Don’t Make a Bad Move Be a Bad Movie
Moving is hard. There’s no two ways around it. It’s stressful, it can take forever, and it causes mountains of upheaval – and that’s all before you land in your new home.
Something we don’t often think about when we’re planning to move house is the community we’re moving in TO. Yes, we want to make sure we’re near amenities we love, or close to our grandkids, or that the continuing care company aligns with our values. But we don’t often think to check out the actual neighbours. Are you moving into a Rosemary’s Baby situation, or will you end up with a neighbour like Wilson from Home Improvement?
When you’re house hunting, ask the sellers about their relationship with the neighbours. Connect with them as part of your viewing process. Do you know anyone who lives in the neighbourhood who can tell you about the culture and vibe? Know what things will drive you batty, and check before you commit to the purchase! Ask if there’s someone who likes to mow the lawn at 7am on Saturday, or if there’s a dog that barks at all hours. Do the neighbours get together for events, or mostly stick to themselves?
Six quick questions to ask neighbours before buying your house:
- How long have you lived in the neighbourhood?
- What do you love most about living here?
- What do you like least about the neighbourhood?
- If you could change one thing about the street, what would it be?
- Do the neighbours all get along?
- Do people own their homes here, or is it more rental properties?
Take a drive through the area during the day and during the evening. Do you feel safe after dark on your street? Observe how people maintain their homes, and what the seasonal décor is like. If you’re able, tour the area a few different times of day during a typical week. There are neighbourhood groups on Facebook that you can join to get a sense of the area and its history.
Of course you don’t have to do these things, but any research will minimize the risk of your life turning into a bad neighbours movie!
Here’s some of our favourite movies and tv shows with neighbours of all kinds. Take a watch, we’ll call it research!
- Dennis the Menace (1993)
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
- Rear Window (1954)
- Desperate Housewives (2004)
- Three’s Company (1977)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
- Home Improvement (1991)
- American Beauty (1999)
- Maude (1972)
- Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Struggling to find balance? Wondering how you could be better spending your time and energy? Try this Wheel of Life exercise to discover what areas you would like to grow and change in, in your life.
COMPLETE THE WHEEL:
1. Review the 8 Wheel Categories – think briefly what a satisfying life might look like for you in each area.
2. Next, draw a line across each segment that represents your satisfaction score for each area.
- Imagine the centre of the wheel is 0 and the outer edge is 10
- Choose a value between 1 (very dissatisfied) and 10 (fully satisfied)
- Now draw a line and write the score alongside (see example above)
IMPORTANT: Use the FIRST number (score) that pops into your head, not the number you think it should be!
- Balance is personal and unique to each individual – what may be satisfying or balanced for some may be stressful or boring for others.
- This exercise raises your awareness and allows you to plan a life that is more satisfying and closer to your definition of balance. It also helps clarify priorities for goal-setting.
- Balance must be assessed over time. A regular check-in (eg. with this exercise) can highlight useful patterns and help you learn even more about yourself.
- Another option is to ask someone who knows you well to complete the scores for you (sometimes it’s helpful to see an outside perception of your life ‘balance’). Important: This must be someone you trust and whose opinion you value – and remember that others may have hidden agendas.
- Review the 8 categories on their Wheel of Life. The categories should together create a view of your balanced life. If necessary, you can split category segments to add in something that is missing, or re-label an area to make it more meaningful for them. Examples of changes are:
- Family and Friends: Split “Family and Friends” into separate categories.
- Significant Other: Changing the category name to “Dating”, “Relationship” or “Life Partner”.
- Career: Changing the category name to “Motherhood”, “Work”, “Business” or “Volunteering”.
- Finances: Changing the category name to “Money”, “Financial Security” or “Financial Wellbeing”.
- Health: The category name could be split or changed to “Emotional”, “Physical”, “Fitness”, “Spiritual” or “Wellbeing”.
- Home Environment: The category could split or change to “Work Environment” for career or business clients.
- Fun & Leisure: The category name could change to “Recreation”
- Personal Growth: The category name could change to “Learning”, “Self-Development” or “Spiritual”
- Other categories to add could include “Security”, “Service”, “Leadership”, “Achievement” or “Community”.
- Think about what success or satisfaction would feel like for each area.
- Rank your level of satisfaction with each area of their life by drawing a line across each segment. Place a value between 1 (very dissatisfied) and 10 (fully satisfied) against each area to show how satisfied you are currently with each category in your life.
- The new perimeter of the circle represents their Wheel of Life. Ask yourself – “Is it a bumpy ride?”
- Now, looking at the wheel here are some great questions to ask to take the exercise deeper:
- Are there any surprises for you?
- How do you feel about your life as you look at your Wheel?
- How do you currently spend time in these areas? How would you like to spend time in these areas?
- What would make that a score of 10?
- What would a score of 10 look like?
- Which of these categories would you most like to improve?
- How could you make space for these changes in your life?
- What help and support might you need from others to make changes and be more satisfied with your life?
- What change should you make first? And what change do you want to make first?
- If there was one key action you could take that would begin to bring everything into balance, what would it be?
- Taking action – the final step. To wrap-up the exercise identify one action for each area, and then pick 1-3 actions to get started. You could choose the 3 areas you most want to work on and identify an action for each.
TIP: If you are extremely busy or stressed ask yourself “What is the smallest step you could take to get started?”
It’s the start of a new semester. We all start the year with the intention to be organized and on top of schoolwork, bills, work, and obligations. It doesn’t take long for the best intentions to turn into the worst habits. Let these organizing tips help you start the semester off right and keep things on track right through to exams.
The Two-Minute Rule. If it takes less than two minutes to do, do it now. Your friends can wait two minutes for you to finish something. This will prevent you from having to sit for hours sorting through papers and will ensure you have a clean workspace so you don’t end up doing your homework on your bed (where falling asleep is a big possibility!). Keeping on top of your piles of papers will help prevent forgotten assignments, lost phone messages, misplaced email addresses and damaged forms and applications.
Don’t Carry Around a Bottomless Pit. Don’t let your schoolbag become a bottomless pit of papers and garbage. Make a habit of cleaning out your back pack every night when you take your textbooks and notebooks out. Stray papers shoved into your bag on your way out of class, at extracurricular events, and picked up around school (promotional flyers, brochures, newspapers) have a way of getting crumpled up at the bottom of your bag and forgotten. Put them in their proper place! If you don’t need the information or don’t intend to go to the event –throw out the flyer. Put graded assignments in a designated binder or folder for that class. If you need to dispute your course grade later you want to have all of your graded materials. You may also want to study from your past tests.
Inboxes Aren’t Just for Email. Desktop inboxes aren’t just for corporate executives. Having an inbox for things you need to complete and an outbox for things that need to be dropped off (mail, assignments, forms, money owed) can be a great way to stay on top of what needs to be done. As long as you don’t allow things to pile up and get forgotten at the bottom of your inbox, it can keep you moving through things.
File This Under ‘Awesome’. An accordion file is a portable and affordable alternative to a filing cabinet. Make sections for bills, school, jobs, housing, health, and extracurricular activities. Keep all your information in the accordion file so you only have to look in one place when you need something. This will help keep your bulletin board clear of clutter so you have more room for photos, mementos, and current event information. It’s also easy to move.
Don’t Let a Red Sock Ruin Your Day. Try using a sectioned hamper or two separate hampers so that you can sort lights from darks as soon as they are dirty. This will save you time when you are ready to do a load of wash (and prevent a red sock from turning your whites pink!). Having two different colored hampers will help you remember which is which. Try keeping laundry soap, fabric softener, quarters, and other laundry necessities in a basket so that you can easily carry everything you need without losing anything on your way to the laundry room.
Following these tips will save you time and give you a great start to staying organized this school year. After all, there are more important things to be doing than tidying up!
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Are financial worries leaving your holiday plans out in the cold? This year families around the globe are
finding ways to cut back, hold off and hunker down for the impending economic storm. While we may enjoy the rituals of preparing for the holidays, it can add up to a lot of emotional, physical and financial stress. Consider the joy of
eliminating those post holiday credit card payments by adding new traditions for a low-stress, minimalist Christmas that will save you big bucks.
-Think about getting a smaller tree which will mean less time, money and less lugging in and out of the house. If you usually get more than one tree or decorate the trees outside, consider scaling back.
-Get eclectic and let the kids help by can creating a themed tree using things you already have.
-Does anyone actually enjoy putting up lights? Spend your Saturday inside drinking a cappuccino instead of fearing for your life dangling from the roof. Think of the money you’ll save on energy!
-Consider re-gifting as a way to stick to your budget this year. Make sure it is something you would normally give to that person and ensure that it is truly appropriate for them.
-Do you find yourself returning half of what you bought? Treat picky teens to a shopping spree after Christmas (when the deals are on) and stick to a few gifts that are on their list that you know you’ll “get right”.
-Buy less. Look at your gift buying list. Maybe it’s time to send those cousins and niecesand nephews a card with money or a gift card. It can be difficult figuring out what to buy relatives you rarely see. Give co-workers and friends a card with a lotto ticket in it—it could end up being a very generous gift! Put spending limits on how much your spouse and children are to spend on gifts. Try doing a gift swap so children only have one gift to buy instead of 3 or 4. Do a cookie swap with friends trading recipes and sampling each others creations.
-Shop online. Finding parking spots and braving the crowds aren’t a necessary part of the Christmas ritual. You can find
more online than you can at the mall. Shop early and find good deals on Ebay. Most stores in your mall have an online store; at the very least you can comparison shop before heading out.
-Cut back on baking and cooking. Contrary to popular belief six kinds of dessert are not required. Do you really need a 20 pound turkey or is ten pounds really enough? We tend to overeat at Christmas, so think about what food you really need to enjoy the holidays and what is just too much.
-Are you running from house to house for back-to-back Christmas dinners? Try a quiet, “stay in” Christmas. Have supper with your immediate family and promise to visit other relatives another night for cookies and cider. This means less work and cost for them as well!
You may fear being labeled a Scrooge for changing traditions and cutting back during the holidays. However, you may also find
that family members and friends are happy to let go of some of the expenses and responsibilities that come with our traditions. Plus, if you are less stressed, you can spend more time enjoying time with your family instead of running around trying to get everything “just so.” Your family will agree that a minimalist holiday will make you a more relaxed and fun person to be around.
Finding the right Christmas gift for everyone on your list can be tricky, not to mention stressful. So here are some handy tips that will help make your seasonal shopping simple and stress-free:
1) The thought counts – Put some thought into each gift so it matches the tastes of each recipient. Everyone will appreciate it, and appreciate you more for it.
2) Bright and early – Start your shopping early with a set deadline. It’s best to go early in the day and at the start of the week when fewer shoppers are out.
3) The perfect getaway – Plan a day or weekend getaway with a friend that includes a visit to a museum or gallery for unique gift ideas.
4) Get creative – Have a knack for crafts or culinary delights? Why not buy some supplies and make something special for someone special?
5) Encourage an interest – Know a wine enthusiast? Give them a wine kit. Know someone who wants to learn how to tango? Enroll them in lessons. Once you know someone’s interests, the possibilities are limitless.
6) Certified smiles – Gift certificates allow everyone on your list to treat themselves to anything from a night at the movies to a day at the spa. They also save you time spent shopping and wrapping while reducing clutter.
7) It’s great to delegate – Some stores feature personal shopping services, offering gift advice for everyone on your list based on their personalities and tastes.
8) Get online – many retailers have websites that allow you to shop at any hour from the comfort of your home.
9) Give an upgrade – Make that ‘can’t-live-without-it’ item even better. Buy the new version of a popular video game or computer program, or upgrade someone from a CD player to an MP3.
10) Don’t ‘top up’ – Giving gifts is about finding the right present, not how much you spend. So resist the temptation to buy that extra gift just to make someone happy.
Be realistic. We often start off the holiday season with lots of great ideas for family fun, decorating, parties, gifts and crafts. Now is the time to take a step back and look realistically at the time frame you have remaining to get all these things done on top of your regular activities.
Remember that these fun ideas can become “one more thing” on your To Do list. Pick a few things you would like to be involved in and enjoy them. Save the other ideas for another year or as a way to ward off winter blues in the New Year.
Maintain your regular exercise routine. Don’t slip up simply because you have some extra errands to do. Don’t schedule your workouts around your other activities; schedule your other activities around your workout routines. Try to go
to the gym, swim or exercise at home at the same time each day. Give yourself and loved ones the best gift of all this holiday and take care of your health first.
Feel pulled in a million directions? If your children need you at school concerts, work has extra holiday hours for you or your friends need you to help plan a big holiday party, keep in mind that you won’t be of use to anyone if you over exhaust yourself. Take a break each day for yourself. Plan it in your calendar as you would for meetings with family and friends. Schedule “you” time for at least 15-30 minutes each day doing something that you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a good book,
going for a manicure or journal writing, take the time to relax and do things you want to do.
Learn to say no. Don’t take something on assuming you will find the time to get it done. Practice with your family. Separate
what really needs to get done from what would be nice if it got done. Focus on getting things that have to get done and delegate or hold off on the rest. The holidays should be an enjoyable time for everyone, don’t let yourself become a slave to the season.
Eat properly. Don’t use the holidays and stress as a reason to over eat. Although the holidays always seem to bring with them sweet treats and extra appetizers, don’t let them tempt you. Remember, just because someone offers you something, you do not have to accept. It is not considered rude to politely pass on a food. If you start something and know you should stop, pack it up and take it home for a snack or meal later. There is no rule saying you must eat everything on your plate or everything that is handed to you. Pick and choose the healthiest foods and indulge on those. Eat smaller portions of your selected treats.
Although some people think alcohol decreases your stress, it is only a temporary solution. Try to stay away from consuming too many cocktails as this will interfere with your diet and overall well-being. If you are careful with what you drink, you will also eliminate consuming too much at holiday parties which in turn could save you some added stress when you get on the scale.
Cut down your gift giving list. If you have too many people to buy gifts for this year, make a smaller list. Many people will understand and be relieved of the stress and pressure of time and money just as you will be. This works for especially well for larger families. Gather for a cookie or gift exchange where each person is only required to bring one item or send a thoughtful Christmas card instead.
Stick to a budget. Financial woes top of the list of relationship issues. Don’t put an extra strain on yourself and your relationship by running up big bills this season. You will decrease your quality of living by increasing stress: wondering how you are going to pay your bills, working extra hours to keep creditors at bay, and doing without things you actually need because you wanted to have the “best Christmas
Decide ahead of time how much you are going to spend on each person on your list. Remember that it really is the thought that counts, and not the size or number of presents.
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.
Many of us think we have conquered procrastination and have become efficient workers. This may be true for some of us, but when it comes to procrastination we may have just become a little more creative. You may just be a V.I.P. – Very Inventive Procrastinator.
- I like to get a lot of little jobs out-of-the-way before starting a major project.
- I have a messy desk, overflowing in-basket and paper that needs to be filed.
- I frequently go back to work with my “homework” still in my briefcase untouched.
- I have at least two major projects at work or at home that I am leaving until I have more time.
- In the mornings I rarely get up when the alarm sounds or at the time I planned to get up.
- I like to stick with a task until it is perfect.
How many of those statements described you at least some of the time? According to Dr. Linda Sapadinin in her book It’s About Time, there are six styles of procrastination:
- The Perfectionist– Spends too much time past the acceptable level of work
- The Dreamer– Focuses on fun and easy things in hopes the difficult will disappear
- The Worrier– Is afraid to make mistakes, so never gets started
- The Defier– Puts things off as a way to object to having to do it
- The Crisis-Maker– Lives for the adrenaline of working against the clock
- The Over-Doer– Takes on more can they can do in a timely manner
- Change your “can’ts”, “should’s”, and “someday’s” to “can’s”, “could’s”, and specific times.
- Identify why you procrastinate. Do you try to perfect everything? Do you worry? Do you like the feeling of beating the clock? Do you take on too much?
- Set a goal for the thing you’ve been putting off. Pick a specific date to do it, and schedule time in your planner to get it done.
- Break down the overwhelming tasks into chunks, and do them a little at a time.
- Keep telling yourself, “If it’s unpleasant, I’ll do it now and get it over with.” First thing in the morning is a great way to start. Get the things you want to do least off of your plate so you are not anticipating how little you want to do them all day long.
- Disorganization breeds procrastination, so get organized.
- Tackle the distasteful tasks when you’re feeling good or have just accomplished something significant.
- Force yourself to start. Once started, you’ll build momentum. Keep starting, and you’ll develop the do it now habit.
- Decide on a reward for finishing a task that you have been delaying. Example: a coffee break, a new shirt, a night on the town. Provide yourself with an incentive to get it done.
If you found this article useful, you can find more like it at www.organizeanything.com.
For more information or to connect with me online:
Colette Robicheau ASP, CRSS, CPO-CD ®, Master Trainer in CD and Organization
© 2011 Organize Anything – The Professional Organizing Company
Do you ever wonder if you are over-tipping or under-tipping, or should be tipping at all? You are not alone. Lots of people are unsure how much to tip the bell hop or the tour guide. They usually end up tipping way too much or not enough.
Organize Anything has put together a handy chart of industry standards of tipping. We’ve also come up with a few ideas and suggestions on how to gracefully handle leaving a tip.
1) Great service deserves recognition. If you are a patron of a location and appreciate the consistently great service you get, feel free to tip higher than industry standards. Hair stylists, mechanics and your favourite waiter are all people who may expect an inflated tip because you see them on a regular basis and have developed a relationship with them.
2) Being a great tipper doesn’t excuse being a bad customer. People who work in the service industry remember bad customers more than good customers. Just because you leave a hefty tip doesn’t excuse being rude, or a difficult patron. The staff will remember you’re poor behavior and you may receive less than stellar service the next time you visit.
3) Think about the big picture when tipping. It’s not your server’s fault if your food is overcooked and it’s not your cab driver’s fault if there’s bad traffic. However if your server delivers cold food and is reluctant to take it back, then that should factor into how much of a tip you leave.
4) Not leaving a tip leaves a statement. Many people in the service industry make minimum wage because the companies that hire them expect them to earn the accepted minimum in tips. Not leaving a tip because you don’t feel like it can ruin a server’s shift. It will also get you branded as a bad customer by the staff. This doesn’t mean you should reward bad service though! If you receive truly horrible service mention it to the manager and leave a below minimum standard tip.
5) Here’s a handy chart for some common services and the “industry standard” for tipping:
|Mechanic||$10-$20 for jobs up to $500, $50 for jobs over $500|
|Mover||$20-$50 for large, difficult moves. $10-$20 for small moves|
|Taxi Driver||15-20% of fare|
|Take Out Delivery||$1-2 or $5 for larger orders|
|Waiter/Waitress||15 – 20% of bill|
|Bartenders||$1 for beer or wine, $2 for mixed drinks|
|Hair Stylists||15-20% of bill|
|Massage Therapist||10 – 20% of a one hour massage|
|Priest (for Marriage)||$75-100|
When in doubt about how much to leave, it is standard in North America to leave between 15 and 20 per cent. We hope that these guidelines will help you next time you need to leave a tip.
If you found the information in this article useful and you’d like to share it, please feel free – just be sure to credit us. For more great tips and information on our services visit us at www.organizeanything.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter @organizenow.