Articles tagged with: Systems

September is National Preparedness Month

Now is a good time to update your plan.

September is National Preparedness Month

Seems like 2020 did not want to wait for September for us to think about preparing for disaster.
Prepared or not 2020 hit like a freight train with no brakes. We careen from one disaster to another. The flu, COVID-19, floods, fires, landslides, hurricanes, tornados, volcanic eruptions, civil unrest, racism, economic distress, Midwest derecho, humanitarian crises. The disasters just keep coming.
No one needs to tell any of us this year that we need to be prepared for a whole host of things. Many of you will have already gone through your plans and updated everything, but one thing I know for sure is, right now, things change quickly. What felt like the right plan today, may need to change tomorrow.
Illness, natural disasters, accidents all happen everyday all over the world. I am reminded by Ready.gov every September to think about updating my plans. Maybe you do too. If this is you,think about what you need if you had to evacuate your home NOW. Preparing so you can collect to these things quickly and get to safety is key.

The big productivity killer in your vocabulary.

Stop shoulding and start doing.

The big productivity killer in your vocabulary.

What should I do?

This question often leads to a discussion of what is “best”, and where can I find the perfect tool?
You want to do the right thing, the best thing, the thing that will make someone else proud. How does it make you feel when you ask yourself, what should I do? When you ask what should I do, does it lead you to do something or not?

Psychologist Clayton Barbeau coined the term, “shoulding yourself” referring to the intense pressure to do something in a certain way based on what we think we “should do.” The word should causes you to do one of two things, you freeze unable to move forward or you run away and avoid the work altogether. Either way, you are not doing the work. When I work with clients, I see some big emotions attached to shoulding yourself, like fear, guilt, and shame. Fear of the consequences for not completing the task; guilt for falling behind; and shame for not asking for help in the beginning when you knew you needed help.

It is all about time

Have you checked your time lately?

It is all about time

What are YOU waiting for?
I love the Nickelback song, What Are You Waiting For. The song asks the questions: are you waiting for lightning to strike, a perfect night, or for the time to be right? It encourages us to take the wheel and steer, to learn to deal with the fear, and not wait another minute to give it your all. We need to take the leap of faith, believe in our dreams, and not be afraid to fall.
Do you have a dream that is just a dream, or do you have a dream you are working to make a reality? If it is just a dream, ask yourself why?
If I were to take a guess, you are waiting for someone else to tell you it is a great idea. In reality, the only person who can take you from dream to reality is you.
Often, I hear clients talk about time as an obstacle to realizing their dreams. So let’s get clear about what time is and is not.

Got the Monday Morning Blahs 2.0

7 Ways to Conquer the Overwhelm

Got the Monday Morning Blahs 2.0

 Today, I am sharing an update to a Blog Post from early 2019. We are facing some new challenges, and others have just changed location. The good news is, we can still take action and improve our work day.

Do you wake up every Monday feeling dread about returning to work? Well, you are not alone. Why do Mondays cause so much pain? We spend the entire weekend trying to catch our breath from the week before. In our current Covid "new normal" it can be even more challenging.

During our weekends, and maybe even weekdays in our Covid 19 world, we stay up late, sleep in, perhaps drink too much, or eat foods that are high in fat and sugar that sap our energy.

I get it. On the weekends you want to spend the “quality” time you lack Monday through Friday. You spend your work week in virtual meetings all day,and you are suffering Zoom Fatigue, back and neck pain, and eye strain. You are constantly redirecting the kids. You stay up late to work, so you can have peace and quiet, because your family needs you during the day like never before. You struggle to give them something, but you have little left.

On the weekends it is a mad sprint to fit in everything you want to do for and with your loved ones before it all starts again.
How many of you are working all weekend because you are trying to make the whole work from home, take care of the kids all day, fear of the unknown world work? How in the world can you have a great Monday when you are so out of sync with your Monday – Friday world?

Now let’s back up to last week.

How did you leave your workspace Friday afternoon?
Is your workspace piled high with things that belong elsewhere?
Are you a vagabond, moving your office on and off the dining room table every day?

Ever wondered if Productivity Consultants get disorganized?

10 Ways I Might Be Just Like You

Ever wondered if Productivity Consultants get disorganized?

When I meet new people, and they find out I am a Professional Organizer/Productivity Consultant, they will often stop in their tracks and tell me how much they need me at their home or in their offices. Then, they ask about my home or my office. They want to know if my home or office is immaculate, if I have everything put away, or if I always know where everything is. I often laugh to myself wondering if I have some superhero power that I do not know about.

Always and immaculate are some strong terms. How about this - sometimes my home and office are just how I like them, other times they need work. Life happens, we travel, we get home late, something unexpected comes up, and bad things happen.

Perfection is a productivity killer. I choose to: clean up, tidy up, straighten up, put things back where they belong, or whatever terms you use to describe this task on a routine basis, but the key is an underlying system to use when things get out of control.

So, today I want to share some of the things some of the things you may have wondered about me in my life as a productivity trainer and professional organizer. Why am I sharing this with you? Because, we are all in the same boat. We all get busy, we all have last minute interruptions, we all have days we are just too tired to put everything away…Don’t worry, with the right training and systems you can decide to get your home or office back in shape when you are ready.

Living With Less. What Really Matters?

Living With Less. What Really Matters?

Have you ever thought of living with less? Have you ever wished you could do more of the things you love? How is this even possible with the demands of our busy lives?
Let’s begin with the way 2019 started for me. I chose a word to guide my efforts this year. That word is intention. The choices I make must serve my intention, which is to live more simply with less.
Why is this coming up now? Well, I am getting older, I have been acquiring for years and it is now time to live in a different way. Relatives and friends have become ill or disabled. People close to me have died.
I have felt the weight of helping others declutter. Often decluttering is to get rid of things that have been kept because of the guilt and shame they have been bathed in. It belonged to Great Aunt Bethany… it cost a lot of money… it is very valuable…what if they found out you got rid of it? I would like to think that I have not given gifts with the intention that they must be kept forever. I want the recipient to enjoy the gift. If they do not it is OK to let it go. All I want is for them to be happy.
I have come to understand that the younger generations do not want our stuff (much of it anyway), and I have too much stuff. I have also come to realize that the things we have been told are valuable, may or may not be. There is a cost to keeping everything, your job is to decide if you are willing to pay the cost: time, space, energy, and money.
Being a professional organizer, I can tell you that this is not only true for me, but also in the experience of many of my colleagues around the country. The NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) discussion boards frequently visit this topic. What to do with all these “valuable” artifacts of lives well lived. In truth, many in the younger generations are choosing life experiences over stuff. Living more simply and experiencing more of the world around them is perfect. The things that they do buy are not too expensive and can be changed when they are worn or outdated without a boatload of guilt.

Got the Monday Morning Blahs? 7 Ways to Conquer the Overwhelm.

Got the Monday Morning Blahs?  7 Ways to Conquer the Overwhelm.


Do you wake up on Monday feeling an acute sense of loss and a feeling of dread about returning to work?
Well, you are not alone. Why do Mondays cause so much pain? We spend the entire weekend trying to catch our breath from the week before. During our weekends, we stay up late, sleep in, perhaps drink too much or eat all the delicious foods that are high in fat and sugar that sap our energy. I get it. You want to spend the “quality” time you lack Monday through Friday. You spend your work week running all day, you come home tired, your family needs you, and you struggle to give them all you have left. On the weekends it is a mad sprint to fit in everything you want to do for and with your loved ones before it all starts again.
How in the world can you have a great Monday when you are so out of sync with your Monday – Friday world? Now let’s back up to last week. How did you leave your workplace on Friday afternoon? Is your desk piled high with things that belong elsewhere? Do you know where they came from, or where to return them to? Did you note specific times on your calendar to follow up on all the items that are on your desk? Do you even know where your calendar is? What are your highest priorities for next week? Are they on your calendar (I am sure you know my feeling that a blank calendar is a sign of not much getting done)? Is your inbox overflowing? Are you afraid there are urgent and uncompleted tasks in your inbox? Do you have systems you follow that help you do your job? Meetings on a certain day, blocking off some Focus Time during the work week to dedicate to the highest value work you have? I have found that even the most disorganized clients have some strengths they can build on.

Is There an App for That? Here Are Some Questions to Ask First.

Is There an App for That?  Here Are Some Questions to Ask First.

“So, is there an app for that?”
Most likely the answer is yes, there are hundreds of tools that will all “do” what you are looking for: tasks, calendars, to-do, scanning, notetaking, photo editing and many other things. If you are like some of my clients, you can open the app store on your phone in seconds, and find all the apps that do, “that thing you want” just as quickly.
When I am asked this question, I ask, why? Why do you need another app? Maybe this is the perfect question, but often the better question to ask first is: “What tools do you already have that do the same thing.”

Clear Your Desktop in 7 Easy Steps

Clear the Clutter, Clear Your Mind!

Clear Your Desktop in 7 Easy Steps

1. Prepare yourself! Have a great breakfast, coffee, tea or whatever gets your day started in a fantastic way. Warm up your body and your mind: Take a walk, go to the gym, stretch, run, meditate, pray. Hydrate yourself, prep a water bottle to have with you as you work.
2. Dress in comfortable clothes. You do not want to give up because you feel like you cannot move, bend, and reach what you need.
3. Get rid of the strangers…clear out those things that do not belong in your office: empty coffee mugs, dirty dishes, empty cardboard packing boxes, bubble wrap, and any other strangers that need to be removed from your office.
4. Clear off the top of your desk. Put all the items in one pile and work from the top to the bottom of this pile to deal with all these items. Make sure the most recent items are on the top of the pile so your current work and most important follow up items will be taken care of first. Remember, Barbara Hemphill’s motto: Clutter is postponed decisions!
5. Now that the top of your desk is cleared off, it is a great time to give it a good cleaning. Your energy and the energy of your office will improve if you can see a clean, clear space to work.
6. Now you are ready to process the items in your pile.

The 3T's of Office Productivity

Time, Tools, and Trust

The 3T's of Office Productivity

As we learned from Barbara Hemphill, “it is not what SHOULD you do, it is what WILL you do.”
Having the right tools, trusting in them, and using them at the right time are the keys to a satisfying and productive day! I call them: The Three T’s of Productivity.
Tools: The first of the 3 T's is tools. Do you have the correct tools for the job? Will you need your computer? What software or apps do you need? Do you have a writing pad and a pen? Do you need your telephone? Do you need a headset? If you will be saving copies of documents, do you have a flash drive, or an external drive to save them on? Are you working with photos? Do you have your camera, SD cards, cables, or other necessary tools? You get the idea!
Once you have collected the necessary tools, store them near where you will use them. The concept is simple…point of use near point of storage. Stop wasting valuable time running up and down the stairs or room to room, looking for what you need..