Posts Tagged ‘scheduling’

Moving Again?!

August 24, 2016

Yes, I took some time off writing this blog because I was preparing to move again. I did what I tell all my clients to do. I took a long hard look at my things. I emptied out cupboards and only packed that which I really wanted to take with me. I donated some things, sold some things and put some things out for the trash. And I scheduled 3 appointments with a professional organizer. Yes. Even professional organizers need some guidance and encouragement when tackling difficult tasks!

Then the move happened. I didn’t go far – only about 8 miles or so from where I had been living but it seems light years away. More about that in a moment.

It doesn’t matter how organized or prepared you are – moving is stressful. There is a chaotic feeling about the day of the move. I knew this would happen so I took my dogs, Miles and Josie, to be boarded for a week. I didn’t want them to get even more upset watching the process of dismantling their house. Also, with all the doors open there was a chance that they may get lost!

The truck made its way to my new home. Everything was unloaded. Furniture was placed. And then the boxes. OH, BOY were there ever boxes!

I gave myself a week to unpack, put things away, and hang pictures. That was a very tall order. I did get all the boxes unpacked and everything put away. I am pondering the placement of a few pictures but most of them are hung and look great!

Miles and Josie came home to a house that was full of familiar smells, familiar pieces of furniture in unfamiliar places. They have adjusted well and so have I.

I’m resuming a normal work schedule and feel really settled. I am attending to some volunteer tasks that I had let slide while I was preparing to move.

Yes. I still have things I want to do. I want to tweak the shelving in a few places. I want to paint the rooms. I have HUGE ideas for my garden. These things can wait. I will get to them one project at a time.

The most important thing I want to share with you is that while moving is undeniably stressful there are things you can do to speed up the transition from one home to another.

1.      Be mindful of your decisions of what to take with you when you move

2.      Only bring things you Love, Need, Use

3.      Unpack and put away as quickly as you can

4.      Unpack your bedroom first so you can get a good night’s sleep

5.      Pace yourself

6.      Recycle the packing paper quickly

7.      Cut down and flatten the boxes (my moving company reuses the boxes and came to collect them)

8.      Board your pets – moving is stressful for them too!

I’m so happy to be in my new home! I hope if you move some of these suggestions will help you in your transition to your new home!

Workers Putting Furniture And Boxes In Truck

 

 

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Can You Ever Really Be Done?

June 15, 2016

 

Close-up embroidery

I want to continue a discussion about getting to the bottom of your ‘to-do’ list. I talked last week about finishing the tasks on your ‘to-do’ list and a strategy I have been using with great success! The strategy is to assign a group of tasks related to a specific topic to a day.

Now, I’m wondering if any of you reading this have ever felt the way I do on occasion. Sometimes I find myself thinking ‘when I get this, this, and this done then I will have time to relax and take care of something I really WANT to do’.

The truth is that there will always be things to do. That’s what life is all about. Some things are chores, some things are fun, some things are hard and some are easy. But there are always, always things to be done whether or not you chose to put them on a list.

How do you fit in the little (or big) things that you want to do that you (I) keep putting off until I get all these other things done? I have decided to schedule time into my weekly plan for the projects that are near and dear to my heart. For me, it’s needlepoint. I have a beautiful needlepoint canvas that I’ve been slowly working on. Actually, I had been thinking about working on it but had been neglecting it as I was so focused on getting other things done!  I had hope to have it finished by the summer. That’s not happening. I had been letting other things take priority over my needlepoint.

Since I started last week grouping my tasks and getting to the bottom of my daily ‘to-do’ list I’ve been able to plan time into my day – every day – for a little needlepoint. I talking about a ½ hour or so. This small change in my routine has made an incredible difference in my ability to feel more in control of all the things (tasks) on my mind.

Is there a small change that you want to make in your routine that will help you feel more in control? Do you have things that you’ve been putting off until everything else is done?

 

 

 

Organizing Conference #NAPO2016

May 25, 2016

I just had the great good fortune to attend two days of the #NAPO2016 Conference in Atlanta. It was my original intention to attend the entire conference but my two sons and daughter-in-law decided that it would be good to visit me. I LOVE it when they visit as they do not live anywhere nearby but I freely admit that I was hoping they would not choose to visit when I was in the middle of attending this great conference. However, the three of them arrived on Friday evening and I was home to greet them. In my world, family trumps everything.

This blog post is not about my family but about the wonderful time I had at the NAPO 2016 conference in Atlanta.

The sessions I attended were fantastic! I am so happy to belong to an organization which brings in great quality speakers to further the education of their members. I will write more about the sessions next week.

For the first time this year I had a table at the Expo with two other organizer colleagues: Jonda Beattie and Judith Kolberg. We were selling our organizing books. It was a blast as many organizers stopped by our table to chat, see what was new, and buy our books. We, Jonda and I, had two new books available for sale. They are two children’s organizing books. They teach children how to go about the task of breaking down a seemingly overwhelming project (picking up a very messy room) into small manageable components. They are titled: Suzie’s Messy Room and Benji’s Messy Room. It was exciting for us to have our organizing colleagues see our new books, like the illustrations and the content, and buy them. We are working with one organizer who wants to buy the books in bulk and then provide them to participants in her workshop. Please feel free to contact me if you have a similar idea.

The other great thing that happened this year at conference – actually it happens every year – is connecting in person with organizers that I usually just communicate with online. We are a community. We speak the same organizer language and totally support one another in our efforts to give our clients the best organizing services. That means that we refer out to one another when necessary. It is an extraordinary experience to be among such a wonderful like-minded group of talented colleagues.

Admittedly, going to conference is an expensive experience. You have the cost of travel, hotel, buying from the vendors, some meals, and entertainment. I’ve found that putting money aside each month in an account earmarked for conference is the best way to afford the investment in my education as an organizer.

If you have a professional conference that you’d like to attend try my strategy of a savings account specifically for that event. I’d love to hear your thoughts on conferences. Do you attend them? Do you find them worthwhile?

 

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely  - SMART Concept

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely – SMART Concept. Conceptual image with yellow paint line on the road over asphalt stone background.

 

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!

Tomorrow?

April 9, 2014

Do you like to put things (tasks) off to do tomorrow? If you do, I bet if you think about it you’ll admit that the things you put off until tomorrow continue to be put off again and again. The other expression of this action is procrastination. Sometimes I find that another more time sensitive task has appeared on my ‘to-do’ list and because my time is finite – I have only the time I have in which to take care of tasks – something gets bumped off my today list and rescheduled.

That word – rescheduled – is key here. I find nothing happens unless it is given a specific day and time.

Another key component to getting things done is to take care of the things you least want to do first. Perhaps you think it will take too much time and so you decide to put off this task that you don’t want to do until you have enough time to complete it all at once. In my experience, you never have enough time and if you just go ahead and start this dreaded task you may find it doesn’t take nearly as long as you anticipated that it would. Also, starting this dreaded task allows you to more clearly break it down into manageable smaller steps. So, start and do as much as you can in the time you have allotted to the task and then move on to other tasks that are scheduled for that day.

Something else to consider is that we’re all very busy. We have lots and lots to think about and to remember. Generally, it’s easier to remember things that we want to do. Sometimes, if we don’t particularly want to do something it’s easier to put it on the back burner and forget about it. I find that having a master list is a good way to stay on top of the tasks that are important to take care of. I make a daily list from that master list. If something is time sensitive I put the date (due date) beside the task. For instance, taxes must be mailed by April 15th. I must have them done by April 14th – sooner, if possible.

Making a list is a sure fire way to keep track of all tasks – especially the ones you dread. Putting things off until tomorrow will not make them go away. It just means that the task stays on your mind – even if it is in the back of your mind – for a longer period of time. Why not just dive in and get it done so that you can enjoy the rest of your day?

Are there certain tasks that you continually put off until tomorrow?

 

Maintenance is Key!

February 5, 2014

Are you thinking about getting your home really organized? Do you like the thought that once all your belongings have a place to be you will be able to find what you need when you want it? As a professional organizer I think these are beautiful concepts. The caveat here is that once everything is organized you must maintain the system.

Think about this another way. If you have a car you need to make sure it has gas in the tank. Every now and then the car will need to have the oil changed or undergo a routine servicing so that the car continues to run smoothly. The car will also need to be washed so that you can see clearly out the windshield – front and back. If there is trash in the car – like food wrappers, empty water bottles, or soda cans they can be thrown out so the car can be vacuumed. It’s also good to remove the trash so you have room for people and other things, like groceries, that you really want to carry in your car.

Your home is much the same. You can’t expect to organize once and be done. Schedule a few minutes every morning to make sure the bed is made, dirty clothes in the hamper, and the dishes washed and put away or rinsed and put in the dishwasher. Plan these chores into your morning routine so that when you return home from work you don’t have these chores to tackle before you can begin preparing for dinner.

Schedule a few minutes in the evening to sort the mail. Take the time to at least separate out the mail to be recycled or shredded from the mail that needs attention – like bills or invitations.

As you go from room to room in your house if you see a few things out of place put them where they belong. You’ll thank yourself later. A few things are easy to attend to. That will only take you a short time. It’s when things are left out of place that they tend to multiply. Then it will take you much longer to take care of the out of place items. Don’t indulge yourself by saying “I’ll do it later”. In my experience, later never comes.

Plan time into your day everyday to clean and maintain one room of your home. Just as it’s impossible to organize once and be done it’s impossible to clean once and expect your furniture to remain dust free. It doesn’t take long to dust and vacuum a room when it’s done regularly. As you’re cleaning the furniture put aside anything that has lingered in the room and doesn’t belong there. When you’re finished cleaning take the time to put those out of place items where they belong.

Rotate through the rooms in your house taking care of one a day. Doing this regularly means that nothing is actually that dusty or dirty and it won’t take you very long. This way you don’t have to dedicate an entire day to cleaning your house. It’s much more rewarding to spend your day off doing something you want to do – maybe something fun with a friend or family, maybe something indulgent like a spa treatment, maybe some gardening… the possibilities are endless.

If you have a spouse or partner and/or children involve them in the maintenance routine. Teach them to put their belongings away. You can make a game out of it. Put on some good music and let everyone know that now is the time to gather things up if they are out of place and put them away. Let each person have a part in keeping your home clean and tidy. Doing this you accomplish several things. You teach your children how to pick up and put away and you teach them to care for their home in a responsible manner.

Remember the key to having a clean and well organized home is maintenance. Create the system and then work it.

Inch it?

June 18, 2013

I was reading the July 2013 issue of Real Simple magazine the other day. I always read the entire magazine – cover to cover – and always take away something valuable. Sometimes it’s a new idea for decorating, sometimes a new way to repurpose a common tool. This week was no exception.

One of my favorite regular features in the magazine is something called ‘Your Words’. This is a piece where readers respond to a question posed by the magazine. This month’s question is: What saying do you most often repeat?  One of the responses was “Inch it!” The responder tells the story about how her mother heard the expression “inch by inch, everything’s a cinch”. She explains that tasks are easier to perform if you tackle them one step at a time.

Does this sound familiar to you? It should! Last week I wrote about breaking tasks down into small steps. I also told you that I’m preparing for an exam that I’m taking in September by reading five books. I’m happy to report that I finished the second book yesterday! I was able to do this because I looked the book over, divided the number of pages by the number of days in which I wanted to complete the reading, then I scheduled reading into my calendar. Essentially, I created a series of reading sessions for myself. I knew that if I said to myself ‘today I’m going to read this entire book’ that it would not happen.

 The book I finished is titled Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding by Fugen Neziroglu, Jerome Bubrick, and Jose A. Yaryura-Tobias. In the chapter titled ” Cleaning up the Clutter” the authors tell the reader ” Generally speaking the larger the project, the higher likelihood of failing. You are much more likely to finish a series of small projects than you are to complete one large project” page 98.

I think these authors would like the expression “Inch it!” Clearing clutter out of your home an inch at a time is much easier than thinking of clearing out an entire room!

I love this expression and plan to start using it with my clients!

 

 

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.

Daily Habits

January 30, 2013

I have a several things (chores, actually) that I do everyday. I have done them so often now that taking care of these chores is a habit for me. You can call it a daily habit. Do you have tasks or chores that you’d like to be sure to do everyday? Take a look at the tasks you really want to accomplish on a daily basis. Maybe something like walking your dog or cleaning out the kitty litter? Walking the dog every morning accomplishes two things it gives you and your dog exercise. Cleaning out the kitty litter on a daily basis helps to combat the odor and eliminates the need for you to completely empty and refill the litter box as frequently. When you take care of the laundry frequently it doesn’t pile up and become a monumental or overwhelming task. Even just sorting the laundry regularly helps. You can see from the volume of clothes if you had better set aside some time to do a whites load or a colors load.

Once you decide which chores you want to do daily start by scheduling one task into your day everyday. When that becomes a routine for you – after a week or two – try adding another chore. Continue this process until you have created the habit of doing the tasks you want to do regularly. I’m not suggesting that you create a lengthy list. On the contrary, your list of things to do daily should only take about 30 – 45 minutes to complete (unless laundry is a task…that takes about 90 minutes total).

My daily habits include walking my dog, watering my plants (I grow orchids and check them daily), tidying the bathroom, and laundry. Write me back and let me know what chores you are going to turn into habits.

Priorities

August 10, 2011

Do you ever say things with conviction and then not follow through? I know I do sometimes. I have made promises to myself and then, I guess, not made that promise a priority – so it never happens. I have done that regarding this blog. I have told myself time and again that Wednesday mornings I will take a few minutes and create a new blog post. As you can see from the date of my last blog post a full month has gone by. What have I done with my Wednesday morning blog time? I can give you lots of things, lists of things I have done other than write this blog. The fact of the matter is that I have not made this a priority. It’s really pretty funny because I think of lots of things to write about when I am out walking my dog, Mr. Miles, every morning. So, I can’t tell you that I don’t sit down to do this because I don’t have anything to say. Also, I really do enjoy the writing process – I have fun putting the sentences together to, hopefully, create a meaningful (or at the very least interesting) blog. What do I think is preventing me from keeping this promise? The answer to that question is that I have not made writing a priority. I have not put the other things that come up aside. Writing this blog must become a scheduled activity on my Wednesday calendar – I’m going to put it in at 9:30am and we’ll see what happens next week.

Sometimes people put off doing things for no real reason. It could be they don’t make time (or schedule the time) to do them. It could be they are not really interested in …(fill in the blank). It could also be that whatever it is has not be made into a priority, so has not been scheduled.

I’m interested to know if there is something you could make into a priority. Is there something that you really want to do but don’t? Could you write it into your weekly calendar on a specific day and time to make it happen?