I Love My New Chair

I recently got a new chair for my office – as you can see in the picture it is not brand new – just new to me – and I have wanted this chair for a very long time.

My new chair

I had to move quite a bit around to make the chair fit into my office – but it helped me to make my office even more to my liking.  I realized as I was rearranging my office to make room for my new chair, that so much of my office furniture just happened.  I kept adding and there was no cohesive plan.  So I really thought about all that I want to be able to accomplish in my office and how it isn’t meeting those needs in it’s present state.  Immediatly I knew of at least 1 piece of furniture that needed to go.  Once that was gone I was able to see a vision of my “new office.”  As I moved items around, I realized I needed an extension cord for my lamp to stay attached to the light switch, so I stopped for the night.

It drove my husband crazy.  This is what my office looked like overnight.

Overnight mess

My husband has to finish a project once he gets started even if he doesn’t have the “right” tools, he finds a way around whatever problem he encounters.  I stick to my vision even if it takes longer to complete the project.  He actually couldn’t walk into my office until the following evening when there was floor space again.

much improved

I could see the floor again by nightfall and even found a footstool for my new chair.  I didn’t know I was going to get the chair and it did slow down my productivity a little, but since I have improved my space I have been super productive – and I know the less clutter and accumulation of stuff around me the better I work.

Have you changed everything around to accomodate a single piece of furniture?  I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

Organization Management Tools for Your Computer

It is important to make time to keep your computer organized and free from clutter.  It is so easy to download files and gifts and before you know it your storage space is running out.  Today we will look at some helpful tools you can use to help organize your computer.

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Passwords

If you spend any amount of time online you will need a way to remember and organize all of your login information for your various accounts.  There are several ways you can do this including keeping a written account of all of your passwords (but this method has many drawbacks).  While I do recommend that you keep a physical copy of your passwords, you really need to use a more secure method.  There are great online tools that will remember your passwords for you.

Lastpass (this is the one I use) is a popular tool for passwords.  In addition to remembering your passwords it helps generate passwords and allows you to organize them into a vault.  You create a main vault key, which only you have access to, so nobody else can access your information.  There is a free version and a paid premium one.  The free version is for your computer – to use LastPass on your mobile devices you will need to upgrade to premium and as of this blog post it is currently $12 per year – a great price for peace of mind.

Roboform is another very popular tool similar to Lastpass.  In addition to remembering and generating passwords it can fill out online forms for you. Roboform also works across all of your devices without you having to purchase any additional licenses.  Roboform offers a free trial and is currently just $9.95 for the first year.

Online Storage

Do you ever run out of space on your hard drive or worry about losing family photos or important information? If so you should take advantage of some form of online storage tool.

Skydrive is installed on all newer Window computers and offers you free storage for your documents and photos. Plus you can access your content when offline.

Google Drive provides all Google account users with 5GB’s of free storage in the Cloud.  Don’t have a Google account, sign up for free and create an account today to take advantage of this great deal.

Dropbox also offers free option to get you started and then allows you to upgrade if you need additional space.

A great feature of both Google Drive and Dropbox is that you can also share your documents through the platform.  This can allow multiple users to offer input or it can just mean it’s a great way to deliver information products.

As well as being great for keeping your files safe, using Cloud storage is a great way to help keep your computer organized (just make sure you don’t add too much before you organize your files).

The more information you can store off of your computer the better.  As your hard drive fills up you will find that your computer starts to run more slowly.

Another idea for keeping your computer clean is to clean up items to your desktop once a week.   Simply go through each item and see if you need to keep it, trash it or file it in a folder.  You will be amazed at how efficient and organized you become just by doing this one simple thing regularly.

I would love to hear about the tools you are using in your business in the comments below.

Are You Over Organizing?

Sometimes in your quest to be organized you dive too deep and actually over organize.

Though I see this most often with virtual files, I had a recent occurance of overorganizing in the offline world.

sorted nuts

I like to keep notebooks of thoughts, ideas, tips or whatever about various topics.  Sometimes I convert the information into digital files sometimes I don’t.  In an effort to be “Organized” I would put all my notes onto small scraps of paper – and then put them in the “proper” notebook later.

As you can image this led to tons of scraps of paper on my desk and several notebooks with different topics, all over my desk too.  On paper this seemed like a great idea to me, but the reality was that I had too many pieces of paper and I would loose them or forget what I meant before I was getting them into the “proper” notebook.

One day I was listening to a webinar about time management and in that presentation, she suggested the one notebook system.  Lightbulb moment for me  – I was trying to to hard and over organizing.  My one notebook is always on my desk and I write everything into my notebook.  About once a week I look back over the notebook and see what actions I need to take.  This has been working great for me…and then.

I was listening to a recording and instead of writing in my notebook, I grabbed a small pad of paper – about a quarter the size of a full sheet of paper – and began taking notes.  No idea why.  And the next day, I used the same small pad of paper for some random ideas I wanted to remember – stuff that usually goes in the notebook.

Then I realized I had all these little scraps of paper on my desk – of course I knew they “should” be in the notebook – so I stopped right then and tranferred them into the notebook.  I’m back on to my awesome one notebook system.

Before the one notebook, I was trying too hard and making myself more unorganized – the opposite of my desired goal.  Are you trying to over organize your office or those wonderful files on your computer?

If you need help or have questions, you can sign up for a planning session here.

I would love to hear how you overcame your over organizing ways in the comments below.

No Plan = Bad Habits

I know that I harp on this idea of having a plan, but you must have a plan.

We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.”

plan-to-fail

Okay, so you fail if you don’t plan, but not only do you fail, you have very likely created habits that will lead to additional failures.

If you want to organize your office and keep it organized you will need a plan.

Your plan may need to be changed as you go on but you must have a starting point. And the easiest starting point is your current clutter (which is really just the result of a bad habit). If you have clutter, you have a problem area – define the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, implement the best possible solution.

Simple right? Yes it’s simple but it takes commitment and action.

Okay what do I mean when I say define the problem, when we’ve already determined it’s a pile of clutter. I want to know more about your clutter. What is in that pile? How old are the items in the pile? Do they have a “home” or do they need a desinated “home”?

By digging deeper (pun intended) you will find the “real” problem and a real, lasting solution.

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2015!

Have you decided this is the year to get your home office organized?  If so – I think that is a great idea.

I recorded a little video to help you get started with the planning:


 

Your excited you want to jump right in, but you need to stop and make a plan, it will make all the difference in helping you stay organized in the long run.

Don’t try to create a magazine perfect image of an organized home office – create an organized space that works for you.

Determine your problem areas – come up with ideas to overcome those problems.

Remember – clutter isn’t limited to physical clutter – evaluate your desktop and virtual filing system as a part of this process too.

If you need help crafting your plan – book a organization coaching session with me.

Good Organization Starts With Good Habits

Seems obvious doesn’t it?

To be better organized you just need better habits. It’s easier to replace a bad habit than it is to just try to stop whatever that bad habit might be. By creating a better habit you naturally just drop the bad habit, much less stressful.

But you came by those bad habits for a reason.

Let’s break down a habit: Trigger, Behavior, Reward.

HABIT: Trigger Behavior Reward

My personal example was realizing that the right hand corner of my desk was a clutter pile magnet. Initially I thought it was because I was right handed and so I just kept putting everything on my right side, so I adjusted my computer to create a bigger space on the right hand side.

Guess what – I was able to collect larger items of clutter and sometimes even more than 1 pile of papers. It wasn’t because I was right handed.

What I did notice was that it wasn’t just business “stuff” that ended up in that area of the desk, it was also about 50% personal household “stuff.” This helped me realize what the real problem was.

The right hand corner of my desk should is a clear, uncluttered flat surface – and it is the closest to the entrance to the room. The bad habit was just simply setting it on the easiest closest surface available.

Solution: Create an alternative closer to the door. For me it was actually putting a basket by the door. Now my family and myself all know not to put more clutter on my desk, put it in the basket – right inside the doorway.

I wasn’t able to just break a bad habit, but once I replaced the bad habit with a better habit, the bad habit easily went off to bother some other poor soul – I hope it wasn’t you.

A Delightful & Colorful 2015 Planner For Women

I just got this planner set for myself and I love it so much – I just had to share it with you too!

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A word of warning it is not a traditional planner – it is actually a ‘Goals Workbook’ according to the author.

Leonie Dawson is a self described hippie author who has been making these planning workbooks for 6 years now.  She says that they will help you to have your best year :).  Leonie says in the introduction video and in the planner itself – to use what works for you and bypass the parts that don’t apply to you.  It’s a nice no pressure – feel good planner.

There are 2 Planners, the Life Planner and the Business Planner as well as a Planning Calendar.  You can also get them in a downloadable PDF version or have a physical copy sent to you.

I ended up getting both planners in the PDF version.  I love the bright colors and the beautiful illustrations.  I have peeked through the whole calendar and started on the life workbook.  The planner workbook starts out by reflecting on the past year, called the Closing Ceremonies, and getting you ready for 2015.  To prepare for those bad days that will come one of the pages is called ‘The List of Things to do When Everything Sucks’ – I know I can relate to those days, and it’s great to have a plan to help you move past those moments, so they don’t become days.

The business workbook planner is the same format, letting go of last year and setting goals for the coming year.

One of my favorite aspects of the calendar is the way she “re-names” the months – for example January is just plain old January – it’s “Juicy January”  Juicy-January

If you would like your own copy, click here.  Please note: This in an affiliate link – this means if you buy this planner I will make a commission.

I hope you love yours as much as I love mine 🙂

If you have any questions – I would love to share my experience – just post in the comment section below.

 

By the way it would make a great gift too!

Even Cyber Monday Requires Organization

The shoppers that score the best deals today are likely to be organized and have a plan.  All the best savvy shoppers do.

They would know where the best prices are for the items they want to buy – and they would know what they wanted to buy.  The savvy shopper has a list of all the people they need to buy for and ages or sizes – for when they find the perfect item.  They will know how much they need to spend for free shipping (though on Cyber Monday most shipping is free) and what cash back site to use for maximum return.

How about if you are the business owner – are offering a Cyber Monday Deal?

If you are offering a deal are you prepared for the little problems that can creep up on such a busy online shopping day?

Does your offer have limited quantities?  Do you have a second offer for people still wanting “the deal” but missed out?  This can be a great opportunity!

Have you tested your shopping cart with your coupon code?  Have you had a friend test it out?

Planning ahead can save you headaches and keep more money in your pocket.

Do you offer discounts and deals to your customers?  What is holding you back?  Let me know if the comments below.

Organization Is Just Useful Habits

To me, organizing is just about habits that serve you.

A habit that doesn’t serve you is called a bad habit, a habit that does serve you is called a good habit.  I don’t like either of those labels.  I think all habits should be useful habits, with no judgment.  What can I say, I don’t like to judge the good or the bad about anyone or anything.  But if it’s not working for you, you might want to make a change.

An Inbox on desk that is never used is really helpful. No papers ever placed in the box.  Or worse yet papers put in the inbox and no one ever looks at them.  The inbox isn’t doing its job.

Organization has to play to the strengths of the person using the ‘system’ to be useful.

Let me say that I’m not Martha Stewart and I don’t even want to be – it’s just not my style.  Of course, I do love my label maker and am a bit jealous of Martha in that department.

And, while I don’t need to reach perfection – I’m always looking to improve function and flow.

Sadly, I find my most inspired solutions after ‘it’ has already become a problem.  Once I identify that there is a problem with it, I love to find the best solution (for me).  The first solution isn’t always the best solution, so I keep trying until I find what works for me, and my family.

I used to love to buy those nice leather bound organizers – the ones you could add just the sections you needed, rearrange the order to suit you.  They were advertised as the best solution for an organized life – but the truth is – I was still in school and it wasn’t the best solution for me.  Turned out I liked buying those beautiful organizers more than I liked using them.  I did finally stop buying them, but it took several years – I really wanted them to work for me.

These days the calendar on my phone with the reminder alerts are the best calendar solution I have found.  If I don’t put ‘it’ in my phone calendar, ‘it’ is likely to be forgotten.  The more I use my phone, the better I show up in my life and my business.

What type of calendar or reminder system do you use?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Why Is There a Toothbrush on My Desk???

I just walked into my office and realized there was a toothbrush (brand new) and a box of sport guards on the corner of my desk.  Then I realized that wasn’t the only out of place item on my desk.

Pretty Purple Toothbrush

As a matter of fact my desk looked like it belonged in the bathroom.

In addition to the dental supplies – I had put my vitamins on my desk in an effort to encourage me to take them daily.  Sadly, I had begun to use one of vitamin bottles as mini desk furniture and it was holding a couple of my hair ties.

Clearly I’m not taking the vitamins – this isn’t the right place for them – nor is it the right place for my dental supplies.

10 Minutes Later…

I feel better.  I have relocated the dental supplies to the bathroom drawer where they normally live.

The vitamins required more.  I have moved them into my bedroom and have set a reminder on my calendar to check back in 2 weeks to see if it is working there.  (If I have slacked off already, I will try again and shorten my reminder to myself.)

October-vitamin-reminder

It is so easy to forget to be organized isn’t it?

The best way to overcome these ‘creepers’ – as I like to call them – is to live in the moment, but in our daily hustle and bustle that is easier said than done.  I’m always trying new ways to improve my functionality – that is my main goal of organization.

Habits take time to develop, I need help to build new habits.

Did I solve all my organization problems – No!

Did I notice a problem and take action – and have a plan so it doesn’t happen again – Yes!

That is a win in my book – not a victory lap kind of win – but a nice pat on the back kind of win.

Take the time to acknowledge even these small wins – they add up over time.

Please share your most recent win in the comments below.