Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Certified Professional Organizer�
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist�
CONSUMER'S CHOICE AWARD WINNER
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GOT 15 MINUTES?
There are a number of small things you can do each day to jump start your organizing habit - and they take only a few minutes.
IN YOUR HOME
Make the beds
Sweep out the garage
Organize your purse or briefcase
Look through your closet and pull six items to donate to charity
Check coupons for expiration dates
Clean out a kitchen drawer
Check medicines for expiration dates
Sort through catalogs and recycle
IN THE OFFICE
Clear the clutter from your desktop
Open, read and sort the day's mail
Organize receipts for expense reports or taxes
Organize a desk drawer
Write a thank you note
Transfer information from business cards to your contact list
Update your Outlook task list
Read a newsletter or article
Talk a walk
Source: Online Organizing
WAYS WE CAN HELP
You can save money. You'll know what you already own, eliminating the need to buy duplicate items. A professional organizer can help you find the perfect organizing products for your space and lifestyle, so you stop wasting money on things you don't need or won't work.
You can become more productive and efficient. A professional organizer can create order and structure out of chaos. You'll receive systems that work for your dominant learning style, your lifestyle, your needs, your challenges, and your dreams.
You'll have a positive self-image and ditch the shame. Once your home or office is neat and tidy, you won't feel embarrassed to have guests visit. The guilt will fade away as you take pride in your surroundings.
You'll have a healthier environment. Physical and emotional clutter obscures your surroundings. An organized home and office is more easily cleaned. Lose the clutter and cut down on time spent moving piles of paper and stuff around.
Your stress level will decrease dramatically. When you can find what you need, are on top of your to-dos, and arrive on time, you'll feel calmer and have more peace of mind. No more feeling overwhelmed by life -- you'll be the one in control.
You'll discover more time for yourself. When you're organized, your days go as planned, and you get a lot more done. That leaves more time to indulge in a little "me time."
Your energy will shine. Clutter is a mask and a professional organizer can help you take off that mask. Once the clutter is removed, you can showcase your talents, skills, and personality and have the life you deserve.
Dear (Contact First Name),
No doubt, most of us have our struggles with procrastination - those areas of our life where were we put things off. Unfortunately, it can cause serious problems at work, in our relationships, and our health, if left unchecked. To understand why we procrastinate, take this Procrastination Assessment and read the tips in this newsletter.
On a lighter note, here are a few procrastination quotes for your amusement:
"Procrastination is like a credit card - it's a lot of fun until you get the bill." ~ Christopher Parker
"I love deadlines. Especially the whooshing sound they make as they pass by." ~ Douglas Adams
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."
~ Mark Twain
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC
P.S. Don't procrastinate in sharing this!
The word procrastinate comes from the Latin procrastinatus, which means, literally, "forward tomorrow." If you've been putting off till tomorrow what you could - and should - do today, then recognize that procrastination is a habit that can be broken. But it won't happen overnight. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. So set a date, (Mondays work well, because they feel like a fresh start) and track 21 days to stay the course.
To start, give yourself a reason to stop procrastinating. Maybe you'll improve your financial situation because you'll pay your bills on time. Or you'll impress your family, friends, and coworkers because you'll appear productive and efficient. Or you'll be less stressed because you are on top of your to-do list. Whatever the goal, keep it in mind throughout the first 21 habit-forming days.
To get a handle on procrastination, start writing. Use a spiral notebook or planner to capture all your tasks. Do not use scraps of paper or sticky notes. You'll want everything in one place. Keep a running master list of tasks that need to be done. (It might be really long.) But then, each evening, make a smaller "to do today" list for the upcoming day, either on a separate page in your notebook, or on the next day's planner page. List only the most important things you need to accomplish that day, and keep the number of tasks realistic and attainable. (About five things usually works well.) The next morning, you'll know exactly what needs to be done, and you can concentrate on those above all else. That evening, evaluate your list. Anything not completed moves forward to the following day's task list, and a few more items are added. And take a moment to permanently remove tasks from your list that no longer contribute to your goals - or your happiness.
As you're writing your to-do list, make sure to break tasks down into realistic-sized chunks. If your goal is to organize your messy kitchen, the enormity of it will seem daunting. Instead, break it down into one-hour tasks: toss out all expired foods in pantry; clean out refrigerator; organize junk drawer; set up mini filing system for kitchen. Completion dates are important, so assign specific tasks to specific days. You won't organize a kitchen in a day, but over the course of a week, you can do it! And each day's successes will give you the drive to keep going.
For truly unpleasant tasks, set a timer for 15 minutes, and just do it. Nearly anything is palatable for a quarter of an hour. It's also helpful to see that most unpleasant things don't take nearly as long as we think they will. You may hate going through your in-basket at work. But just 15 minutes each morning and evening is enough to review, sort, do the quickie tasks, and assign the longer ones to your planner. If you're feeling sluggish, complete an easy job first to get your momentum going. Also, do the toughest tasks when your body is most alert - some people function better first thing in the morning, while others perk up later in the day.
Treat time like a precious gift. Are you a people-pleaser? If you're truly behind in your own tasks, don't add any more optional to-do items until you're caught up. It's okay to say no. It's okay to delegate. It's okay to take some time for yourself. And stop saying, "If I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all." Limit choices, let "good enough" be okay, and move forward. Perfection is not realistic or required in life.
Reward yourself. After 21 days of "just do it" action, treat yourself to something nice... lunch with a friend, a luxurious nap or bubble bath, a hot-fudge sundae, a concert, or an afternoon with a favorite book or movie. You've earned it!
Adapted from Time to Organize.
ORGANIZING QUICK STARTS
These tips will help you stop procrastinating and get organized today! Inspire and motivate yourself with the "Quick Start" projects. Each of these should take no longer than 30 minutes. Next, try the "Keep Going" tips to really put clutter and chaos in its place!
Quick Start:Take everything out of the refrigerator.Toss anything expired or mysteriously fuzzy. Clean the shelves. Then replace food items, grouping similar things together.
Keep Going: Tackle each kitchen cupboard and drawer the same way. Remove everything, clean, and toss anything not fresh or useful. Give most-used items your prime, easiest-to-reach space. Put infrequently used items up high or way in the back.
Quick Start: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Grab a garbage bag, walk through your home, and quickly remove ten things you no longer use or love. Also, recycle newspapers older than one week and magazines older than 12 months, plus expired coupons and junk mail. Dispose of the bags immediately.
Keep Going: From here on out, put things in their proper places right away. Before buying something new, ask yourself if you really need it. If you decide to purchase, get rid of two similar items to make room.
Quick Start: Every evening, set a timer and have the family do the "Ten Minute Tidy-Up." Holding an empty laundry basket, each person grabs anything out of place, and returns it to its correct home.
Keep Going: Limit clutter with the "new item in, old item out" rule. If you buy a new toy or clothing, get rid of at least one old one. Limit school art and paperwork. Save only the best, and keep them in an underbed storage box or portfolio.
Quick Start: Set your watch ten minutes ahead. You'll have a built-in buffer for running late.
Keep Going: Any task that can be completed in five minutes or less should be completed right away. Schedule a chunk of time each day to handle paperwork. Don't schedule appointments too close together.
Quick Start: Move everything more than two weeks old from your email inbox to a file marked "Holding." Keep it for two months. Then, delete everything you haven't needed in that time.
Keep Going: Treat your inbox like a real mail box. You'd never leave old mail sitting in there! Take the time to set up files where you can immediately move new emails. As emails arrive, either read and delete, file appropriately, or put in a "to do this week" file.
Quick Start: Set a timer for 30 minutes and toss/recycle dried out paint and chemicals, and anything broken, musty, or moldy.
Keep Going: Sort the space into zones. For example, a garage might have areas for sports, tools, gardening, and recycling/garbage. Group like items in those zones. Use appropriate storage containers and label clearly.
Adapted from Time to Organize.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.