Archive for the ‘implement’ Category

Planning

May 27, 2014

Do you have a plan for the day? Do you have a general idea of what you’re going to do or what you want to accomplish today? I’m sure you have places you have to be – perhaps work or appointments – that are accompanied by a specific time. That takes up part of your day. What about the rest of your day? Do you have friends you want to call or meet up with? Do you have errands you want to do? Perhaps you have a project like reorganizing a room on your mind. How or when will you get started? How will you get the other things that are swirling around in your mind done?

Planning is the key to getting things accomplished. Think about it. You schedule a dentist appointment, doctor’s visit, a haircut and the list goes on. You set aside time to take care of these appointments. So, how about setting aside time to get things done at home?

Recently, I was working with someone to reorganize their laundry room. I knew this was going to be a large (lengthy) project so rather than try to accomplish it in one day which would have been overwhelming we set aside time each day during the course of a week. We broke the project down into small manageable steps. You never know exactly how long each step will take and, in fact, one of the steps in this laundry room project took a little longer than anticipated.

Our first step, which should be the first step in every reorganization of a space, was to remove everything from this laundry room – other than the washer and drier, which we left in place. Then we sorted the items we had removed. Once we knew what was going to return to this room we were able to talk about how to organize these things. It’s important to creatively use the space you have. We decided that installing shelves about the washer with an additional shelf and clothes hanging bar above the drier would allow us to put everything away neatly.

We planned time to shop at The Container Store for the elfa shelving system and then we planned time to install the shelves and put everything away. The laundry room reorganization was a huge success! All the items are put away. The room looks great!

Do you have something in mind that you want to tackle this summer? Take a little time and write down all the ideas you have swirling around in your mind. Make a prioritized list of these ideas and decide which one you want to tackle first. Then make a plan. Schedule the time to implement your plan. Remember it may require that you spread this out over several days or maybe even several  weeks. If you plan it, it can happen!

Small Steps

June 11, 2013

This morning The Institute for Challenging Disorganization posted a comment on Facebook about setting a goal for the week and then breaking that goal down into small steps. One step to accomplish each day so that by the end of the week the goal will be reached.

I love this concept! It’s one of my favorites and one that I regularly teach my clients. Are you thinking to yourself that this is a very simple concept? Well, you are right. It is a simple concept but it’s also one that people tend to forget when faced with a goal that they’d like to reach but don’t have the time for it today.

Start by making your calendar your best friend. Think about the goal you have in mind. Then work backwards. What is the step you have to do just before reaching your goal? What is the step before that.. and so on until you arrive at the first step to take. Write the individual steps down. Then plot the steps into your calendar, actually schedule them into your day. If some of the steps take only a few minutes to complete you may be able to do more than one step in a session.

This process can be applied to just about any goal or project you can think up. Do you have summer reading to complete? I do. I’m studying for an exam which I’ll take in September at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization Conference. I have 5 books to read in order to prepare. I’ve already taken all the required classes. To get these books read, take notes and study them I have to plan ahead. Taking small steps, setting aside small amounts of time each day to read a few chapters at a time enables me to reach my goal.

Maybe you have a room in your house you’d like to reorganize. Take a look at the space. Decide how you want to use the room. The remove the items that don’t support your vision for the room. You can probably tell that a project like this will also involve decisions about what to keep and where to keep these things, what to donate and what to trash or recycle.

Maybe you have a smaller project like organizing a drawer. Whatever your project may be breaking it into small steps will help you reach your goal.

Inspiration?

May 8, 2013

What inspires you? Sometimes we find inspiration from books, in nature, from something someone has said to us. Recently, I encouraged a client to purchase a small bookcase. She had many books stored in plastic boxes and was eager to get more settled in her home. We looked online and found a great bookcase at The Container Store. I picked up the bookcase for my client and delivered it to her home. Then together we unpacked the boxes. As we unpacked, my client carefully looked at each book. Some she decided she didn’t want any more and was ready to donate them to Goodwill, some we put on the newly installed bookcase, and some she decided could be kept on a shelf in a closet.

When our session was over my client announced that she was going to keep on working. She said that having this bookcase was inspiring her to keep on working to declutter her living space. She found her inspiration in this piece of furniture which added organization to her home. I was very proud of her and told her that she was making tremendous progress towards the organization she craves to achieve in her home.

To see a picture of this bookcase follow the link from #The Container Store.

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10012950&N=&Ntt=folding+bookcase

http://images.containerstore.com/catalogimages/150896/WhiteStckbleFldngBkcase300.jpg

Sometimes taking a small step, making a small change, will lead you to make bigger changes. It’s easier, for instance, to decide to organize a small space first like a drawer or a shelf. Doing one shelf or drawer – making that the way you really want it to be – can lead you to do another and then another. When you see the change in that one small space that can inspire you to make even more changes in your living environment.

Write me back and let me know what inspires you to make a change in your surroundings!

Brain Dump?

September 25, 2012

Does your brain ever spin? You know, when you have so many thoughts and ideas swimming around inside that you haven’t a clue which one to attend to first? Well, that’s the way my brain feels today. I’ve just returned from a conference in Chicago sponsored by the Insitute for Challenging Disorganization. The speakers were simply outstanding!  Thankfully, the program book with the presenters’ handouts had room for me to take notes. Over the course of 4 days I attended the presentations, met with friends and reviewed the material presented. Now, it’s time for me to think about how this information applies to me and my business. Some of the material is simply awesome information to have and review from time to time. Other information can be directly applied to help me guide some of my clients (current and future) be better organized.

What do you do when your head is full of so many ideas? The routine I follow is to make a brain dump. That’s when I take out a pad of paper and a pen and write down all the ideas as they occur to me – in no particular order. Then when I’ve finished with this list I review the list and combine like ideas. This allows me to organize my thoughts. I can see which ideas naturally fit together and further see what I need to do to implement them. I’m thinking that I may need to tweak some of the forms I use and perhaps upgrade some of my methodologies.

Once I have an organized list I take out my calendar and start scheduling appointments with myself to work on these new ideas and skills. The good news is that I know if I follow my calendar these new ideas will be slowly incorporated into my business and will have a great impact!

If you have lots of ideas swirling in your mind… if your brain is spinning why don’t you try this strategy? I bet it will work for you as it does for me.

Whatever Works

July 31, 2012

The other day I had a wonderful conversation with my younger son, Andy. He said,  ‘Mom, you’re going to be so proud of me! Wait ’til I tell you what I’ve done.” I was trying to imagine as he said that what was coming next. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted what he told me. Andy went on to say “I just bought an accordion file. I’m filing all my receipts and important papers. It’s really working well for me.” He was right! I am proud of him. As the conversation progressed I learned that he was tired of having to hunt through stacks of paper to find what he was looking for. He was also tired of looking at the stacks of paper. Awhile ago, I had suggested that he find a filing system that works for him. I wanted him to be able to find important documents without wasting time hunting through piles of paper. In fact, I believe I had sent him some pictures of different methods to control paper chaos. As a mom of a young adult living on his own I can only make so many suggestions before they become an annoyance rather than a help. I was very pleasantly surprised that Andy had taken the initiative and found a system that works for him and that he was willing to use.

That is a key component to being organized. Figure out what will work for you and then commit to using the system. It does no good to sit back and figure out what works unless you are willing to put in the time to implement the system. Clearly, Andy was motivated. I asked why he was using an accordion file instead of a two drawer filing cabinet. He responded that the accordion worked for him because he doesn’t have a dedicated work space yet. He told me he puts the accordion file on a shelf in his coat closet. He loves that he knows where the papers are currently and where to put more as they come into his house. I pointed out that this system will accomodate only so much paper. He told me he was aware of that and that he plans to cull the individual sections a couple of times a year. I think he has it all figured out and that this system will work for him!

Multiple Interests

April 17, 2012

Do you have multiple interests? I do. I love to garden and now is prime gardening season for me. More on that later. I also love to do fine needlepoint. I have a needlepoint project that I am close to completing and can already see it in its completed form – a pillow! Baking is another interest or hobby I have. My husband loves to have cakes and cookies in the house. His metabolism is so fast that he needs to eat these yummy creations in order to maintain his slim weight – lucky guy!

Then there is my business. This business I run is more than an interest it is a passion and a responsibility. As such it is a priority for me. So how do I keep track of the projects I want to implement or changes I want to make in my business as well as my other hobbies and interests? Another way to ask this question is: how do I make time for my other interests and stay on top of the projects I have going on for my business? I should also say that another interest I have or another place I devote my time is to my home and my family. I bet you have many things that demand your attention also!

So, what to do? Life is a bit of a juggling act. I have written before that I don’t believe in a perfect balance between work life and personal life. Let’s take this one step further and imagine that all my interests (business, family and friends included) are spheres which I can juggle. Dan Thurman (the closing keynote speaker at the NAPO Conference in Baltimore) pointed out that when juggling you have to let go of one thing in order to catch another. He also said that you should never try to do it all at once. Instead, do one thing at a time and do it really well.

Back to my interests and hobbies, how do I apply this advice? I schedule my time carefully. For me it is imperative that I truly focus my attention on the task at hand. This way if I only have a small amount of time to give to that task I will be mindfully present and do my very best. Also, I do not try to do it all every day. There’s no way I can give time to every interest I have or every project I’m interested in every day.  I pick and chose what I do according to the time I have available and the importance of the task. When I’m not working on a particular project it is on the back burner. I know where I left off and will be ready to pick it back up when I next assign some time to that project.

Sometimes I only have a little bit of time to spend on a project but a little bit is better than if I did nothing at all. Just a few minutes ago, after I had my lunch, I went out into my garden for about 15 minutes. It is a gorgeous sunny day and I had a bag to contain any clipping I did or weeds I pulled so that I would not have to go back and pick up after myself. I also had my clippers. I did a little weeding and clipped some beautiful roses which I put in water when I came back inside. All together I spent about 30 minutes – a terrific (green clear my head to get back into work mode) break.

My advice is to identify the ways in which you spend your time. Figure out your priorities. Plan your time so that you are only focusing on one interest at a time and doing it well. As Dan Thurman indicated in his speech nobody starts out juggling 5, 6, or 7 items. You start with one or two and build up to more. So, if you are juggling so many interests that you feel like your head is spinning perhaps you need to scale it back a little. Then, as you are more comfortable add one interest at a time.