Have you ever seen a friend, family member or colleague start organizing and want to get organized yourself? It turns out that this is backed up by scientific evidence. According to Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a Stanford university professor and author of the Willpower Instinct, willpower is contagious.
I always thought that this was true! In my experience, when we start working with one family member, or one department in a business, it is very common to see other people starting to get organized too!
This is something you might want to try out at work if you’re interested in business organizing: Just start doing some major organizing and see how many people follow your lead and jump on the bandwagon; you may be surprised.
However, Dr. McGonigal also points out that disorder is contagious too. Generally, people will imitate and follow what they see, and not what they know to be right. So for all the parents out there, be sure you walk the talk when you ask your children to get organized.
Another thing I learned from attending this presentation is that feelings of guilt and shame sabotage self control. It is important to have self compassion and the feeling that you are appreciated by others in order to regain self control. So don’t start off your organizing project by beating yourself up for how things got this way. Instead, congratulate yourself for taking action and making things better!
When we work with business clients, our recommendations for increased business productivity are not always simply physical changes or office reorganizing, but about improved communication and understanding.
For example, I have worked with several business clients in an office setting and find not only process improvements, but also relationship improvement opportunities. Sometimes opening up communication lines between team members can not only improve a process, but it can also identify other opportunities that otherwise would have remained unseen.
When my team or I shadow employees, we make observations on work behavior, team dynamics, workflow and more. We ask a lot of questions and then summarize our findings, providing recommendations where there are opportunities for improved productivity.
If one of my business clients is planning on changing the configuration of a team or adding or reducing resources, we recommend that the client takes into account team dynamics to make sure that productivity will not be hampered by the add on or change. Clear roles and communication processes are critical for ensuring smooth operations and happy employees.
How does your office function? Think it could benefit from a review?
Feel like you need more time in your day? We can help! We are often hired to help people with time management so that they can be more efficient and productive.
Recently, I had a client who was highly efficient, but he still wanted to have more time in his day. So we discussed the importance of setting the proper priorities.
When we think about money, we realize that it’s limited and we should find areas to invest with the highest return on investment (ROI). The same is true for time. At the end of the day, there is only so much time. We can try to be efficient with our tasks, but in the end we still need to set priorities to ensure the highest ROI.
To do this, we have to think about the areas of your life that are most important to you. This should be done for your home life and work life in order to work properly. For example, say that being healthy is a priority. Then, take a step back and think of the specific things you need to do to achieve this goal. For example, exercise is critical to healthier living. Then you need to determine the amount of time needed for these areas.
In order to ensure that you are sticking to your plan, you need to track the actual amount of time spent on these tasks, just like you would do with any business process. Comparing the amount of planned time to actual time will keep you honest. So be sure to track your time to see if you’re as balanced as you would like to be.
With the client that I mentioned, there was a disconnect. He wanted to be a good parent, so he coached his kids’ soccer teams. But the kids felt like they didn’t see enough of him. So maybe the tasks weren’t accomplishing the goal. Maybe the kids would’ve preferred more one-on-one time.
As you go through these processes, it’s important to ask your kids (or your staff) for feedback on how to accomplish goals in a more efficient way. Another perspective can be very helpful and they may have some very good insight that you hadn’t thought of before.
Also, it’s important that your goals aren’t something like “spend time with kids,” but rather something like “build deeper relationships.”
And always remember, with limited time in the day, it’s important to drop some tasks as you take on more. According to Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting, dropping the bottom 15% is critical for future growth. These could be areas that are less profitable, less rewarding and/or don’t align with your long term goals.
So, think about yesterday. Did you invest your time wisely?
My job is helping people get organized, so organization is a big part of my life. Not too long ago, I went back to the basics and looked up the word “organized” in the dictionary. As I read the definition of the word, the terms “coordination,” “direction” and “efficient” jumped out at me. Not only are these terms appealing in the realm of business and office organizing, but these are also words that help people live less stressful lives at home as well.
We’ve all had those moments of panic and peril when you can’t find something critical at the crucial time, and this is something that we’d always like to avoid. The good news is that these perilous moments are avoidable and preventable with better organizational skills. With improved organizational skills you will notice your efficiency at home and the office improving when it comes to any task at hand, giving your life a significant boost in the right direction with the elimination of the need to waste extra time searching for things.
With the knowledge to keep your life organized, your stress levels will start to fall and your mood will improve. This will lead to more productivity at home and the office; and more time for preferable activities in the warm spring weather.
When people hear that I’m a professional organizer, I’m sure they picture me going to homes and businesses and helping people get rid of the clutter. And while this is, indeed, a big chunk of what we do, we also do virtual organizing with clients.
Basically, virtual organizing is us helping out our clients get their home or office organized from long distance. With video software like Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts we can see what our clients are working through and help them in real time. If a client doesn’t have video software or it isn’t convenient to use, we can start from just a few pictures of the clutter and then we can work together over the phone.
With virtual organizing, the client is much more empowered because they are the ones taking action while we’re talking them through it and giving suggestions and encouragement. And if we schedule a follow up, there is an incentive to finish a task that we agreed upon in the previous session. A follow up with a professional organizer can be a great motivator to complete a task!
I have clients that do virtual organizing with us from coast to coast (literally, from Florida to Oregon), and as telecommunications software improves, it only gets easier to reach more people. So as spring arrives and it’s time to start cleaning and canning the clutter, maybe we can help you get a handle on things from a distance.
It seems like some people love to have the latest and greatest organizational systems and get new filing systems, or shelves, or hooks, whenever they can. However, in your quest to contain the clutter, it’s important to remember to have a second look at your current organizational system and make sure you are using it correctly before you get rid of it and move on to something new.
Not long ago, I was working with a client who told me that her “active file” area wasn’t working and wanted to try something new. So the two of us went through this area and found paperwork from projects that had been completed some time ago and were no longer active. If you’re keeping an active file area, it’s important to remove completed projects so that they’re not staring you in the face all of the time. In this instance, it wasn’t the system that didn’t work, it was that the system was not being properly maintained and projects that were not active were cluttering up an area meant for high priority tasks. If you let an organizational system get tainted, you will no longer trust it and no longer depend on it.
So, the next time you’re considering switching your organizational system to something new, ask yourself whether you have properly maintained it so that it could work. Don’t forget that every system, even the latest and greatest, will require maintenance. The trick is to have smart solutions that just require a little maintenance that can be taken care of on a regular basis.
My clients and a lot of households in general struggle with reading material. Newspapers, magazines, journals, and on and on. Most people are so busy that they don’t get around to finishing up their magazines within a day or two, and then the piles start to grow. I mostly see piles on desks, but they also can accumulate on coffee tables, nightstands and other open areas as well.
People tell me that they feel as though this material is urgent and then place it somewhere where it can be seen easily. The problem with this, however, is that piles of unread material can simply add to a person’s stress. When I work with these piles with clients, it turns out that most of their reading material is really not that urgent after all.
I usually tell people that reading material is generally not critical, but it can, unfortunately, come with its own kind of baggage: We feel like we’ve lost an opportunity or are not keeping up with our professional education.
That’s why I tell my clients that it’s important to keep reading material at a realistic level. If you accumulate more magazines and journals than you can read, your sense of guilt can rise to very high levels.
My suggestion for this? A basket. Simple, yet effective. And it does two things, it keeps a limit on your reading material and it contains the clutter. When the basket is full, you need to get rid of some of your reading material if you want some new stuff. And keeping reading material in one location means that it’s not spread all over your desk, the kitchen table and your nightstand.
Just remember that reading material spread all over the place can have some really negative effects. Most of the time, something simple, like a basket, can help solve the problem.
We all know that there are a wide range of different parenting styles, all of which have their own pros and cons. One particular aspect of parenting involves the activities chosen to do with children. For example, there are parents who tend to involve their children in more productive activities, like raking leaves and housework, and other parents will choose an activity that is less productive, but potentially more enriching, like a bike ride or a ball game.
I’ve seen these two parenting styles under one roof, and it can lead to some tension at times, especially when the husband or wife can’t understand why his or her spouse can’t get more done during the week.
Source: progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com.au via Lise on Pinterest
I think it’s important to realize that neither one of these approaches is objectively better. However, there are some important things to remember as you plan your time with your children:
-If you see other parents staying on top of things around the house, remember that they may not be doing as many enriching activities with their children. It certainly doesn’t mean that you have to change your priorities to feel more accomplished at the end of the week.
-Try mixing things up a bit for variety. If you’re always doing productive things around the house with your kids, do something different and go play in the park and just have fun.
-If your priority is to spend more quality time with your children and not to focus on so many productive activities with them, you many need to outsource some household tasks, like cleaning and organizing, which is perfectly fine.
-As someone that helps others be more productive you might be surprised I’m saying this, but sometimes you might very well be better off not finishing something off of your to do list in order to spend quality time engaged in enriching activities with your kids. A break from the daily grind will go a long way in rejuvenating you so you can be even more focused and productive later!
One of the main things I do with home and office organizing is to help people reduce their stress levels. There’s just something about a messy attic or an office where important things seem to always disappear that adds stress to our lives. And through helping people and businesses get organized, I hope that there will be less stress in their lives.
I recently attended a talk where the presenter was talking about memory and some methods that people can use to help keep their minds limber as they age. In addition to physical and mental exercise (especially Sudoku for the latter), low stress levels seem to improve a person’s memory as they increase in age.
Apparently, the presenter said, when you are stressed, you are not able to focus properly, and therefore can’t focus or retain information well. So basically, anything that you do to reduce the amount of stress in your life could help your memory as you grow older.
As I listened to the presentation, I felt proud that my job of helping homes and offices get organized can be a part of reducing stress, and this could lead to improved memory for my clients in the future.
Recently I’ve been playing with a free to do app on my phone and it seems like a great tool for keeping a to do list handy. The app is called Any.Do and it works with iPhone, Android and the Chrome browser. The cool thing about this app is that it syncs your account across all of the platforms. For example, if you add a to do item on your phone, it will show up in Chrome; if you mark an item complete in Chrome, it will mark it as complete on your phone and vice versa.
If you use Chrome and Gmail, Any.Do is even further integrated so that you can add an action item directly from an email that you’re reading. For example, if I get an email from a potential client, I can click the Any.Do button in the email and it will add something like “Follow up with Jane Doe” into my to do list.
Once I’ve finished up a to do item, I can swipe the item off of the list on my phone. When I have a number of completed tasks on my list, I can just shake the phone and Any.Do will ask if I’d like to clear all of the completed tasks. Pretty neat!
When you add a to do item, you can also mark it urgent, set an alert that will pop up on your phone or computer, or even share it with someone else. The app also uses a system called “folders,” and the default ones are for work, personal and mobile, so you might want to have one folder for stuff at home and another folder for business organizing. But you can add as many custom folders as you want if the need arises.
Overall, Any.Do is a very functional to do app that works with a large range of devices to help keep you on track. And one of the best things of all? There are no ads and it’s free.