, chances are if you had more hours in the day, you would probably fill them up with more things to do instead of creating time to take a much-needed break.

The truth is you don’t really need more time in the day. What you really need are strategies to better manage your time.

The problem we face in this 24/7 world, is that we tend to forget to make time for ourselves. We forget that when we get run down, we put ourselves at a higher risk of being out of commission. Unfortunately, most of us are only willing to slow down and rest once we get sick or reach the point of exhaustion.

Here’s some Time Management Tips to help you avoid getting to that point:

MAKE A “TO DO” LIST:  

Do not rely on your memory.   Keep one, and I emphasize only one, “To Do” list!   This list should include all the tasks you have to do this week.

Because we are all so busy, you probably have a list that is way too long.  Choose what you can realistically handle. That does not mean you won’t get to other things, it just allows you to take some of the pressure off that comes with feeling like you have to do everything now.  You will need to consider which items on your “To Do” list are number one priorities. Those items that have priority could be highlighted, circled or underlined to indicate importance.

Remember to cross off or delete the items you have completed at the end of each day and add any that may have surfaced during the day.

By prioritizing you are wisely taking control of your time.

DELEGATE WHENEVER POSSIBLE:

Moms and Dads, that includes you.  Your children as young as 3 years old can get involved in cleaning up after themselves and should. Next time you tell them “clean your room” or “put your toys away” explain what that means.  Does that mean shoving everything in the closet? Throwing everything under the bed??  Piling things on top of one another?  Show them how to do it.  You will probably have to show them several times, but, like everything else, they will eventually get it.

Employers, you can delegate by allowing your employees to take on more responsibilities.  Take the time to train your employees and entrust them with a little at a time.  In the beginning, make sure to follow up, ask if they have any questions and periodically evaluate their progress.  Delegating will pay off enormously in the end as you will have more time to do the important things that only you can tend to.   Your employees will feel more valued as well.

OPEN YOUR MAIL EVERY DAY:

Open your mail every day and do one of following four things with each piece of mail you open:

  • Toss it – Throw away anything that you don’t want or need, like junk mail.
  • Shred it – Shred anything that has your personal information on it that you don’t want or need.
  • File it – File those things that you do need but not right away.
  • Take Action – These are the items that need your attention – like a bill to pay or a call that you have to make.

The longer you wait to open your mail, the more it’s going to pile up and become overwhelming.   So, open your mail each day, follow the above instructions, and you will be able to streamline your paperflow to avoid unnecessary clutter and piles of paper.

The goal is to touch each piece of paper just once and decide what to do with it at that time.

 PLAN YOUR DAY:

Begin your day with a plan and end your day with a plan.

Set aside at least 10 minutes at the beginning of every day to plan your day:

  • What calls and meetings do you need to prepare for?
  • What are the three top things you’d like to accomplish today?
  • What is the most important thing you want to accomplish this morning?

Set aside at least 10 minutes at the end of the day to wrap it up:

  • What important things did you accomplish today?
  • What meetings, calls and activities do you need to follow up on?
  • Who do you need to follow up with tomorrow?

Don’t forget to update your “To Do” list accordingly.

 RESULTS:

Managing time is more than just the ability to layout an organized schedule.  Time management means setting priorities that communicate clearly what’s really important, making wise decisions that help set realistic goals, and setting firm boundaries that allow you to keep the promises you make to yourselves and others.

By managing your time efficiently, you have the power over how productive you can be.

5 ESSENTIAL ORGANIZING TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Organizing should really be part of each day.


P1010945Because mornings are usually the busiest time of day trying to get everyone out of the house on-time, set aside 10-15 minutes at night to make sure that everything is in place for the next day.

1.  Homework should be put in backpacks as soon as it is completed and has been checked by a parent;

2.  Backpacks should be packed and left at the front door or mudroom;

3.  Lunch should be made in the evenings;

4.  Clothing should be selected before bedtime.  Make sure they have included whatever clothing/instruments they’ll need for the next day’s after-school activities as well (uniforms for practice or instruments for lessons)

5.  Establish a routine that works for your family and stick to it .  It will make everything easier.

 

Remember to keep it simple! 

JANUARY IS “GET ORGANIZED” MONTH

As most of you know, I have been a member of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) since starting Organizing Concepts and Designs in 2010.   For those of you who are not familiar with NAPO, NAPO is The Organizing Authority®!


Since forming in 1985 as a nonprofit professional educational association, NAPO has grown to nearly 4,200 members.  NAPO leads and advances the organizing and productivity industry and is dedicated to serving its members and the public by providing professional educational opportunities, industry leadership, productive partnerships and expert information and solutions to foster growth and fulfillment for all who work within the organizing and productivity industry or benefit from its service.

 

      NAPO established GO Month in January 2003 to focus national attention on how getting organized empowers people to take back control over their time, in-boxes, paperwork and possessions.

     

     For businesses wishing to implement a more organized and structured system, NAPO offers these tips:       

 

  • Create a list of priorities for your business and determine what needs immediate action. A professional organizer or productivity specialist can review your priorities and recommend a plan for getting started, without interrupting your daily business workflow.
  • Practice better time management! A NAPO member can help both you and your staff hone time management skills and increase productivity in the workplace.
  • Evaluate your space. Does it feel productive and calm? Physically setting up better-functioning spaces can help employees reduce stress and feel motivated. A professional organizer or productivity specialist will help create the ideal balance so your workspace feels energizing, yet relaxing.

      Employees report feeling more satisfied as a result of a supportive employer providing the tools to improve productivity and reduce stress.

Organizing does not end in the workplace. Families are busier than ever before, and being organized can help reduce stress which helps lead to better health and an overall feeling of well being.

 

NAPO offers these tips for organizing yourself, your routine, and your family calendar:

  • Decide that you deserve it! Understand that you deserve to have more control over your time, your surroundings, and less stress due to feeling overwhelmed. Commit to adding structure and stability to your life.
  • Create one calendar for scheduling  the activities of everyone in your household, and daily/weekly/monthly checklists for each member of your family. Display the lists and calendar in a central location of your home, like the refrigerator or mudroom.
  • Prioritize your organization wants and needs. What room or space needs immediate attention? Talk to a NAPO member about your organization or productivity needs. He or she can help you get organized, but teach you skills to keep you that way.
  • Set realistic goals for organizing. With the help of a NAPO organizer or productivity professional, you can reach your organizing goals in a systematic way that will keep you motivated and empowered to success. You can achieve your organizing and productivity goals by creating a plan and sticking with it over time. 

  So, jumpstart January feeling powerful, productive and organized!

 

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE!

DSC05507Meaning: The notion that everything should have a place to be stored and that it should be returned there when not in use.

        The bottom line is, if something you own doesn’t have a place to be stored, it will always be out of place and cluttering up your space.

        We all know that old habits die hard BUT, if you’re ready to get better organized, here are a few small steps you could implement towards your goal.

 

  1. Make a home for everything – Designate a place for everything you own.

 

  1. Designate a place that is easily accessible – Make sure that you can find it (whatever IT may be) and get to it when you need it.
    Note* – The exception to this rule:  If there is something that you will only need every once in a while, it’s okay to assign a home that is not easily accessible, ie., the attic.

 

  1. Put it away – When you’re finished using something put it away (hopefully in the place you designated for it, see Step 1 above).

 

  1. Hang it up – Hang up your clothes when you take them off if they’re clean.  If, not throw them in the hamper or put them in a bag to take to the dry cleaners.

 

  1. Clean it up -Out of respect for others living in the same space, everyone sharing your living space needs to lend a hand around the house.
    Note* –  Every night before bed, everyone in the house can do a quick clean-up by gathering things around the house that  aren’t in their proper place and put them where they should be.

 

  1. Get help – Whether it’s asking your family members to put their things away when they’re not using them, delegating tasks to others in the household or even hiring a Professional Organizer, it’s a good idea to enlist the support of others.

JANUARY IS “GET ORGANIZED MONTH” (Really!)

I hope you all got off to a good start in 2011.

If you haven’t already heard, January is “Get Organized Month.”  New Years Resolutions aside, what better time to get organized for the year than NOW.  So, we’d like to pass along a quote which hopefully will encourage you to start: “Done is better than perfect”.  As long as you do something, anything, to get some area in your life organized, it’s better than doing nothing.

Even if you think you’re organized, there is always an area which can always use a little tweaking.

 LET’S GET STARTED

Choose a room, any room.  Then select a small area within that room (a closet, a cabinet, a tool box) .  Give yourself a half hour to go thru that small area, without interruption, and start purging.  First take everything out.  That’s right everything!  First throw away the broken, ripped, damaged items.  Then take those items that you don’t use or need and set them aside.  You can donate these items if they’re in good condition and get a write-off as well.  There are so many great charities and organizations that can make good use of the things that you no longer need or want.  Finally, start to put everything back by categorizing.  For example, if you chose to organize your tool box, separate the tools from the screws. Voila!  That’s it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It just needs to be easily accessible and organized for your own use.