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February 24, 2010

Time Management Tip: Start Your Day with Your Most Important Task

If you’ve ever read a book on time management then the idea of starting your day with your most important task isn’t a new idea. But, here’s the big question: do you do it? Do you routinely begin your day by making progress on the most important task or project on your to-do list?

If not, why not start today? Here’s how.

First, identify your most important task. For example, this could be one step forward on your most important goal or project. Once you have that important task in mind, post it in the comments, and then, write it down at the top of your daily to-do list.

Next, go do that task! Do it before checking your email or connecting with friends on Facebook. Do it before your first Tweet of the day, or ahead of reading the newspaper. Go do it now.

Then, tonight before going to bed, identify tomorrow’s most important task. Put it at the top of tomorrow’s to-do list, and do it first thing! Repeat this process every day until it becomes a habit.

By starting your day with your most important task, you start your day with a win. You instantly feel more productive, and that feeling will fuel your productivity all day long. Give it a try, and see for yourself. Then, let me know what you think.

February 22, 2010

technical difficulties

If you're trying to purchase something right now you have probably already noticed this but our shopping cart is experiencing technical difficulties at the moment. For our shopping cart we use a hosted solution, which is technical speak for "this problem is out of our control." We're hoping our hosting company gets things back together soon. Very soon. I'll keep you posted via the blog, but in the meantime thank you for your patience!

Updated:  Everything is working again. You can shop away. :)

It's Monday Morning...How was Your Weekend?

Happy Monday morning to you, and welcome to the brand new week. Woohoo! I hope you had a great weekend and a productive one if you played along with Finish It Friday this weekend. I did pretty well with my to-do list, and also enjoyed relaxing on the big chair, watching the Olympics. I’m really enjoying the Olympics this time around.

So here’s how I did on my list:

  • Finish laundry. Done! (Though oddly, I didn't finish laundry until last night. I sure liked it better the weekend before when laundry was all done on Saturday.)
  • Start and finish cleaning the house. Done! With the help of the whole family --- funny how much more enjoyable the task is with some helpers.
  • Pick two things from my to-finish list. Done! I picked some nagging, lingering to-dos such as returning some items to a friend and hand-washing the one item that needed hand-washing for a really long time. Simple task and now it’s done.

I also started some spring / deeper cleaning projects in the kitchen—like washing the utensil drawer dividers and silverware dividers. I also used Murphy's Oil Soap on the bottom cabinets and pantry door. Whew, looks so much better. Next week, if the mood strikes, I’ll finish up this cabinet cleaning project, doing more inside and outside cabinets and drawers.

Claudia asked how I keep track of my to-do lists. (Great question Claudia!) I’ll share that in a post later this week. So stay tuned.

Remember, today is a great day to plan your week. What would you like to accomplish this week before Friday? Make a list and see how many things you can check off this week. Also, remember our friend Move It Forward Monday. Use today to make a bit of progress, or to move forward, any project or task that was on last week’s to-do list but didn’t get finished up. Sound like a plan? Terrific! I’ll be right there with you as I have a long to-do list this week. So let’s get busy! Remember to share in the comments how you did on your Finish It Friday list. I can't wait to hear!

February 19, 2010

It's Friday - are you in this week?

Wow, Friday already! I hope you had a great week. Are you up for some Finish It Friday fun? I'm going to keep it simple again this weekend. Here's my list;

  • finish laundry. (I'm happy to report I'm quite ahead of the game this weekend...that feels good!)
  • start and finish cleaning the house.
  • pick two things from my to-finish list.

What's on your weekend to-do list?

February 16, 2010

Simplify 101 Shares Organizing Ideas on Great Day St. Louis

Yesterday I had the opportunity to share organizing ideas on Great Day St. Louis, a live television program that airs Monday through Friday on KMOV in St. Louis. Most of the ideas I talked about relate to controlling paper clutter, concepts that are straight from Organize Your Paper Clutter. You can watch the video here. Hope you enjoy. :) 

February 15, 2010

How was your weekend?

Hope you had a great weekend! How did you do with your Finish It Friday list? I look forward to hearing…just give your update in the comments section.

Okay, here’s my update:

  • Laundry and house cleaning — finished! Woohoo.
  • List one item on Craig’s list (drum roll please) — finished!
  • I also finished up one additional item on my “to-finish” list. Hooray!

The best part of all was that my original to-finish list was done on Saturday. This meant Sunday was sort of a do-whatever-you-want kind of day. I liked it.

Hope you had a great weekend and have a happy Monday!

February 12, 2010

Finish it Friday

Woohoo—Friday is upon us again! So, who is in for another round of Finish It Friday? I am—that’s for sure.

Here’s my list:

First, the usual stuff…

  • Finish the laundry. (Yawn, yawn.)
  • Start and finish cleaning the house.

And then, in the true spirit of Finish It Friday…

  • List at least one item on Craig’s list.

I’m keeping it short and simple this weekend so that I have no excuses to not list an item on Craig’s List. (I can do it! Right? Right.) Okay, now it’s your turn. What’s on your to-finish list this weekend?

February 11, 2010

Have You Tried Online Organizing Workshops?

If not, now is a great time to do so! Why’s that, you ask? Well, because now through Tuesday, February 16th we’re doing something we’ve never done before. We’re offering 20% off all of our online organizing workshops! This is a really exciting and rare opportunity to join a workshop and a supportive online community that will motivate you to take action and get organized! Whether its paper clutter you’re struggling with or your closet has you outside of your clutter comfort zone—there’s a workshop coming up with your name on it! 

Here’s a quick overview of the coming attractions: 

S101WS0016-S2-1 For far less than the price of a new pair of shoes, Organize Your Closet makes it simple and fun to say “ahhhh” every time you open your closet door. Learn my organizing secrets that will help you utilize your closet space to its fullest potential, solve common closet organizing problems without spending a fortune, and let go of clothes you no longer wear. In just two weeks you'll be saying “goodbye” to jumbled piles of shoes, clothes, and purses, and saying “hello” to closet organizing bliss.

Are you drowning in piles of paper clutter? If so, here’s some great news:  with the right paper organizing systems in place—those created with you, your paper, and your home in mind—you can free yourself from paper clutter and the stress that comes along with it. In Organize Your Paper Clutter, you’ll learn a step-by-step process on how to decide if you need a piece of paper (and for how long!) and how to organize it so you’ll find it again right when you need it! Your piles (and your stress!) will be replaced by organizing systems you love, and feelings of confidence, relief and peace of mind!


S101WS0015-S4-1 If you’re so far outside of your clutter-comfort zone that you’re overwhelmed and don’t know how to get started, Help! I Don't Know Where to Begin was designed with you in mind! This one week workshop gives you the chance to begin clearing the clutter in your home, and give the simplify 101 online workshops a try—all for less than a dollar a day!

Remember, each of these workshops is offered online, so regardless of where you live you can take advantage of this special opportunity to save. If you have any questions at all about my workshops, such as how they work, or which one might the best choice for you, please post them in the comments. I’m happy to help!

February 10, 2010

How to Overcome Scrapbook Overwhelm

Yesterday I talked about last week's Paperclipping Roundtable which was all about why people don't scrapbook. The number one reason given during the discussion is that people don't scrapbook because they are overwhelmed. More specifically, they are overwhelmed by all the choices that come along with scrapbooking. 

So how great is this? This week's round-table discussion is all about getting past those overwhelmed feelings by letting go of supplies and getting more organized. And (it just keeps getting better) I had the pleasure of sitting on this week's panel. Yes, it was a really fun morning chatting about two of my favorite things—scrapbooking and organizing. The podcast was recorded yesterday and should be up on the site later today. I hope you listen in...great discussion about the obstacles of letting go of scrapbook supplies and much, much more.

Project-life At the end of the podcast each of the panelists shares a product pick. Mine is Project Life by Becky Higgins. I'm so excited about this product because I think it really addresses so many of the obstacles scrapbookers face—the very ones mentioned yesterday. Product selection is made easy—it's all right there for you in the kit. Perfection is addressed. Everything is already designed for simply slide in your photos and journaling cards. The time issue is addressed—this is a much faster approach than traditional scrapbooking. And the best part, in my opinion, is that you can use this system with traditional scrapbooking, too. So this isn't an all or nothing proposition—just another way to document your memories.

As I see it, it's a win all the way around. I don't personally have this system (yet) but I plan to give it a try. I first learned of this product on Ali's site (and she shares great things about it in the podcast, too.) Plus, several of the scrapbookers in my online workshops have a Project Life kit (or two or maybe even more) and they love it. That's compelling enough for me to give it a try.

If you have Project Life, I'd love to hear what you think of it, and how you use it. If you don't have it, and you're feeling overwhelmed, stifled by perfectionism or short on time—what do you think? Could Project Life help you? Thanks for sharing.

February 09, 2010

The Parallels between Why People Don’t Scrapbook & Why People Don’t Get Organized

Last week I discovered Paperclipping Roundtable, a weekly podcast that offers a fun, light-hearted group discussion about scrapbooking. Each week’s show features a different discussion topic and different panelists. The theme of last week’s roundtable was Why People Don't Scrapbook and the panelists were Noell Hyman, Nancy Nally, Lain Ehmann and Izzy Hyman.

If you’re a scrapbooker or a used-to-be-scrapbooker (who isn’t doing it much any more) or someone who is stuck when it comes to getting started getting organized, I encourage you to have a listen. It is a very interesting discussion, not only because it involves scrapbooking, but also because there are so many parallels between why people don’t scrapbook and why people don’t get started getting organized.

Parallel #1:  People don’t scrapbook because they are overwhelmed. This is what I hear most when people call me inquiring about my organizing services. People have a difficult time getting started with getting organized because they are completely overwhelmed by their clutter and they simply don’t know where or how to begin.

In the case of scrapbooking, the scrapbooker becomes overwhelmed by all the choices she (or he) faces when it comes time to scrapbook. Which products should I use, which photos should I use, and then how do I put all these elements together into a layout? Since I started scrapbooking, one thing is for sure—the options have absolutely multiplied! There are more products on the market than before, and for all the problems digital photography solves it has created a new one:  more photos and consequently more choices about which photos to use!

Parallel #2:  Perfectionism prevents people from scrapbooking just as it keeps people from starting and finishing organizing projects. Oh my goodness, how did we all become such perfectionists? I know that I was raised by a very well-intentioned perfectionist and this has definitely had its consequences in my life—some good and some not too good. But I find it so ironic that our desire to do something perfectly often prevents us from doing it at all.

Parallel #3: Time constraints get in the way of scrapbooking and getting organized.

It’s interesting how these three reasons for not scrapbooking (or for not getting organized) work together to work against you! If you’re a perfectionist, for example, it’s even harder to make choices, making you even more overwhelmed. Then, since you’re worried about making the perfect choice, you second guess your decisions, which means decision-making takes even more time (something you’re already short on.) When you’re overwhelmed, it feels like getting organized or scrapbooking will take forever…and if you’re striving for perfection, chances are you’re right! See how these obstacles create a snowball effect?

Last week’s Paperclipping Roundtable offers terrific ideas to help scrapbookers get past these obstacles. Below are some quick ideas for getting past these obstacles when it comes to getting organized.

Overwhelm: The best remedy I know to organizing-overwhelm is to simply get started taking action. It really doesn’t matter which room you begin in; what does matter is that you simply get started clearing out some clutter, creating space, and creating momentum. When you’re taking action and moving forward, you won’t feel overwhelmed any more—you’ll feel energized and empowered. So pick a room, set your timer for fifteen minutes, remove some clutter, and see for yourself. (By the way, Help—I Don’t Know Where to Begin covers this process in detail. Plus, you get started getting organized with the support of a friendly and encouraging online community—which also really helps in the motivation department.)  

Perfectionism: When it comes to getting organized, focus on progress instead of perfection! There really isn’t a perfect, one-size-fits-all organizing solution. So you can stop your search for the perfect solution right now. (How freeing is that?) Instead of trying to find the perfect organizing solution, look for a solution that is better than what you’re doing now. Focus on incremental improvements—gradually making things better and more organized, instead of going for the perfect organizing solution all at once. This approach is easier and takes away a whole lot of pressure. Additionally, when you’re making progress—even if you haven’t found the perfect solution—things are getting better. You’ll find yourself living with less clutter and living with more order and peace.

Time constraints: To combat this obstacle, enact a policy of use what you have organizing. If you have five spare minutes a day, use those five minutes to clear out some clutter! Or set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier, and start your day with a quick and speedy dose of decluttering. How about spending the first fifteen minutes after you get home from work decluttering, instead of catching the news or having a quick snack? Look for the little, available pockets of time, and focus on using them to make progress. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with just fifteen minutes of decluttering!

So what do you think? Do these obstacles apply to you either in scrapbooking or organizing—or both? What strategies have you developed to overcome these obstacles? I look forward to hearing from you!

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