Category Archives: Lifestyle

Holiday Office Survival Guide

Holiday office parties can be a chance for you to shine in front of your employer and peers. You can take advantage of the casual setting to have some fun and advance your career, or misbehave and cripple your career. Follow these tips to make sure you adhere to the highest standard of office party etiquette:

1) Don’t pass up the opportunity! It’s not every day that you get the chance to have a one-on-one personal conversation with the boss. Even if you can’t stay the whole evening don’t be a no-show. Arrive, mingle, and then make your exit.

2) Always ask before bringing a guest. Bringing your spouse or partner is a great way to meet new people in the office and showcase a bit of your personal life. However, not all office parties are open to families.

3) Don’t overindulge. Just because there’s a buffet or an open bar doesn’t mean that you should help yourself all night. You never know whose eyes are on you.

Businesspeople at Christmas party

Businesspeople at Christmas party

4) Dress appropriately. Dress more festively than you would for a day at the office, but more conservative than you would for a night out on the town.

5) Get involved. Don’t be afraid to take part in activities at the party. You’ll stick out more if you refuse to be a team player and participate.

6) Don’t forget it’s still a business event. Be sure to take the time to chat with your colleagues and superiors. Get to know the people you work with, but maintain your professional image.

7) Be gracious to the hosts, and send a thank you note to management and the personnel who organized the event the next day for inviting you.

Office parties are a great chance to network and have some fun with your co-workers. Enjoy yourself, meet some new people and expand your contacts in the organization. By following our simple do’s and don’ts you’ll avoid making any embarrassing missteps.

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Stay Fit and Healthy This Holiday Season

Did you gain weight last holiday season?  You’re not alone.  With so many corporate and social gatherings and events in such a short time, it’s hard to resist indulging in the array of seasonal treats they bring. The trick is to find a balance between enjoying yourself and maintaining healthy habits.  So here are a few suggestions that will help you avoid unhealthy weight gain this year.

  • Shift your attitude away from food – Remember that food is not the reason for get-togethers during the holiday season. It’s something extra.  Keep that in mind and focus on having fun.
  • Don’t abstain – Why deny yourself your favourite meals before and during the holiday season? The key is moderation – watch your portions, plan lighter, more nutritional meals and keep up your exercise routine.
  • Stock up on healthy choices – You probably like to buy a few treats for yourself and your guests over the holidays. Why not substitute some of all of those items with more nutritional options such as fruit, whole-grain products or peanut butter?
  • Curb your appetite – Want to cut the calories you consume at a seasonal celebration? Plan a small healthy snack before you go.  Regularly drinking water during the holidays is another great way to keep your appetite in check.
  • Plan your event calendar – With so many events to choose from, and so much temptation, it’s a good idea to take time and plan the events that you want to attend. Set yourself limits, don’t get over exhausted and make sure you are having regular meals.
  • Know your limits – if there are foods that you find irresistible, set yourself limits. That way, you can enjoy them without overindulging.
  • Buddy up – Chances are you have a friend or co-worker who is also watching what they eat. Why not pair up and look out for each other at your next event.
  • Toast to your health – Alternate your alcoholic beverages and seasonal favourites such as eggnog with Water and un-sweetened drinks. Not only will you cut calories, you’ll also avoid the holiday hangover
  • Eat your greens – Look for the veggie tray, a mainstay of any holiday party. For potlucks, plan a nutritious, low-calorie dish, like a fruit tray or shrimp ring.
  • Stay active – It isn’t easy with all of the festivities, but make time for fitness. It not only burns calories, it helps melt away seasonal stress. Consider walking to events, where possible, and arranging a drive home with a friend or by taxi.

Did You Know We Have Gift Certificates?

Do you have someone on your holiday list that is impossible to shop for? No idea what to get the friend that seems to have everything? Try an Organize Anything gift certificate for Christmas this year! It’s the perfect choice for the person in your life who needs a helping hand getting a handle on the clutter and disorganization in their life.
Whether they need organizing help at home or in the home office, Organize Anything can help. Know someone who could use some extra assistance getting their productivity up? We have a gift certificate for that. Know a student who wants some making their study habits more efficient? Have a grandchild moving out this spring to go to university? Buy a downsizing or relocating gift certificate for their parents.
Our gift certificates options are wide open so that they can be tailored to meet your needs. We offer professional organizing and productivity services. We also are available for public speaking engagements, teaching seminars and life coaching. Visit our website, http://www.organizeanything.com for all the details.
Please contact us if you aren’t sure if we offer the service you’re looking for organize1@organizeanything.com or (902) 233-1577. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too (@organizeanow)!

Music to Motivate You to Organize Anything

Tune in and Get it Done

Are you facing a giant organizing project that you’re having trouble feeling motivated to start? Make a playlist to help motivate you to carry through to the end of the project.

Music is proven to motivate and energize us – in fact headphones are banned in several sports because music gives athletes too much of an advantage! Choosing music with a high BPM (Beats Per Minute) forces your brain to focus and you will start to synchronize your movements with the beat of the song.

For low to medium intensity work, like rearranging the garage, an ideal BPM range is 120 – 132bpm. This music will be high energy enough to keep you engaged and active, but isn’t going to have you subconsciously pushing yourself harder than you want to go. Put a few slower and faster songs in the mix to keep it interesting.

Don’t forget about melody and lyrics. Various studies have shown that how a melody in a song is constructed can affect us physically. Take Adele’s smash hit “Someone Like You” for instance, not only are the lyrics heartbreaking and raw, the melody is written to include “appoggiaturas” – ornamental notes that clash with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound. And dissonant sound is what causes a physical reaction in human beings.

Pick songs that you love to sing along to. A great beat and fun lyrics will keep you jazzed as you do the job that you’ve been putting off.

The power of music doesn’t stop at keeping you energized during a workout or a marathon organizing session. Did you know that music has been shown to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 25%? With regular music therapy you can lower blood pressure, speed post-stroke recovery, boost your immunity, enhance intelligence and improve your memory performance. You can read more about it in the UK’s Journal of Advanced Nursing.

When we’re getting ready to tackle a large project, we make a playlist to jam along to. It keeps us motivated and it’s fun. The following are some of our favourite tunes, and if you visit our YouTube page this is a great 1 hour and 15 minute long play list, ready to go.

1.   Get the Party Started – Pink (129 BPM)

2.   Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson (128 BPM)

3.   Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police  (180 BPM)

4.   Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye (129 BPM)

5.   Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen (80 BPM)

6.   Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft Christina Augilera (128 BPM)

7.   Say My Name – Destiny’s Child (127 BPM)

8.   Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams (140 BPM)

9.   Set Fire to the Rain – Adele (108 BPM)

10.  We Found Love – Rihanna (128 BPM)

11. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor (117)

12. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen (124)

13. I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar – Helen Reddy (160)

14. Respect – Aretha Franklin (116)

15. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey (135)

16.. Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins (157)

17. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash (113)

18.. Let’s Dance – David Bowie (114)

19. Walk This Way – Aerosmith  (107)

20. Leader of the Pack – The Shangri-Las (112)

Have a tune that motivates you? Visit our YouTube Channel or Facebook Page and share it with us.

They Can Do That? A Guest Post from the National Association of Professional Organizers

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

When people think of the services professional organizers provide, de-cluttering closets, setting up filing systems, creating time management strategies, or designing custom garage storage systems typically come to mind. But professional organizers specialize in many different areas, and can help overcome a variety of organizing challenges faced at home or at work. Here is a list of some lesser-known services they offer:

  1. Specialty Moving & Relocation: Need help packing the kids up for summer camp or moving your college student into his or her dorm?  There’s an organizer for that! Hiring a pro lets parents stress less and spend more quality time with their kids before they go away, and helps college students get off to an organized start when living away from home for the first time.
  2. Organizing and Cataloging Collections: From photographs to memorabilia to wine, if you need to manage the items in your collection for insurance purposes, display, or simply for easy access, a professional organizer who specializes in collections can help you keep track of the items you have so carefully curated.
  3. Blending Households: A professional organizer can help preserve household harmony when new spouses, stepfamilies, roommates, or parents find themselves sharing living space, and need to find places for everyone’s stuff.
  4. EcoConscious Organizing: Everyone is more aware of humans’ effect on our environment, and for those consumers who actively try to reduce their overall impact, there are organizing professionals who specialize in sustainable ways to reduce clutter, organize and recycle unwanted items.
  5. Technology Organizing: Need someone to help set up your new smartphone?  Need help keeping track of documents and files on your home and work mobile devices? Need help figuring which apps to use to help you stay organized?  Tech-savvy professional organizers can help you get the most out of your electronic devices.
  6. Personal Assistant/Concierge Services: If staying organized means you need a helping hand running errands, scheduling appointments, or fulfilling other commitments, professional organizers who also provide assistant or concierge services will keep you in control of all the aspects of your busy life.
  7. Medical/Legal Office Organizing: Establishing effective filing systems, chain-of-custody protocols, and document retention policies is vital to successful case management and protecting sensitive and confidential information. A professional organizer experienced in medical or legal organizing can help improve office efficiency and maintain client privacy.
  8. Estate Sales: When a person passes away leaving behind a home full of possessions, sorting through a lifetime of memories may be too much for grieving loved ones to handle.  Professional organizers who offer estate sale services coordinate the sale or donation of unwanted items, taking the burden off family or friends at a difficult time.
  9. Working with People with ADHD or ADD: For people who struggle with attention-deficit disorders, routines and systems can dramatically help them maintain focus so they can be more productive at home, school, and work. Organizing experts who specialize in working with those living with ADHD or ADD understand their everyday challenges, and help them develop habits to minimize frustration and become more successful in all aspects of their lives.
  10. Emergency Preparedness: Disasters can strike home or work at any time, and a good emergency plan can keep you, your family, or your colleagues safe, and get you back on your feet sooner. Professional organizers can help you create a plan to keep your vital documents safe, create an emergency kit, put together disaster evacuation and communications plans, and develop recovery  procedures, so your life is disrupted as little as possible in the face of disaster.

These are just some of the specialized services that professional organizers can provide, so if you feel overwhelmed by an organizing dilemma, you don’t have to tackle it alone.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO’s Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Smooth Transition from Summer to School

>Many children, especially in the lower grades, find it hard to make the switch from the lazy days of summer (going to the beach, playing soccer, visiting amusement parks) to the school year (early mornings, routines, homework). Come to think of it, it’s not easy for parents, either. But there are ways to smooth the transition:

1. Read, read, read: Make reading an integral part of your summer. Libraries often have incentive programs for the summer months; take advantage of them. Read to your child, have 29them read to you, and read together. Read menus, books, comics, read everything and anything.
2. Buy supplies: If you have your child’s class list of supplies, keep an eye out for bargains and stock up. Some schools get parents to pay a flat rate and the teachers buy the supplies in bulk and to their own specifications. It’s a great time-saver for parents, and the teachers know each child will have the exact supplies he or she needs.
3. Take inventory: Go through your child’s closet and donate clothes that no longer fit. Throw out any that are beyond repair. Make a list of what items are needed (indoor sneakers, outdoor sneakers, backpack, etc.) and go shopping. Don’t forget second-hand stores.
4. Call the school: A day or two before school starts, call the school and find out what class your child is in and if there’s anything you or your child needs to know before Day 1.
5. Know the route: How is your child getting to school: walking, by bus, by car, from the sitter’s? Is there a change from last year? Try out the route with your child to see how long it takes. A route that takes you five minutes to walk, for instance, could take a child up to 10 minutes.
6. Ease back into routine: A few weeks before the first day, start regulating bedtimes and rising times to be closer to the school-year routine. How long does it take everyone to get ready in the morning?
7. Build excitement: Most children are excited about the return to school, at least for a week or two after it starts. Even if you’re dreading the return to hectic mornings and evenings supervising homework, control your negativity, which can be contagious. Plan some fun outings during the first few weekends, and sign your child up for some favorite extra-curricular activities.
8. Visit the school: A nice tradition is going with your child on the first day back, not just for Grade Primary. It will ease some jitters and make your child feel valued.
Helping your child transition from summer mode to school mode will make them feel prepared to take on the school year and give them a smooth start. A smooth start can give a child the confidence boost he needs to do well all year.

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
© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553

Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

The Roadmap for a Healthy Business Trip

>A good business trip takes careful planning. So does maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight. If you travel frequently in your line of work, or for your business, you know how difficult it can be to keep up good habits and how easy it is to slip into bad ones. The good news is that, with a little added preparation and smart choices, you can considerably reduce that risk. Here’s how:

Set realistic goals – Goals will help you stay focused while you are away, but be realistic. For example, instead of losing weight, why not set maintaining your current weight as your goal?

Be prepared – It’s easier to maintain your health and weight with a little preparation. For example, call ahead to the hotel where you are staying and see if they have a fitness centre. Or, for frequent stays, consider a pass to a local facility. And be sure to take along your workout gear.

Scan the menu – Taking time to review your choices will help you make healthy ones.

Consider avoiding foods with descriptions such as ‘fried,’ ‘crispy,’ or ‘battered.’ They are likely high in fat. Instead, look for high-fiber meals, like a baked potato or salad.

For baked potatoes and salads, avoid high-calorie dressings and sour cream, or extras such as meat, cheese, egg and croutons. Or, ask to have dressings and toppings on the side so you can control your portions.

Ordering a small or kid-size portion. This is a great way to reduce the amount of calories, sodium and fat you consume.

Eat on schedule – Skipping meals or not eating for long periods increases your hunger and the risk that you will overeat when you finally make time for food.

Curb the urge to splurge – Keep snacks like graham crackers and fruit on hand in your car, bag or briefcase. This will help keep your appetite in check when standing at the buffet table or ordering a meal.

Forego fast food where possible – If fast-food restaurants are your only option, remember that many now have health-smart choices. Be sure to ask for the nutritional information and check the calorie, fat and fiber counts before ordering. Often, these choices aren’t healthier than what is on the main menu. Avoid the value meals; the calorie content is generally equal to two meals.

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

Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577
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.

Professional Organizers in Canada Guest Post – School’s Almost Out for the Summer!

**Content produced and provided by Professional Organizers in Canada**

Keep Your Cool during the Summer Sizzle

Are your kids talking about the summer yet? Are they getting excited?  Chances are they don’t know how much more work it is for parents during the summer than it is during the rest of the year. To keep the kids busy with little effort, consider putting advance planning in place so that the rest of the summer can be more spontaneously enjoyed. Here are some ideas you can use to improve the summer months:

Create an activity list or an “I’m Bored Jar” 

Get a large jar for the whole family to add ideas when one strikes. Have all family members write their ideas on notes and put them in the jar. Need some inspiration for summer activities? Organize a picnic dinner, swimming at a local pool, or camping in the backyard. If your kids are acting like wild animals, you might even plan a visit to the zoo.

Install a wall calendar and put the activity ideas on it. 

Use some sticky notes and a marker and start by indicating the important dates, such as the first day of school or camp, or time that will be spent away on a vacation. Colour code the sticky notes by category which could make the board look more kid-friendly. Potential categories can include theme days, playdates, planned outings, and activities done at home.

Stick to a normal routine as much as possible.

To make life easier for yourself, make sure you write out sticky notes for your own well-being and apply them to the wall calendar. Write down your date nights, dinner menu plans and babysitter arrangements.

Pre-sort supplies for Grab and Go Bags

Pre-pack backpacks before an activity day. This will help you avoid the hour of preparation time before being able to leave the house. Some ideas for Grab and Go Bags are:

  • Theme park bags
  • Walking/hiking bags
  • Playdate bags, picnic bags
  • Library bags
  • Pool days

If you’re going to the pool, have water excursion supplies pre-packed in a tote bag. Pack swimsuits and towels, as well as sun safety essentials including sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag for wet bathing suits!

  • Road trip essentials

Be sure to pack items that will keep you and your family comfortable and entertained while away from home. Include essentials such as diapers, water bottles, snacks, and sunscreen. To avoid the inevitable cries of “Are we there yet?” don’t forget books, colouring books or clipboards with blank paper, and zippered pouches of crayons for each child along with the electronic device preloaded with learning games and movies.

There is nothing wrong with kids getting bored from time to time, as some ingenious and unique activities can result from that.  Keep art supplies within reach in the craft cabinet, a few outdoor toys in the backyard, and fruit and sugar-free drinks in the fridge.

Spring Into Garage Cleaning – POC Guest Post

I love sharing guest posts from the Professional Organizers of Canada! Great content from my colleagues across the country. Here’s an article full of timely tips on organizing your garage.

‘Trouble finding the gardening tools?

The snow is gone, the air is mild, the buds are starting to appear – all signs of spring being here! Aren’t you excited?  Or maybe you will have a tough time getting into your garage to find your gardening tools and patio furniture?

During the cold Canadian winters, who wants to work in an unheated garage?  As a result, the garage becomes a dumping zone which has to be dealt with in the warmer months.

Think twice about what’s being stored there
A garage may not be an ideal location for certain types of storage. They often have solid concrete floors and despite the age of the garage, concrete can absorb and hold moisture and create a damp environment. Moisture eventually finds its way into your possessions and can create mould and rust.

Containerize properly
When storing, items should be containerized so there’s no chance of anything falling on to you, your possessions or your car. (if a car is indeed occupying the garage). It is also important to protect your belongings from pests and moisture as these can be severely damaging. Be mindful of important keepsakes or antiques and wrap them securely.

Sporting goods
Store them within easy reach and systematically according to seasons for easy and safe retrieval. Get as much as possible off the floor. Utilize the wall hanging panels and hooks. (pictured below)

Be realistic about the time involved to get it organized
Depending on the volume of clutter, you may need more than one day to get organized. Many garages require a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours  depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items. Remember, it’s not just tidying up; it’s creating a system of organization so that you will never have to do it again.

Don’t forget to label the bins and locations.
Once everything is up and out of your way, leave your garage in a clean, tidy and labelled manner. Consider labelling the locations of things as well, so that all family members know where to put things back.

Once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your garage, it’ll be easy to maintain for the seasons that follow.

Organizing Your Family Photos – POC Guest Post

Preserving, organizing, and storing your paper family photos in order to enjoy them for a long time is time-consuming but highly valued work.

Gone are the days when your family might have captured a few dozen pictures a year. Nowadays, there may be huge containers and bins of photos hiding in your basement and attic begging to be organized and cherished. It makes a great project for those snowy or rainy days. Enjoy that time as you take a walk down memory lane.

To get started, separate the various mediums: slides, home movies, photo albums and loose pictures. Keep in mind you are trying to get all those boxes reduced to one perfectly edited album that will look elegant on a coffee table, or a few well-organized photo boxes in which you can find things with ease.

Decide whether to sort the photos by chronological order or by theme.

  • If chronological, arrange the photos in a logical timeline; it makes identifying the people in your photos and selecting the best examples much easier.
  • If thematic, sort them according to categories such as trips, birthdays, life passage events, happenings, etc.Scrapbooks can be made that tell the story of a person’s life.

 

Get some help from family members to identify those mystery individuals in old snapshots.
Eliminate poor quality shots, duplicates, and any pictures where you don’t know any of the people. Also toss most of the scenery shots. Be ruthless! If it doesn’t immediately bring back a memory, let it go.

Use archival pencils or pens to write the date and the subject on the back of photos with a light hand. Be careful as you want to preserve the data for generations to come, not damage the image.

Once photos are reduced in number, you can determine how you prefer to access them:

  • Photo albums
  • Photo boxes
  • Web-based photo books such as Shutterfly, Picaboo, Canada Photobooks or directly through Apple’s iPhoto App.

For safekeeping of your photos, find a photo scanning company to digitize them. They can be stored in the cloud, or put onto a device for you to keep.

Take the time to respectfully and carefully preserve your family’s photos and memorabilia. Memories can be the most valuable things in a person’s life. Make your photo keepsakes a treasure for the future!

 
Content credit:
Lisa McDonald, Nova Scotia Member

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