Single or Multi Tasker?

October 3, 2016

paper pileAre you a multi-tasker?

Think you operate more efficiently this way?

Guess what…the research shows otherwise.

A University of Michigan study shows that people who multi-task decrease their productivity by 20-40% and are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time.  And the time spent switching between the tasks actually makes the task more difficult.

So do yourself a favor, and try to focus on one thing at a time and monitor the results.  We bet you are more productive not trying to multi-task throughout your day.

Muffy & JoEllen


Overcoming Procrastination

September 26, 2016

Are you a serial procrastinator?

Procrastination commonly happens for a few reasons:

  • Getting overwhelmed
  • Poor energy management
  • Lack of discipline
  • Constant interruptions
  • Perfectionism

The first four are the most obvious ones which can be helped by planning ahead today for tomorrow, or doing the most unpleasant task first so the others seem less daunting.  Perfectionists tend to procrastinate because they are afraid when they tackle the project they won’t do it as well as they would like.  This ends up in never starting the project until it is too late to do the best job you can!

Our advice is to JUST DO IT!  If you get a head start on the project, you will actually have the time to make the end product even better, so get started now!

What is your favorite method to overcome procrastination?

Muffy & JoEllen


Controlling Interruptions and Distractions

September 19, 2016

knock-on-doorsInterruptions and distractions are a huge waste of our time!  A study from the University of California, Irvine showed that “once interrupted, it takes people 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they return at all”!  None of us have an extra 25 minutes, or more, per day but what can be done to avoid this?

We suggest a couple of different approaches to solving this problem.

  • First, if you have a door on your office, close it for a set period of time (15 minutes-1 Hour) and focus on the tasks which need to be done today.  If you do not have a door, a simple sign on the entrance to your cubicle will suffice.  It politely lets people know you are unavailable at the current time.
  • Additionally, there are computer/phone apps which can help with distractions – try Self Control, Stay Focused and White Noise Ambience. Use your earbuds and easily block out noises that are hampering your concentration.

Give these a try and let us know what works for you!

Thanks for reading,

Muffy & JoEllen


New Season, New Routines

September 12, 2016

First, we would like to say THANK YOU to all of you for staying with, and supporting us over the years by inviting us into your homes and offices.  Labor Day is the time we celebrate 13 years of helping you live and work in more organized environments.  As we enter the beginning of our 14th year as Professional Organizers, we know that this time of year marks new beginnings for many of you, too.

Every summer seems to be the fastest on record, doesn’t it?  So many fun activities to enjoy on our lists, new places to explore on vacations, and spending time with family and friends.  Although there are still many enjoyable warm weather days to come, Labor Day seems to mark the ‘official’ end of summer.  The kids are back in school, older children are back in college, and we are often working steadily until the upcoming holiday season.  It is only natural that this is a time to start (or restart) some routines.

You have probably heard us say that it only takes two or three weeks to learn a new habit, and NOW is always a good time to start.

If you or your children are embarking on a new year of education, it is never too late to start new habits.  Having all the supplies readily available near a clear work surface is the best place to begin.  student-deskAmong the supplies should be a calendar where schedules are posted and due dates for upcoming assignments are also clearly identified.  This is a perfect opportunity to teach some time management skills by outlining all the steps needed to complete a project, and establishing due dates along the way.  We have posted links to articles on the subject of getting organized for school on our Facebook page and our Organizing the Student board on Pinterest.

If you have recently moved into a new home, you are in a unique position to begin anew!  All belongings have new homes, and it is time to develop those new habits you have always thought about.  Start by making your bed everyday.  Not only will this look better when you are again ready for bed, it will be the beginning of a daily routine.  Performing specific tasks at similar times of the day will help instill a new habit peggy-baquickly.

Much of the work that we do is finding homes for belongings.  After all, that’s what most of the
clutter is about; items do not have a home.  When they don’t have a home, they cannot be readily found the next time you need
them.  There are four months left in 2016, and it is not too late to work on your New Year’s Resolution to get more organized.  Devote time on a regular basis to move toward reaching your goal.  Is it organizing those photos? The attic? The craft room?  Set the
timer or pick a small area on which to work.

15-minutes-clockRemember that 15 minutes a day=over 91 hours a year—–just think of all you could accomplish in that amount of
time!!!

Fall also brings extra activites to fit into your schedule; after-school events, preparing the home for winter, and holiday planning.  Get everything on your calendar, as well as the calendars for other family member who will be involved.  Remember that everyone may not use calendars the same way, so a combination of electronic and a wall calendar may be necessary.

 

We wish you well on establishing some new routines,

JoEllen & Muffy

P.S. Did you notice how developing a new habit is intertwined with time management?  If you want to learn more, we have selected some of our favorite books on Time Management in our Amazon Bookstore.  Pick only one or two if you need additional inspiration.

Some of the products we have suggested contain affiliate links.  We may receive a small compensation if you purchase an item.  Please know that the price is not affected by the inclusion of this link.

This post was taken from a recent Monthly Tips Newsletter; follow the link to have them delivered directly to your in-box.


Keeping COOL Organizing Tips

July 19, 2016

Yes, the heat of summer is upon us, and even with air conditioning we all like to think of cooler places to spend our time.  Seldom do you think of tackling an organizing project at this time of year (after all, who has an air conditioned garage?), but this month we have a few suggestions on keeping cool and crossing some of those organizing tasks off your list at the same time!

Head to the basement.  The basements of our homes are always a cool place to be and you can escape the heat while making progress on a long over-due organizing project.

  • Do you have boxes stored in the basement from your latest move?  Now would be a good time to open them and think Christmas in July!” as you unwrap items you haven’t see for weeks, months or even years.  As you go through these items, contemplate how much you have, or have not, missed these items and question whether you really need to keep them.
  • Is there a craft area for the kids in the basement?  Now would be a good time to clear the clutter and determine if you need more supplies.  When everyone has had too much sun and heat this would be a good place to spend some creative time.
  • If the rec room or play area is downstairs, this is a time to involve the entire family to sort through items stored and used (or not used) there.  Challenge your children to donate items that they no longer need or enjoy, then enjoy your renewed space.
  • Storage areas in the basement are great places to keep seldom used items. However, sometimes those items are out of sight and also out of mind.  Take a quick inventory of what is there, determine the last time you really used an item and decide if it really needs to be kept.
  • The tool room is an ideal place to cool off as you return all items to their proper homes.  When everything is stored properly you will save valuable time the next time you need an item, and you will not be tempted to purchase duplicate items that you really don’t need.

The kitchen.  Yes, there are some cool places there, even when you are cooking dinner.

  • The freezer is a place to remind us of those cold winter days, and a quick way to cool off.  We do not recommend that you open the freezer door and organize it all at once, as this would not be energy efficient.  As an alternative, we suggest that you organize one shelf at a time.  Unload all of the items from one shelf and place them on a work surface.  Then review the expiration dates on each package to determine if it is still edible.  Perhaps you will even find some forgotten items that you can use to make dinner tonight.  When you return items to the shelves be sure to store like (or similar) things together.
  • Use the same steps to organize your refrigerator.  At the same time you may want to rearrange things so you will be better able to find what you are looking for in the future.  Are all of your condiments in one place?  Are fruits, vegatables and dairy products each stored in designated places?  Consider how you look for things and this will lead to how items  are stored.  If you create a new system, be sure to educate others in the family.

We hope these tips will keep you cool and open up some spaces that have been cluttered or ignored for too long,

JoEllen & Muffy

PS This post was taken from a recent Monthly Tips Newsletter; follow the link to have them delivered directly to your in-box.

 


Resolutions vs Microresolutions

January 11, 2016

small move big changeSo, how are those New Years Resolutions coming along?  Are you worried that failure is on the horizon? Perhaps it is because the resolution you made was too all encompassing, and therefore a recipe for failure.

As a Professional Organizer I see this a lot.  January is typically a fairly quiet month as most individuals have resolved to make changes and are all gung-ho to do it on their own.  The calls for help start arriving toward the end of the month when they find the organizing task is just too overwhelming.   But if you are interested in continuing to organize on your own, the best advice I can give is to START SMALL.  This and a couple of other tips are in a previous post, and may help you on your journey to a more organized life.

There are also many books out there to provide you with inspiration, advice for keeping on task, and strategies for every room in the home.  (Some of my favorites can be found in Organizing 4 U’s Amazon Bookstore.)  A winner for this time of year is Small Move, Big Change  Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently by Caroline L. Arnold.  It takes the START SMALL step a bit further and may prove to be the best $3.91 you have ever spent.

Ms Arnold, writing from personal experience, provides The Seven Rules of Microresolutions.  She then shows these rules in action in the following areas: sleep, fitness, diet & nutrition, clutter, relationships, spending, punctuality and organization.  WOW, this covers a lot of territory!  The author cautions, however, to take on only two microresolutions at a time.  “A new habit takes hold only through consistent repetition, and that takes concentration and effort.”

Overall, the guidance provided in this book is set up to help you form habits in the areas you wish to improve upon.  “Any system you create for yourself will be only as strong as the habits you build to support it, so start with a simple system and elaborate it as needed over time.”  Great advice!

All the best in 2016!  Let me know how you are succeeding with your MICRORESOLUTIONS.

Thanks for reading,

JoEllen


Welcome to 2016: Your Most Organized Year Ever!

January 5, 2016

Happy-New-Year-Images.

We wish you a Happy, Healthy and Organized New Year!

Many of you have made a New Year’s Resolution to GET ORGANIZED in 2016, and we are here to help you achieve your goals.  The path to being more organized is achievable if you follow just 3 simple steps.

Start Small  This is our favorite tip to help you get organized.  So often those organizing projects are just so overwhelming that it is hard to see progress, but if you make slow steady progress, you will see improvements and not get so easily discouraged.  Want to organize the kitchen?  Consider one shelf, one cupboard or one drawer at a time.  Ready to tackle the basement?  Dedicate some time and focus on one area—15, 30 or 60 minutes on a regular basis will help you bring you closer and closer to your goal.  The same with all of that paper that is cluttering up the desk or dining room table.  Don’t try to get it all done at once—just schedule some time every day until you reach your goal.

Store Like With Like  So much of the clutter that is in our lives is there because we cannot think of where to store an item.  We see this all the time.  The Christmas decor is scattered throughout the house, important documents are in every drawer, and clothes are stored on the treadmill for easy access.  You will have an easier time finding something you need the next time you need it if it is stored with similar items in a place that makes sense to you.

Store Items Close to Where You Will Use Them  For most of us, the goal of GETTING ORGANIZED is to be able to find something quickly the next time we need it.  Who wants to waste valuable time looking for that bill that needs to be paid, the perfect scarf or tie, or that special spice?  Save time and steps by considering where you will be using an item, and then create a home for it there.

The above tips are the basics which we hope will guide you to your more organized life.  For additional tips, we invite you to download our Top Ten Organizing Tips, Ten Tips to A More Efficient Work Day, and (if you are planning a move this year) Preparing Your Home for A Quicker Sale.

Our New Year’s Resolution

is to keep you inspired and on the path to GETTING ORGANIZED through regular updates via Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Of course (if you live in the Cleveland, Ohio area), we are also available for some ‘hands-on’ assistance.  Feel free to call Muffy @ 216.321.6126 or JoEllen @ 440.498.1930 to see how we can help you reach your goals more quickly.  Or request a free consultation, and we can set up a time to meet.

Happy Get Organized Month,

JoEllen & Muffy

PS This post was taken from a recent Monthly Tips Newsletter; follow the link to have them delivered directly to your in-box.