January 30, 2013

Organizing Encouragement - Baby Steps

It's the end of January. Many of you have made New Year's resolutions or have set goals for yourself in 2013. You shouted from the rooftop, "This is the year I'm going to get organized!'

Have you started yet? Made a plan? Mapped out some mini-goals for yourself? If yes, then great!

If not, that's OK. No beating yourself up about it. It's been cold. Maybe you or a family member has been under the weather. Maybe 'life' has gotten in the way. Or perhaps, you just don't know where to begin.

No worries--take 'baby steps.'

No one expects a baby to stand up one day and walk across the room. There's a lot that goes on before a child meets that developmental milestone. They sit up, they crawl, they practice standing up in their crib. They take 'baby steps' towards mastering their actual baby steps.

You can take baby steps to reach your organizing goals, too. Here are a few examples:

- Toss expired medicine. Next chance you get, do the same with health products.
- Sort and purge your piles of coupons while waiting for pasta water to boil.
- Schedule 15 minutes on your calendar to organize your sock drawer.
- Read a few posts on organizing blogs that pertain to your organizing challenge(s).
- Look at organizing ideas/products on Pinterest (don't get sucked in, though!).

All of these teeny-tiny organizing projects/tasks are baby steps that will eventually get you where you want to be.

I often tell my clients to visualize their organizing goal as an iceberg. Baby steps are equal to the act of chipping away at that iceberg. Some days you may feel like you're chipping away with a hammer, other days, with a toothpick. Regardless of your tool, if you keep working at it, you will reach your goal, however challenging it may be.

You can get organized in 2013. I know you can. Just take a baby step--one little step in the direction of the organizing goals you have set for yourself. In the beginning, it may feel as if you're not making much progress but let me assure you--every 'baby step' you take towards reaching your goal will get you one step closer to the day when you can proudly shout from the rooftop, "I did it!

January 22, 2013

Organizing 'Quick Tip'

If you're like many people, you recently made one or two New Year's resolutions.

You've made a plan and you've set mini-goals for yourself to make those resolutions a reality--that's great. Maybe that plan includes weekly organizing sessions. Maybe you'll be organizing your garage in the Spring or you'll be spending time every day going through your bulging file cabinets.

Whatever plans you have for reaching your organizing goals this year, follow this quick-tip to make reaching your goals easier on your mind and body.

Determine when you are 'at your best' and schedule organizing at that time.

Melting Wall Clock - Photo: coolclockshop.com

Are you a morning person?
A night owl?
Somewhere in between? (I call myself an Afternoon Person...)

If you're not sure when your most 'productive' time of day is, try doing one simple organizing task before breakfast. Try another one on another day in the early/late afternoon. Try another one at 10pm. When did you feel you did your best?

Aim to work at an organizing task when your energy and concentration levels are high. Being alert at 'task time' will help you to accomplish your mini-goals faster, more creatively and consciously.

The saying may go, 'The early bird catches the worm," but if you're not an early bird, then it's highly unlikely you'll be successful at worm-catching (and then organizing them afterward...).

Work with the natural rhythms of your body and brain. Your productivity will soar, your organizing goals will be met, and you'll embrace the end of the year with an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

January 16, 2013

SMEAD - Poly Translucent Slash Jackets

Another product from SMEAD has arrived in my mailbox!

January's product review is for the Poly Translucent Slash Jacket. It sounds like a great name for a punk rock band to me, but it's not--it's really the name of an office product.

The 'Slash Jacket' comes in 'clear' or a pack of assorted colors. SMEAD sent me one in a nice baby blue. It's very pretty...

They are...
- translucent
- 3-hole punched for standard three-ring binders
- letter size
- acid free, archival quality
- closed on both sides and on the bottom

And they have pockets on both sides - great for storing lots of papers!

The 'Slash' part of this product is what makes it functional. Papers are kept safe and at the same time are easy to retrieve and put away. Try doing that with a full plastic sleeve--not as easy...

I wouldn't use them for recipes but I could see using them in a binder of information that requires easy access such as...

- A Wedding binder - one side for ideas, one side for vendor contracts
- A Decorating/Adding On/Building a New Home binder - one side for each room of the house
- A binder for Students - one side for tests, the other side for important class notes

No need for a hole puncher. No little, punched-out circles all over your desk or floor. The Poly Translucent Slash Jacket is a perfect solution for organizing, storing and retrieving papers in a three-ring binder.

January 8, 2013

Planning + Mini-Goals = New Year's Resolution Success

In my last post, guest blogger Audrey Cupo of a A Better Space encouraged you to evaluate the past and plan for the future.

Well, the future is here. Did you make any resolutions for the next twelve months?

According to the people at StatisticBrain.com, the top ten New Year's resolutions for 2013 are:

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

Did you see that? 'Getting Organized' is one of the top two resolutions people made in the new year. Looks like my colleagues and I are going to be very busy this year!

All kidding aside, many people say they want to get organized but are not successful at achieving their goal. Unfortunately, only a small percentage are. But why?

A few reasons:
- The goals they set for themselves are too vague.
- People get easily discouraged and give up too soon.
- They don't have a way of measuring their successes however small.

They don't have a PLAN.

That's why I would advise anyone who has made a resolution for themselves this year to do two things first:
- Create a plan for reaching your New Year's goal
- Set mini-goals within that plan

Planning out the path for reaching a goal can be as easy as doing a 'brain dump' on a piece of paper or on your computer. Create a list of all the steps you need to take to reach your goal. They don't need to be in any order--you can fix that later.

If you're a visual person like me, you might want to use a graphic organizer to help you with your plan. This is a great way to organize your thoughts. An example of one:

Courtesy of The Writing Bug

If 'Getting Organized' is one of your New Year's resolutions, write 'Get Organized' in the big circle. In the next smaller circles write the room/area of your home or life you'd like to get organized. In the smallest circles (attached to the medium sized circles) list the tasks that need to be done to achieve your resolution to get organized. Create as many spokes and circles as needed. These are your mini-goals.

A mini-goal is a tiny step to complete on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. It helps you to break down the process into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Examples of mini-goals for getting your home/life organized:

-Every Tuesday, I will sort/purge/organize one drawer in my dresser until all drawers have been gone through.

-I will label an envelope 'Receipts' and once a week, I will empty my wallet of all receipts into that envelope. At the end of the month I will review all receipts.

-At the end of the day, I will spend 15 minutes making sure all items are in the home they belong in.

-I will create a 'Donations' bag in my garage and pledge to put all items to be donated in it. When I know I will pass the local thrift shop, I will put the bag in my car, drop off the donations and place the donations bin back in its 'home.'

-I will inventory my pantry before heading to the supermarket.

Successfully setting mini-goals and reaching them are cause for celebration--don't over look that. Every mini-goal milestone brings you a step closer to your goal and should be honored and celebrated!

"Vision without action is daydream. 
Action without vision is nightmare" 
- Japanese proverb

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? What's your plan?