My Latest Posts
This is an excellent, excellent article. I would just add my 2 cents. The To Do list is NOT dead. In fact, it’s the first thing you MUST do. But as the article suggests, a list without a schedule is meaningless. (We’ve all heard that a plan without a deadline is just a dream. It’s the same thing.) So first list, then slot tasks and parts of projects into your calendar. Secondly, read “Overwhelmed” By Brigid Schulte. Do NOT read the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, unless you have more time than you know what to do with. (His whole books can be summed up with the statement, “Delegate as much as you can, systemetize out the wazoo, and don’t ever expect to work just 4 hours a week because it’s unrealistic if you want to be successful.) Last, find a task list app that works. There are many. My fave is currently Toodledo, which works across devices. Lastly, subscribe to my blog so that you get all the specific productivity steps you need to become more organized in January, when that resolution gene kicks in.
Did you ever have a really great day, feeling like you got a lot done, and wonder, what the heck just happened? If you could just bottle your great day, you’d be super organized, right? Well, here are 5 productivity techniques that you’ve probably used, but you didn’t know were valid organizing methods.
Today I’m out boosting my own productivity by changing up my routine and volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity WomenBuild Week. I can’t wait to tell you all about it on HeartWork Organizing Facebook page. You can also support my WomenBuild efforts with fundraising, which goes straight to the mission of ending substandard housing. Hugs to those of you who have donated! I super duper appreciate it. While I’m out of the office, let me share a few ways that you can improve your organizing and productivity in your office.
Below, I’ve provided links for the books that mentions these principles. They are all great reading!
1. The The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, highlights the idea that we have a “vital few” important tasks, priorities, and possessions in our lives. You see it in business (80% of revenues come from the top 20% of customers), at home (we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time), and in time management (20% of the things on your to-do list are really critical. The rest? Not so much.). So the next time you find yourself wanting to blow off most of what you have to do, just focus on the critical 20%, and you’ll probably still see impressive results.
2. The Pomodoro Technique stresses working in blocks of time (typically 25 minutes each) where you keep your focus singularly on one task or a group of tasks, working with focus until the timer goes off. By ignoring outside interruptions and distractions for blocks of time, several times a day, you can get a lot done. By the way, I recommend just 10 or 15 minute blocks of focused, non-interrupted time, which works best for many of my clients.
3. Eat That Frog! is a book by Brian Tracy with 21 great ideas to overcome procrastination. The title technique refers to the practice of doing the hardest or least attractive task first thing in your day. Once you “eat that frog,” everything else is bound to taste better!
4. The Seinfeld Technique (Don’t Break the Chain) cracks me up. I mean, we’ve been doing this for ages, but old Jerry gets the credit. He credits his professional success with the discipline he’s developed of writing comedic material every single day, and then putting a bright red “X” over the date on a paper calendar. By doing this every day, he ends up with a highly visible chain of red X’s that he doesn’t want to break. Let’s face it, working on your craft for a defined period every single day is a surefire way to get better at it. The same visual unbroken chain can be a big motivator for all kinds of things, such as making sure you work out every day, or going for days without yelling at the kids. You’ve got to admit, it does look serious when you rack up a lot of red X’s.
5.The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal reviews several aspects of willpower and barriers to success. Her studies find that we need effective ways to combat the “what-the-hell” effect (no, really, that’s what it’s called). Too often, when we feel that we’ve sinned, slipped, or fallen behind, we figure that there’s just no way to catch up. Someone who feels defeated by an afternoon donut is more likely to gorge on a high-calorie evening meal. Or someone who feels like they are already hopelessly behind in their to-do list might figure, “What the hell, it won’t matter if I spend another half hour surfing the web.” But McGonigal’s research shows that self-forgiveness clears the brain’s way for non-critical reflection and avoids the devastating, cyclical effects of guilt. Instead, it’s OK to cut yourself a break and try again. In fact, research shows that you are more likely to succeed if you do! Read this great book to start incorporating the “I will, I won’t, I want” mantra into your own life to strengthen your own willpower muscle.
So, now you know the fancy name for productivity techniques that you were probably already using. What you may not have known is that they are legitimate and highly effective techniques. Aren’t you smart! Have you shared what works for you in our Clutter-Free Living Facebook Group? We’re all about sharing and encouraging each other to reach our organizing goals.
I often get asked about organizing coupons. People seem to feel that coupons are a big part of their paper clutter, although I find that to not usually be the case in reality. When it comes to organizing coupons, simple is better.
Just a reminder before we get to that. The Samsung Galaxy Tab winner was notified today. If your name is Melissa, please be sure to check your email. We have more giveaways ending in just a couple of days, so please be sure to enter:
First of all, I don’t even recommend keeping coupons unless they are high value. A $10 coupon? Yes, keep it. It has to be at least $1 in value for me to even want it, and preferably for an item I buy All The Time! And, of course, those Bed Bath and Beyond coupons are the best. Not only are they relatively high value, usually worth at least $5, but they never expire (even though they have an expiration date on them).
True story, as I was organizing my office earlier this month, I pulled out a newspaper page from an ad that my company ran back in 2005, and it had a Bed Bath and Beyond 20% coupon on it! I clipped it and put it with my stash. They’ll take it, no fuss.
Before you ask, I am not a huge fan of online coupons. I’m just not. I do not need to spend my time one more place online to save $.50.
Anyway, you saw me profess my disdain for accordion file folders earlier this month. They are AWFUL for paper files, but GREAT for coupons. You’ve probably seen the mini-accordion folders, but I like the mid-sized ones. Just $1 in the Target Dollar Spot. They are big enough to hold my BBB coupons, and still small enough to fit in the car, either in the glove compartment or in between the front seat and the middle console. And they are convenient to carry into the story with me.
What I don’t love is that if you open them carelessly from the lid, all of your goodies fall out. You’ve been warned.
When I go through my mail, I pull coupons out and place them on my counter, and take them out to the car the next day. They are always actually with me when I’m headed into the store. And I often quickly clean out expired coupons while waiting to pick up kids or at long lights.
Are you on the path of Clutter-Free Living? Are coupons a real challenge for you? What’s your solution?
Organizing my purse is something I do even before purchasing my purse. If it’s not set up for success, no matter how cute, it doesn’t come home with me. It’s one item I could never, ever possibly buy online. I have to love the look AND feel of it before plunking down the dinero. And color is good, too. We have already established that I am the “I love color” gal, but organizing trumps all.
- wallet, which also holds the last few receipts I picked up
- hand sanitizer (from Blogger Bash)
- business card case
- my gym card
- a mesh see-through case from my favorite Mary Kay lady for primping gear
- purple pen
- hair band (for serious hair)
- ear buds, neatly wrapped, of course
- USB drive (this one from EasyClosets) (because I was organizing home offices yesterday)
- cough drops
- This side usually has my phone, but it was in my pocket when I snapped this picture.
The other compartment holds my other brain:
- my iPad mini
- a microfiber cloth
- bandages (these have kitties on them)
- stuff I picked up at the Philly Home Show yesterday
- wire ties from organizing clients’ offices yesterday
That is it. 80% of the time, when I look into my purse, I’m either going for my wallet or my iPad, and I don’t have to dig for them. I also try to keep things colorful inside my purse so it isn’t a dark, black hole in there.
I constantly purge anything extra that doesn’t belong. I just don’t have time for it. Organizing my purse is a quick 5 minute organizing project.
If you are on the 31 Days of Clutter-Free Living journey, can you tackle organizing your purse tonight?
Happy Snow Day. If you are like most moms, there’s just never enough time, but a snow day changes the entire equation. Suddenly, filling a whole day is an opportunity! I feel like Pinterest is the modern-day go-to spot for all those things my grandmother taught me, and these are the things that my kids are still happy to learn while it’s fun, and not work for them. Here are twelve Pinterest-Inspired things to do with your kid on a snow day. If there’s any extra time on my snow day, I might be pinning, so feel free to follow my boards.
1. Teach them to sew. Button, hems, sewing doll clothes. Save yourself some money, and let your kid experience the blessings of a pricked finger. If you don’t have actual sewing supplies, use a hole punch to make holes in the border of felt or paper shapes that you trace or draw, then have them thread yarn over and under. That’s my 5 year old taking charge with the needle.
2. Bake bread. Mine will be in a bread maker. Already on the counter for the morning. The house will smell SOOO good by lunch time.
3. Remove stickers. My kiddos love stickers, but when they stick to furniture or other household things, yuck. They can learn to take them off, and it isn’t hard. I learned from my friend Carrie that Orange Essential Oil easily removes stickers! Older kids can also use WD-40 or Goof Off .
4. Learn to ice skate. Purchase skates second hand at PlayItAgain Sports or consignment sales. Check local ponds and rinks for safety conditions and hours.
5. Bake a pie. Of course.
6. Hold a fashion show. Have the kiddos model their favorite outfits for you, and help them learn some fashion do’s and don’ts in a fun way.
8. Shovel snow. A kid-sized shovel has huge appeal!
10. Give each other manicures. A girl can learn to be thrifty very early in life.
11. Make blessing bags.
12. Just breathe and do yoga together. My kiddos love to do a baby yoga DVD that I’ve had forever. They grab their baby doll or stuffed animal and do the whole drill. We might not need the exercise after shoveling, but even simple yoga moves are sure to calm them down for 10 minutes. Don’t have a DVD? Search YouTube and apps.
Well, I’ve got my day planned. I’m gonna need a vacation! Happy snow day.