Office Organization

Wrong Time or Right Time to Set Goals?

It’s holiday time and while that means going to family gatherings and holiday parties.

It’s a great time to relax and enjoy yourself.

It can also be a great time or the wrong time to do any type of real planning.

 

The wrong time:

Many people make New Year’s Eve Resolutions.  Do you?  Does this situation sound familiar?

You’re having a casual conversation with someone at the party and suddenly they ask you,

“What are your New Year’s Resolutions?”

Without anything pre-planned, you answer with something off the top of your head like

“Lose 10 pounds this year.”  or  “Grow my business.”

 

There was no real thought to the sudden announcement of your goal.  It just came out of your mouth.  The fact that you said it, means it’s probably a goal you have been consciously, or subconsciously, thinking about.  Unless….  you heard someone else say it and you were just looking for an easy answer—especially if you had no goals in mind.

 

Goals at New Year's Eve Party

New Year’s Eve Resolutions are the worst idea for 90% of the people.

 

The right time:

 Eric Lofholm, a sales expert, does his yearly planning and even teaches free marketing and sales planning sessions in December of every year.

Either the days just before New Year’s Eve, or the first week after New Year’s Eve, are a great time to set your goals than on New Year’s Eve.   As long as you are thinking about your goals with some serious thought, it can be the right time for you. That means you take a piece of paper and write your goals down, seriously weighing them in your mind.  Or you can weigh them on paper by giving them a score of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.  This can tell you whether a goal is something you really want to achieve this year.  If you are seriously thinking about your goals, then this might be the right time for you to plan your goals.

goals, New Year's Eve 2018

 

So if you like to plan in January, when will you choose to plan your real goals–

Before or after New Year’s Eve?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

And if you came here without subscribing to my list, optin for more organizing ideas in January.

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Control Your Mail

It was our second Sunday meeting.  When I first saw her office, I was amazed at the banks and banks of 4-drawer lateral file cabinets on every wall.  I was used to a company having banks and banks of file cabinets, but not one person’s office.

 

I don’t know why I didn’t expect it.  After all I knew she was research scientist.

(So we will call her Marie after Marie Curie. I like to keep client names confidential.)  Marie was a Ph.D.  She already had several patents, but she was a paper warehouse.

 

Even after our third meeting, when she admitted she had stashed away 16 boxes full of mail, I didn’t flinch.  We just had to move to a conference room with a large table and dig through the boxes.

 

Hopefully you don’t have 16 banker boxes of mail, but one of the fastest ways to control your mail, is to eliminate what you don’t need in the first place – both paper and electronic mail.

 

Getting mail you either don’t want wastes your time.  So you need to get off mailing lists that you really don’t care about or aren’t reading.  Digitally, you can unsubscribe.  Just be careful not to unsubscribe from someone from whom you bought a program.  If you do, you will lose access to that program.

 

If you aren’t reading mail you’re getting, stop getting it. Most magazines or catalog companies will be happy to take you off their list — It saves them both printing and postage costs.  Just call them.  It’s worth 2 minutes of your time, and it comes off faster if you give them the information they put on your mailing label, like your customer account number.

 

Here’s some places you can go online to stop direct mail offers and get off some lists:

  1. To stop direct mail of magazine subscriptions, credit offers, catalogs, bank offers, and retail promotions– complete the form at the Direct Marketing association, dmachoice.org
  2. For unwanted credit or insurance offers, see OptOut Prescreen.com.
  3. For unwanted advertising, complete the National Do Not Mail List.at directmail.com.

Your own email service may have a spam folder as well.   (Always check- some things get marked as spam that are not.)

How’s your mail situation?

 

 

 

To Read , Not to Read, or to File – Magazines

Whether you work in an office environment or you just have magazines  at home; it’s a great time to clean out your reading material.

 

Magazines

 

magazine article

Discussing magazine article

Question:     Are you going to read that magazine?

Answer:       No

 

  1. Cancel subscriptions.

    If you have a year’s worth of magazines, chances are you no longer want to read that magazine. So unsubscribe from them so you don’t receive any more.

You can usually find the address under the Table of Contents to write or call to cancel the  subscription.

You will need your address label ID # if it was mailed to you, especially if it was in a plastic wrapper.

 

  1. Donate any used magazines to libraries, hospitals, or doctor’s offices.

    People in waiting rooms always love reading material.  (donate books too)  Wherever people wait, there is time to read.

 

 

Ans:  Yes

Was it an impulse buy at the checkout lane?

If so, you probably just want to read that one article that attracted your attention. Then pull out that one article, and donate the rest of the magazine.

 

If you have a collection of magazines that are sitting in a pile, here’s a great trick to make that pile disappear quickly:

  1. Go through the Table of Contents of ever magazine you want to keep.
  2. Highlight the article you really want to read.
  3. Remove the article, including all “continued on pg. ___” and staple it together.
  4. Put the articles in a To Read file that you can carry with you when you have to wait.
  5. Or – File the article in a subject area and read it when you open that subject’s file.  (paper or computer)

Waiting for a meeting to start, read at lunch, read on the train, read at appointments.  Read anywhere you wait 

 

Email Magazines/Newsletter

If you get magazines, or newsletters from people you don’t read, look for the “Unsubscribe link”  at the bottom of their newsletter.

Just DON’T UNSUBSCRIBE if you also bought a program from them or you won’t be able to access your program.

 

Other Reading Material – Reports, Charts, Statistics,

You may have something lengthy like Meeting Minutes, reports, charts, statistics, etc. that you want to read or even re-read to understand all of the material.  Put these items in your To Read file too!

 

Which of these techniques will you implement?  Comment below.

 

 

Are your Fall Goals too Big?

 Did you set some goals for this quarter?

If so, how are you doing?

Are you taking action?

 

action-running-stock-unlimited

Are you taking action on your goals?

If you feel you are not moving forward, a common reason is:

It is just too big!!!

 

What goal did you set?

Did you decide you are going to revamp your entire office?

 

Cutting the Clutter in your Office means:

  • Clear your desk – desktop AND drawers

    desk, papers, files, office organization,

    Messy Desk

  • Clear your file cabinet(s)  – how many cabinets do you have?
  • Clear your overhead bins
  • Clear the cubicle walls
  • Clear your bookcases
  • Clear your magazine holders.
  • Clear your computer

 

As you can see, there are too many areas to be uncluttered in an “entire” office.

It becomes overwhelming, and no one wants to tackle that much work, especially trying to do it all in one weekend.

 

So what can you do?

If you are looking to organize your office, you can see we have 8 areas.  You might think you could just divide that into 8 weeks and get it all done in 8 weeks.  Don’t fool yourself, they aren’t exactly even areas.

Depending on how many file cabinets you have, that will be the bulk of the work.

But you probably can’t finish a four- drawer file cabinet in one day unless you are already extremely organized and maintain it.

And if you work in a corporate or non-profit environment, you probably can’t take an entire day off to do even one file drawer.   It all depends on how much you have saved and how organized you are.

If you did do a major cleaning out at one time and have maintained that organization, you may not have too much to declutter.  However, if you have never really cleaned out your files, it will take quite awhile.

 

 

So how can you get it all done?

Break it down into smaller chunks, bite-sized pieces,

that you feel you could accomplish in one session, and do it that way.

Piece by piece by piece.

 

 

Bio:  Eileen Roth is a productivity expert, speaker and the author of Organizing For Dummies®.  She has appeared on the Today Show and Oprah.  If you would like free tips on organizing your office, home, or time management,  subscribe here:  http://www.everythinginitsplace.net.

Organizing Your Car

Whether you’re going out to the store or taking that summer road trip, here’s some tips to organize your car, especially if you have children along.

1.  Toss the trash.

The first step to keeping your car organized is to keep it clean and always toss the trash. Every time you return home, empty the car from all the trash and it will stay clean.  If a child had a snack in the car, have them help you take the trash to a garbage can when they leave the car. Obviously if your child is too young, this will probably be your job, but you can start asking them to carry out their own trash after age 3.

Click here to Read More

 

Unusual Stress Reliever

I didn’t know this was going to be such a stress reliever, but I love it.  I have never been an audio learner; when I attend a seminar I can’t tell you what they said unless I look at my notes.  I am more of a visual learner, and maybe even kinesthetic.  I even underline items in a fictional book so I can go back to follow a family background or I would mark some philosophical statement a character would make.  So I did not believe audio books would hold my interest.

About a year ago I heard some audio books on Sirius Radio.  I really enjoyed listening to a variety of different stories.  Unfortunately, I didn’t drive in the car at the same time every day so I wasn’t always able to keep up with a whole book and was disappointed to be left hanging in the middle of a story.  (Sirius has since dropped that programming.)

One time we made a gas stop at a place called the Flying J on the way to California.  I saw audio books in the store.  I quickly chose two different ones to listen to in the car on the long drive.  Because it was not “learning” or non-fiction, the story lines held my interest and I didn’t really have to take notes to learn something.

Since then I have found myself addicted to driving with an audio book on.  I keep one in the car as much as possible.  I try to listen to series books by an author so I can just keep ordering them from the library and listen to each one in order.  In fact when my local library doesn’t have the next audio book I need, I get it sent from another branch to mine so I do not have to drive far to pick it up.  When I have only 1 or 2 more disks to an audio book, I order the next audio book in the series.  And, of course, some books are on mp3 format or can be played as e-audios on your tablet while you drive.

We’ve had a lot of medical issues in the past six months, me included where I suffered from November through the end of February before I had sinus surgery on all 8 sinuses and my husband has had one surgery and another one coming.   One of the ways I can relax is listening to audio books.  It’s an unusual organizing tip – but anything that can reduce your stress is well worth your time!

My best friend says it relieves her stress while driving stop and go for 40 minutes until she can get to work.  She arrives more peaceful than when she was just concentrating on traffic.  My two daughters have also taken up listening to audio books in the car.  If you haven’t tried this stress reliever, consider it.  It’s a great way to start and end your day.

 

M for Magazines

 

I was getting a free magazine.  I don’t even know where it came from, but it has been coming these past few months.  I didn’t sign up for a subscription; they just showed up in the mail box.

Since it came, I naturally put them aside and thought I’d read them.  Unfortunately all they have been doing is piling up.  I have no real interest to read them.  It occurred to me that I should give them to my daughter who can take them to her office where patients might want to read them.    And when the next issue comes, I’ll look for my account number on the plastic wrap and call them and unsubscribe.

You may have even subscribed to magazines you are not reading.  If you are, look inside the cover and call the subscription department and unsubscribe.  Do not let them talk you into “six more months for free”.  I did that once too.  They just piled up.   If you have some piles in your home, just donate them to a doctor’s office or take them to your local library who also sells them in their book corner.

 

 

Traveling for vacation – Plan it out!

We had a large (20 people) family vacation that I organized for a major birthday. To say that planning was involved would be a complete understatement.  There was planning the “hotel” reservations (actually timeshares) for everyone – which was tricky enough to find a place where we all could stay.  Then there was the usual car rentals and flight reservations.

This was far from a “let’s just take it easy vacation” to more of a “let’s plan it all” vacation. We really had to plan because we went to Disneyworld.  Pre-reading really gave us some great tips, like checking out sites for various things like crowd calendars, where to find discount tickets, and dining options.

The last time I went to Disneyworld my children were probably 8 and 10.  In 20 years things have changed, and there are more international visitors too!  Back then we just wandered around from one exhibit to the next.  Now we had to plan what rides we could go on based on very young children’s heights, and then actually decide which ones were more important to get Fast Passes (new Disney system to get into a faster lane thru “time reservations”.)

 For Disney trips

Then there was the online planning through the My Disney Experience app and touring plans app which tracked our dinner reservations, sent reminder messages,  and even told us line wait times for various rides.  I liked the old days of just walking around.  But planning dining reservations seemed to be a must  if you didn’t want to wait hours to eat!

General Vacation Organizing Tips

Because there was so much just from everyone’s timeshare reservation, car rentals, plane flights, crowd calendars, weather, dining reservations,  etc.; I actually found that using a notebook with plastic/vinyl dividers helped to organize all the aspects of the trip.

For your summer vacation, be sure to plan – between reading books, Excel spreadsheets, a binder, and apps, it took all resources to plan this trip, and there was still things we didn’t do.  Don’t forget the raincoat and sweatshirt!  Mother Nature doesn’t care about your plans; she changes her mind –  it was cold and rainy some days.  Oh, and don’t forget the medical phone numbers and meds, we still had to order meds due to new problems.  Planning helps, but the unexpected happens.

Eileen

 

List it!

Like any other project with a definite deadline, I planned ahead. After 3 months of antibiotics not working, I am having sinus surgery this Tuesday.  Surgery might be outpatient, but it still means rearranging things.

First, I made a list of the things that needed to be done before surgery.  I like to list Business in the left-hand column and Personal in the right-hand column on a paper pad about 5×8.  The idea of writing it down vs. putting it on the computer Task List seems to help me when I’m under tight deadlines.  I think it’s the visual in me that says I need to SEE the List and writing vs. typing seems to reinforce it in my head.

It also helps to take into account results – i.e. I know I won’t be able to bend down or lift much for several weeks, so adding to the list of things to do was Clean the House on Sunday.  (Mission accomplished.)  That included another important item – clean the whole bed – washing the blanket and comforter as well as the sheets for maximum health (no sneezing germs still around).

Of course it also means preparing for the day of surgery – choosing button-down clothes, reviewing pre-surgery information and picking up pain pills.

I know I won’t feel like doing much the day of surgery, or days after, so I will want some distractions besides watching TV.  I created a third list – Bedside Setup.   I like to listen to audio books so I chose several to put on the night table along with a CD player and Radio Shack speaker (will not want to wear headphones with ice packs on my face.)  Plus I am adding some print books to read and my tablet (need full charge) to read emails or look up anything.   Though I just realized as I am writing this that wearing glasses may not be comfortable for a day or two.  (Guess TV series catch-up might not happen.)

So in essence, there are 3 lists:  Business, Personal and Preparation.  Your Preparation might be for an upcoming business trip, meeting, or just preparing for tomorrow.   As a former Girl Scout Leader = Be Prepared.

What’s on your To Do List?

Do you also need to be Prepared?

 

PS  I’m not prepared for my husband to take care of me.    I’ve always had to take care of his health issues – should be interesting.

 

2014 – Time to Get Organized

One of the top goals people set for 2014 is:

“This year I am going to get organized.”   

That may be a very large goal that could take all year to accomplish.  So how do you get started?

There are several ways to becoming better organized.

1.  Do it on your own.

Maybe you are good at organizing items.  Your problem may be making the time to do it.  The first step is to break the goal down into smaller parts.

Next, set aside a certain amount of time each week to organize.  When you organize for an hour or less, you barely get started before you are done. And the next time it is as if you are starting over by reviewing what you have done before you can continue.   The longer you can work in one stretch, like 2-4 hours, the more you will accomplish.  Try setting aside longer blocks of time to accomplish more faster, especially if what you want to organize is a large job like your whole office.

2.  Add more knowledge

You may have some organizing ideas, but may not feel you know enough to really get organized.  Reading a book written by a productivity expert can boost your knowledge and make the job easier because someone else has suggested what to do.  This knowledge may kickstart your own ideas on how to personalize your organizational needs.  (Organizing For Dummies® does give many detailed tips about getting organized.)

 

3.  Get professional help by hiring a productivity expert.

Many people can organize their home but can’t organize their office or their files.  A productivity expert can help you get better organized because I have systems to help streamline your organization and can customize it specifically to your needs.  Sometimes hiring an expert is the best and fastest route because it will get done quickly.  (In fact, I needed to talk to a tech expert this week when my internet would not connect and my basic knowledge of restarting my router and modem did not solve the problem.)

 

Are you ready to get organized this year?

Which method will work best for you considering your time is valuable?

Happy 2014!

 

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