Category Archives: Office

Mindful Behaviour vs Resolutions – From Professional Organizers of Canada

It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions is depressing.

The New Year is often seen as a catalyst for wanting to make new changes in behaviour and lifestyle. Although most people feel they want to start positively – a fresh start can begin at any time of the year.  Change the term of resolutions to mindful behaviours.

Recognize a lifestyle change is important and working towards it happens one step at a time. Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year – instead of a a singular overwhelming change – is usually more successful. Perhaps your frustrations are with:

  • Clothes piled up on the floor or a chair
  • Paper scattered all over the dining table
  • Stacks of unread magazines
  • Overflowing counters

Choose a habit or area that bothers you the mostThen:

  1. Assign a time in your calendar to deal with it.
  2. Make the dreaded task as pleasant as possible.
  • Put on some enjoyable music
  • Get a favourite beverage
  • Bring in a friend to keep you motivated
  1. Resolve to finish it.
  2. Reward yourself.
  3. If you’re pleased, schedule another task

Be Realistic and Reasonable

By making your expectations realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep your goals throughout the year, incorporating healthy behaviour into your everyday life.

Replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

Perfection is unattainable. Don’t give up completely because you still have a pile of papers, the closet is still full or the decorations are still scattered because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes.

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Find Fiscal Success with Financial Organization

Find Fiscal Success with Financial Organization

The holidays are over and a new year has started. Traditionally a time for reflection and goal setting, it’s also a time to take control of your personal and business finances.  On the home front the holiday bills will be coming fast and furious. And at the office it’s a good time take the chill out of that first quarter by creating habits to warm the hearts of bosses and accountants alike.

The experts at Organize Anything have put together a great list of 10 tips to help you on your way to an organized and productive 2015. Have questions or got stuck? You can always contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

1. Set up a receipts system. Great for tracking household and business expenses. It’s a perfect way to keep your receipts all in one place so you can easily reconcile at end of month, and at tax time It can be as simple as 12 marked envelopes – 1 for each month. This will help you truly grasp your monthly spending.

2. Gift cards- don’t tuck away in the drawer and forget about them. No longer allowed to expire in Canada, gift cards are an ideal way to tide you over in the slower quarter of the fiscal year. From groceries to clothes to office supplies, don’t discount the usefulness of a great gift card.

3. Update your monthly budget. Take a hard look at last quarter’s spending and adjust your monthly spending. This is the perfect time to set new financial goals for your business and home as well.

4. Get ‘appy’. There’s so many neat productivity and finance driven apps out there for Androids and Apple products. Think about the things you could be doing on the fly if you had the tech, and search out apps that will help. We love Freshbooks for on-the-go invoicing!

5. Get a heads start on, your income taxes. Why wait?? Get the jump on your taxes in the slower months of January and February. This way you avoid the panic of the last minute crunch. And if you’re getting money back, the sooner the better!

6. Business plan. Do you have a strategic plan for your business? Do you know where you’d like to be in five years? 10 years? Take this time of renewed productivity and focus to lay out some goals for the next five years. Don’t forget to include steps to achieve these goals and markers on how you’ll you know when you’ve been successful. You can do this for your home and family as well – make goals as a group and find ways to achieve them.

7. Return it. Did you get “stuff” for Christmas? Return it if you don’t like it – there’s no sense in keeping a gift that’s just going to take up space in your home and clutter your life. Use the money you get from the return to “pay it forward” – either donate it to a charity of your choice, or tuck it away in the rainy day fund.

8. Take inventory. Stop buying unnecessary office supplies or things for your home. Do a quick inventory of what you actually have in the office and keep an inventory sheet so you know what you’re about to run out. This cuts down on unnecessary spending and keeps your storage space tidy and easy to manage.

9. Keep your bank account healthy with quick returns of medical receipts. Does your employer provide health care? Review your policy and figure out what treatments are included. Be sure to keep your direct billing receipts and don’t forget to claim your expenses on your income tax! That monthly massage isn’t just relaxing, it can help on your tax return as well.

10. Download Quicken (or some other money management program). Quicken will make your financial life a million times easier to manage. It costs around $50, but its well worth the investment. From Quicken you can pay bills, download transactions from banks and credit card accounts, plan, budget and see what you are spending and what your overall financial picture looks like.

If you haven’t been doing these things regularly, don’t worry about it – NOW is the perfect time to start. Lean into new challenges this year and adopt routines that make sense to you. By taking the time to identify areas of your life that are not as productive as they could be, you will be able to find solutions.

Start the New Year Right

It’s a new year, and a time when people like to start fresh and sample some new approaches to areas in your life you would like to improve. You have seen the development of the organizing and redesign shows take over our television stations. It’s been called the latest trend, the new dieting, but finding improved ways to organize your life is here to stay. Why? There’s just so much return on investment.

One thing we often forget when making changes and it’s especially true this time of year is the importance of starting slow and making small goals:

1. Your desk is a workplace- remove other non- work related items and place them clean deskelsewhere. Hang photos on the wall and place awards, personal objects and knickknacks on a shelf or credenza.

2. Keep the things you use the most close by and within reach, and items that you require only occasionally further away. This includes files, supplies and personal items.

3. Get rid of the extras- how many of one item do you really need-157 pens, 4 coffee mugs- give away, throw away or return to the stationary/supply area.

Speaking of extras, we usually have between 5-10 extra pounds that we have put on over the holidays. Looking for healthy time saving ways to get back on track? Here’s a few tips:

1. Plan your meals and grocery list ahead of time. You can save time and money. Eating healthier during your day will keep your energy up and your waistline down.

produce isle2. Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery stores. This is where we find our core foods, like fruits and vegetables. It’s a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables. Think of these as a healthy snacking alternative. Try a fruit you’ve never had before.

3. Cut back on your portion sizes- especially when eating out. Order half portions or ask for a to-go container for the remainder of your meal. This also gives you another meal you don’t have to prepare.

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Have a Hassle Free Holiday

It’s the holiday season.  A time for buying gifts, throwing parties and decorating your home.  All that work can leave little time for enjoying what should be the most wonderful time of the year.  So here are some quick tips to help make your holiday season merry and bright.

  • Make a list of all the people you plan to shop for with gift ideas that match their tastes. Consider gift certificates, which are easy to wrap and create less clutter.  Be sure to set a gift budget for everyone on your list.
  • Check weekly flyers for sales to plan your trip to the mall. The best times to shop are weekday mornings when there are fewer people shopping.  Some stores have personal shoppers who can assist you in finding the right gift.  And many stores have websites that allow you to save time by shopping from home online.
  • Set yourself a deadline to complete your gift buying so you have more time to enjoy the holiday season.
  • Planning a successful holiday party is much like planning any party. Start by selecting a date, preferably one that doesn’t conflict with other holiday gatherings.  Once done, determine where you want to host your party – at home, the office or at a favourite spot – and make reservations if necessary.  Now you’re ready to draw up your guest list!
  • Make a plan. Before you drag out boxes of lights and tinsel, visualize how you want your home to look. A good plan covers everything from your theme – such as An Old-fashioned Christmas – and colour scheme to the decorations you want to use and where you’ll place them.
  • Toss it. Sift through your holiday decorations and donate or purge any outdated or unwanted items. Be sure to test your lights to make sure they work properly. Replace all burnt-out bulbs and frayed cords.  If you need to buy new outdoor lights, consider strings with built-in timers.  They’ll save you time and energy costs.
  • Make a party of it! Invite family and friends to help you decorate, with the promise of eggnog and other holiday treats.  You could even purchase some craft supplies and have your friends over to create some memorable tree decorations. (And a few holiday season memories!)

Follow these simple ideas and enjoy the holidays the ways you were meant to – relaxing with friends and family.

 

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.

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)!

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.

Make the Most of Your Media Interview

Red faces, stuttering, the shakes. Everyone gets nervous before they have to go on camera or do an interview with the press, whether they have done it a thousand times before or never at all. Being interviewed doesn’t just mean answering a reporter’s questions; it is an opportunity for you to get your message out there. Being prepared for an interview will make you less nervous and more confident, and with confidence comes increased credibility. Follow these tips to seem like an interview pro.

  1. Practice: If possible, ask the interviewer for the questions ahead of time so that you can prepare answers. Get a friend or a colleague to ask you these questions- and any other questions you feel the reporter may ask. This allows you to get over any rough patches or places you may stumble in your answers.
  2. Be honest: If you don’t believe in what you are saying, why should you expect others to? “I don’t know” is an Video camera viewfinderacceptable answer. Be sure to tell the reporter the steps that you are taking to get the answer. Don’t be afraid to ask if what you are saying is clear.
  3. Don’t assume: Don’t assume that the reporter knows what you are talking about and avoid jargon. Sometimes terms we use every day at work are lost on the general public. This can lead to misinterpreting and things being taken out of context.
  4. Get your message out there: The interview is about you. Make sure that your messages are clear, quotable and of interest to the reporter. Just because something is important to you, doesn’t mean that the reporter – or public – will care.
  5. So you are going to be on camera: Check your appearance right before you go on. Wear solid colours, but not black or white because you will look like you are disappearing – a navy suit is always a good option. While being interviewed, relax and smile – people can tell if you are uptight and nervous. Don’t rock back and forth or shift the weight of your legs.
  6. Interviews by phone: Use a landline; cell phones are more likely to cut out. Eliminate all distractions – turn off the TV and Computer and put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door. Keep your notes nearby and organized so that you aren’t shuffling for answers. If on the radio, remember to smile – people can hear it in your voice!

Remember, this is your interview. You may not be able to control the questions, but you can control how they are answered. Being prepared can make interviews seem a lot less daunting.

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.

Working with Your Memory to Find a Lost Item – Eileen Pease

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This blog entry comes courtesy of Eileen Pease of Dynamic Learning. Eileen is a leader in maximizing your memory and brain function to increase your productivity at work and at home. If you’re interested in learning more or arranging a training session for your organization, please visit her website.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a misplaced item. The pressure to find it increases exponentially when it is something really important – like a passport.

Stop searching, sit down and think. There is a 99.9999% probability that the item is exactly where you left it. Here are some brain-friendly steps to help you find it.

  1. Stop imagining the awful things that will happen if you don’t find it. That distracts your mind away from the work you need to do with your memory to find it. Imagining awful consequences will stress your brain, decreasing your memory.
  2. Remind yourself in a friendly, optimistic way that you will find it soon because you know there is a logical reason why you haven’t found it yet. When you do find it, you will be relieved and amused.
  3. Take three deep, relaxing breaths and sit or stand exactly where you were the last time you had the item for sure.
  4. Keep your focus on that moment, look around slowly, and think about the next steps you took. Don’t let your mind run off into saying things like, “But I already looked there.” You have not found it yet because you have been distracting yourself with other thoughts and commands. Calm your mind and focus on where you were and what you were doing the last time you had it for sure.
  5. Remind yourself that this is the last place you were when you are certain you had it. Review the evidence. For example, “I had my passport in my hand while I was booking my flight.”
  6. Identify the one most probable place you would have put the item. Look for it there. If you don’t find it, step back and look to see if it could have fallen somewhere, slipped behind or under something, or been covered up somehow.
  7. If you still can’t find it, sit down again to think. Remind yourself it is exactly where you left it. What were you thinking about at the time? Was there anybody else involved? Were you listening to your radio or TV? Did somebody phone you or drop in just at that time? Did you go out to your car? Were you cleaning up in a hurry shortly afterward? It is often helpful to actually re-live and act out the sequence of what you remember happened next. Your memory knows what happened next, it just needs you to trigger the reminder.
  8. Continue to work calmly with your memory. Remind yourself you are going to find it and it is better to keep concentrating on it now, than to give up and search for it later. Acknowledge that physical items do not vanish into thin air and rarely get stolen or deliberately hidden by somebody else. Guard against *fantastic* solutions and reassure yourself there is a logical reason why you have not found it so far. When you do find it, there will be a perfectly logical reason for it to be there.
  9. If necessary, revisit in your memory the last moment when you are certain you had it in your hands. Are you making any unchecked assumptions about where you were or what you were doing? Look in your planning calendar, talk to anyone who was around at the time, and re-create that moment. See yourself holding the item and mentally follow the scene that unfolds.
  10. Sometimes the search becomes too irritating. Then it is better to stop and turn your attention to something completely different. Sleep on it. Next morning, rested and with a fresh perspective, start again at step number two.

Once you find the item, note the logic of where it was and recognize the assumptions you were making that stopped you from finding it sooner. I would love to know your lost and found story; please email me atepease@eileenpease.com or phone me at 902-483-5700. If you have faithfully tried every step above with no success, phone me and I will help you get your memory to tell you where your lost item is.

 

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