Relationship Byte – Dressing for Networking Success

Does the idea of networking make your palms sweat? Don’t let nerves or inexperience keep you from meeting and connecting with potential clients and suppliers!

Join Colette for a Relationship Byte – To succeed at a networking event you want to be comfortable and look professional.

Finish it Fridays

End Your Week on a Positive and Productive Note

When you arrive at work on Monday morning do you feel rushed, disorganized and scattered? It’s not a great way to start the week. End your work week on an organized note and you’ll start your Monday’s feeling confident and ready to work. You may just feel more relaxed on the weekend too.

Organize Anything has seven great ways to make sure that you wrap up your work week  in a way that sets you up for success come Monday morning.

1. Look ahead. Before you leave on Friday afternoon, look at your schedule to see what’s coming up for following week. Do you have a big meeting first thing on Monday morning or a presentation on Tuesday? Research shows that you will sleep better if you have reviewed your calendar. If you do, take your briefing notes home with you so that you can review them over the weekend and feel prepared when you walk into the office on Monday morning.
2. Confirm it. Take half an hour on Friday to confirm your appointments for next week. Better to find out on Friday  afternoon that your three-hour appointment on Wednesday afternoon is going to have to be rescheduled than on Wednesday morning. Give yourself the peace of mind of knowing your schedule.
3. Clear your desk. Arriving to a messy desk on Monday morning elevates your stress level before you even start your day. Take the time to properly file any papers left on your desk, return materials to their proper place or owner and empty your garbage and recycling.
4. Delete or archive your old email. If you haven’t had a chance yet to empty your inbox, take the time on Friday to sort your email into the proper folder and delete the ones you don’t need. It will be easier to sort out the junk mail you receive over the weekend and you’ll be able to start your week with a clean inbox.
5. Follow up. Do you have colleagues that said they would get back to you, but you have not heard from them? Now is a good time to check in with those people and see if they need anything from you before the you leave the office. A quick phone call can help you wrap up a project for the week.
6. Close the loop. We often have a bunch of unfinished tasks hanging at the bottom of our to-do list. Often they stay on the list because they are not urgent. Often these non-urgent things can become urgent later, or they are truly important things we just don’t get to.  Pick one thing that fits in this category and complete it every Friday. It feels so good.
7. Back everything up and shut it down. The last thing you should do before you leave on Friday afternoon is back up your week’s work. Save it on an external drive, a memory stick or try  a free program like DropBox . This way if there’s a power fluctuation or a network breach over the weekend you won’t have lost any of your valuable work. Be sure to turn off your computer, printers and any other office electronics before you leave as well. Not only are you saving energy, you are less likely to arrive to malfunctioning equipment on Monday.
Once you work these simple steps into your Friday routine you will feel more confident arriving to work on Monday morning and enjoy your weekend even more.

ICE – In Case of Emergency

Ways to prepare for the Unexpected

No matter where you live, or the time of the year, you and your family should be prepared for emergencies. Not just big disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or fires, but medical and personal emergencies as well.

Organize Anything understands that no one wants to think about emergency situations, so we’ve come up with 5 easy, stress free ways to prepare for emergencies before you have to deal with them.

1. Cover it in ICE. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency and Emergency Service Providers (paramedics, police and firefighters) will use your phone to contact your next of kin. Make it easier for them to contact the right person by including “I.C.E” at the end of their name. It is a universally known acronym in emergency services.

2. Pick your emergency contacts carefully. So often we make our emergency contacts a loved one, not taking into consideration that we are often with our closest family and friends when things go awry. Pick an emergency contact who lives in another city or province/state. This way, your person can be a hub of contact if you and your family are separated during an environmental emergency.

3. Keep your documents in one, easy to grab place. Store photocopies of the ID, Passports, credit cards, health cards, SIN cards for every member of the family in the back of the home manual. Keep it in a central place and make sure it’s easy to see. This way, if a family friend has to run into your house to pick up important documents, they can find them quickly.

4. Know where your first aid and overnight kits are. Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit in your house? Does everyone in your family know where it is? We often forget to keep our bandages and antiseptics stocked. Check the kit when you check your fire alarm batteries. Keep your overnight kit stocked with bottled water and anything else you will need to keep your family fed (and entertained!) for at least 3 days.

5. Plan for the weather. Every where has unique weather and natural phenomena that can cause major problems for you and your family. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, mudslides, floods, and wild fires are all elements human beings have to combat. If you live in an area where these occur with frequency, create a plan with your family and you’re out of town emergency contacts. Schedule in you calendar an annul review and discuss with all those involved.

The most important thing to remember about preparing for emergencies is not to stress out. If you are prepared with a game plan, then you’ve done all you can do. Clear communication, simple planning and an open mind will keep you safe when the unexpected happens.

Relationship Byte – What To Take Networking

Does the idea of networking make your palms sweat? Don’t let nerves or inexperience keep you from meeting and connecting with potential clients and suppliers!

Join Colette for a Relationship Byte – You want to travel light so leave your coat and bag in the car or at the coat check. A pen (or your phone!) to take notes and a mint are really all you need.

Organize Your Life With Your Phone!

You already use your phone for more than just calling someone, you text and tweet and take pictures. But do you take advantage of all the fantastic ways a cell phone can keep you organized on the fly and simplify your life?

Organize Anything has come up with a great list of eight tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the organizing tool in your pocket.

1) Keep your contacts organized. Smart phones have a great capacity to organize your contacts in many different ways. Update client profiles with as much information as you can and use groups to distinguish between family, friends, clients, coworkers and prospects.

2) Sync your calendars. Set up your phone to sync with your business and family calendars so you always know what’s going on. Be sure to set up a two-way sync so anytime you add an appointment to your phone, it will sync to your computer.

3) Schedule your time. Use the task function on your phone, set up reminders and alarms to ensure that you are working through your daily task lists in an efficient manner. Want to know how much time you spend on certain activities a week? Colour code family, work, friend time for a quick-look review.

4) List it. Keep lists of household items and groceries that you’re running low on so that you can grab it on the go. You can also keep information handy that you might need on the go like family clothing sizes, a to-do list, house measurements, emergency contacts and more!

5) There’s an App for literally everything! Every smart phone has an “app store” and there some really great tools that have been developed for your specific phone in the store. You can find an app to help with anything these days – from work flow, organizational, social media and more. Your phone is a small, super powerful computer that can help you in so many ways.

6) Stay on track with your diet. Install a food tracker app or just keep notes about what you eat and when you exercise during the day. People who track their eating habits are more likely to stick to their healthy eating plans.

7) Use Your Commute. Have a busy day at the office planned?  Want to organize a party for the weekend? Connect your phone to your email account so you can take advantage of your commute downtime to get a jump-start on your day. You’ve got down time as you travel back and forth to work, use it to stay on top of your personal and social life so you don’t get distracted at the office.

8) Take pictures. See a great gift idea while shopping that you don’t want to forget? Snap a picture and title it with where you saw it and who you thought of. Don’t want to forget where you parked the car? Take a picture. Use your camera phone to document landmarks when you travel somewhere new so you have visual references in case you get lost later.

There many fun and inventive ways to use your phone to stay organized. If you have a trick or an app you like to use, we’d love to hear about it. You have the technology of a computer and the convenience of a phone in your back pocket, so utilize it to simplify your day-to-day life.

By

Where’s your launch pad?

Do you have a launch pad? You may not be Cape Canaveral but your home and office should not be without one.

Office

How many items are lying around your office that belong elsewhere and often take weeks and months to get back where they belong? There is a coffee cup that needs to go to the staff kitchen. A stack of photos from your vacation you brought in to show your colleagues. A gift you were given that you plan to take home. All these items create clutter in your office.

Find a shelf in your office or an area near the door that you can use for your launch pad. Move all those items that need to be returned to others or those items you want to remember to take home. It will lessen the clutter in your office and keep you from forgetting things you planned to bring home or return. Remember to take a peak at the launch pad when leaving the office to see what can be taken with you.

Home

In your home you can create several launch pads. Perhaps you already have your own launch pad and don’t realize it. Often the bottom steps of your staircase are already serving this purpose. Place items that need to go upstairs in the corner of the step so you take them up every time you go. Make sure it is not a hazard for those coming down the stairs.

You can also create a launch pad for yourself and your family near the main entrance. Place a small table or shelving unit near the entrance to collect items that need to be returned like library books or videos or errands that need to be run. Don’t forget to include things that are going to be picked up.

Your launch pad will help trigger your memory to things that need to go out of your home and office. It will cut down the clutter and help you to save some steps and manage tasks more efficiently. Unlike NASA’s, your launch pad won’t take you to space, but it will help you make better use of your space.

Organize Anything Takes Your Dorm Room by Storm

Organizing a dorm room can be a daunting task, but with experts to help, starting the school year right can be a breeze.

Whether a student is a dorm room pro or tackling dorm life for the first time, making the most of the space they have to live, sleep and study in can be a challenge.

Colette Robicheau, professional organizer at Organize Anything, specializes in downsizing and developing systems to work in any sized space. She has the following tips to share about maximizing your small living space and easing the transition from home.

1. Plan ahead. Get floor plans and lists of do’s and don’ts. Create a list or use a Pinterest board like this one to collect your ideas

2. Double up. Try to avoid appliances and furniture that only have one purpose. Instead of an alarm clock, pick up a radio/iPod docking station/alarm clock/charging station for the bedside table. Or invest in a printer that’s also a scanner and copier. Multi-purpose means less space wasted. An ottoman is great for storage and extra seating.

3. Make your bed.  Often in a dorm room your bed is your couch, study chair, extra storage space, clothes shelf as well as a place to sleep. Invest in bedding that’s durable and hides stains and don’t forget to ask about if you’ll need extra long sheets. A mattress topper can add comfort and encasements can protect for allergies and pests. Store items you may not use often under your bed for extra space.

4. Have a light bulb moment. Invest in full spectrum light bulbs for your desk lamp – after all the fluorescent lights in the classrooms your eyes will appreciate the break. Small clamp lamps can be used to highlight specific areas in the room, which is considerate if you share your space.

5. Contemplate your closet. A well-organized closet can save so much space and frustration in a dorm room. Adding a double hang rack or baskets will increase storage space. Use a back of the door shoe holder for shoes and more. Also handy are 3M Hooks with Command™ Adhesive .

6. Tote-able toiletries. Keeping all shower and hygiene products in one easy-to-carry tote not only makes it easier to keep track of your shampoo, but keeps it all organized in one place. Make sure you get one with holes to let the excess water drain.

7. Laundry bag blues. Tuck your laundry basket into the bottom of your closet or under the sink in the bathroom. Keep your detergent right in the basket. If your washing machines take quarters, tie a small change purse right to the basket itself.

8. Create the illusion of space.  By pushing your bed and desk to the walls you increase your floor space. Put your desk under your window for the best natural light and your bed against a wall so you can use it like a daybed when not sleeping in it.

9. Keep your desk organized.You’ll be spending a lot of time at your desk so making sure it’s neat and tidy with some great organizing products will make your studying that much easier. A whiteboard calendar will help you keep track of your upcoming assignments.

10. Think small – Most rooms are not much more than 225 square feet.   Don’t overbuy in big box sizes and quantities when there is such limited storage space.

Organizing a dorm room can be a daunting task, but with experts to help, starting the school year right can be a breeze.

If you would like helping getting your Dorm Room set up to optimize your success this school year contact Organize Anything today. Colette works with individuals to assess their unique spaces and needs, designing and implementing a plan that is both efficient and economical.

Get Organized for Finals NOW

Students live in a world of endless opportunities to learn, socialize, volunteer, work, and travel among a long list of things. Good study skills and time management are key to learning how to balance priorities and opportunities in your life as a student. With all these options and new found freedom, a student might become dissatisfied with how they are managing their time. Perhaps they have developed a bad habit of procrastinating or maybe they have too many activities on the go. Changing behaviours is a difficult task but following the recommendations below will help any student improve their time management skills.

 A student can start by doing a self assessment. Do I skip class? Do I set goals for myself? Am I easily distracted from school work? Own up to your short comings and bad habits. Set goals you would like to achieve this semester, this year, and in life. This will help you determine what is most important to you and help set your priorities.

1) Starting to plan. Plan each day. You can do this the night before or first thing in the morning. Set out what you would like to accomplish today and prioritize the items on your “To Do” list. The best tool is a day planner. Keeping all your appointments and assignments in one place will prevent you from forgetting anything. If you are behind in your school work, schedule in time to catch up. Flag start dates for major assignments so they won’t be left until the last minute. Be sure you allow for relaxation time as well as social and extra-curricular activities in your schedule. Allow for flexibility in your schedule. This will reduce stress in case something comes up (parents visiting, illness, etc..).

2) Scheduling Time. Going to class should be a top priority. Even if you haven’t done the assigned readings, missing class will put you further behind and waste time. Getting notes from someone else is never as efficient as writing your own and someone else may have missed an important point. Attending class will make studying easier later. Block off small amounts of time for studying. You can devote your focus to the task for a shorter period of time and will remember more of what you read. Subdivide larger tasks into smaller ones. This is helpful when scheduling things in your day planner and will make that big project easier to tackle. If you come up against a task that is unpleasant or difficult commit to trying it for five minutes. You may end up getting into it and spending more time, but if not that’s fine. Try to come back to it again later for another five minutes.

3) Finding a Study Space. The first task is to determine your best study time. Some people are most alert and do their best work after midnight; others work best in the morning when they are still fresh. Know your study preference. Some people like a bit a noise or music; others are distracted by the presence of others. It is your responsibility to guard against distractions. If you know your roommate is having friends over or that people often stop by your room to chat, go to the library. If you are tempted by instant messaging and email get away from your computer.

4) Reviewing your Efforts. At the end of each week, evaluate how you did. How many things remain undone on your schedule? Did your schedule work well for you? What obstacles and distractions did you encounter? Each week set out a reward for completing your most important tasks. Maybe it’s a night out, an ice cream cone, or buying a new shirt. Choose whatever is in your budget and will motivate you the best.

Isn’t it time you started practicing some of these time management techniques? Change your behaviours and you will change your results. These results not only include your grades, but your free time as well.

Relationship Byte – Business Cards

Does the idea of networking make your palms sweat? Don’t let nerves or inexperience keep you from meeting and connecting with potential clients and suppliers!

Join Colette for a Relationship Byte – If you’re taking business cards to a networking event make sure they’re clean and not bent.

Back-to-the-Basics with Back-to-School Organization

Although most of us are enjoying a relaxing summer break, the new school year is just around the corner. August is the time to get ready for back to school by preparing ourselves with the proper supplies and organizational techniques. Follow these suggestions to create a less stressful year and to avoid that last-minute scurry before the first day of school. Even if you don’t have children or aren’t attending school yourself, we can all benefit by using this time to readjust our schedules and routines.

1) Use Calendars – Prepare your calendar for the upcoming school year. Family members should have easy access to one central calendar at home. Keep one in your kitchen or den so everyone in your family can see what is on the agenda for the weeks ahead. Record important dates such as school closings, vacations, appointments or meetings. This will allow everyone to judge time accordingly for car scheduling and pick ups. Designate each family member a coloured marker to write activities to clearly see who has what coming up. In a backpack, keep a daily planner and carry it at all times. Jot down appointments or project deadlines right away before you forget. Don’t rely on memory – write it all down.

2) Only Buy What You Will Use – Organizing and prioritizing means making space in your room, home or office to store new school work and supplies. Don’t go overboard buying new supplies thinking this will help you be more organized. Rather, look at the basic items you use and only buy those. Make a list of the items you need and only purchase those items when shopping. By gathering your pre-existing supplies, you can judge more effectively what extra supplies you will need, and what has worked best for you in the past.

3) Get Rid of the Old to Make Room for the New – Get rid of old books and papers that you no longer use. When you do come across important papers, have a specific place to store them. A filing cabinet would be a great investment, and it keeps stacks of papers out of sight. Outdated magazines should be donated or recycled. If there are articles you like or don’t have time to read, tear them out and keep them in a binder or file them by subject. This way you have all the articles that you enjoy together and can take it along with you while waiting for appointments or in between classes.

4) Keep All School Supplies in One Area – Designate one spot in your home for all your school supplies. Spend 15 minutes each night tidying up this area. This will save time in the morning and avoid the panic of looking for misplaced items. Always have your backpack ready and your homework finished the night before. Keep lunches prepared in the fridge and ready to grab.

5) Donate Old Clothes – Everyone wants to have a few new items of clothing for the first day of school. Before you go shopping, look at the clothes you already own to see how they will work for the fall season. Go through your closet and get rid of outdated clothes and those that don’t fit. If you haven’t worn items in months or years, chances are you do not need them. Getting rid of these articles of clothing will make way for your new fall wardrobe.

6) Do it Now – Start shopping early for back-to-school clothes and supplies. Don’t wait until the weekend before school starts. The stores will be crowded which may cause unnecessary stress. Make shopping a leisurely and enjoyable experience with your children or friends.

Back-to-school can mean a fresh start for your organizing routine. Prepare now to ensure you start the new school year on the right track.

If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at http://www.organizeanything.com

© 2006 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
http://www.organizeanything.com
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

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