To maximize productivity for the following day, it is important to start off on the right track. Preparing yourself for your day’s events begins with a good night’s sleep. If you are tired of tossing and turning, follow these 8 tips to enjoy an uninterrupted night of shut eye.
1) Organizing yourself the night before can help to alleviate stress allowing you to benefit from a more restful sleep. Gather all materials that you will need for the next day. Prepare your lunch and breakfast to save time in your morning routine, finish your assignments the night before and have your bag packed and ready to go. When you are prepared, your mind can rest and stop racing about what needs to get done in the morning. Creating a routine of things you do before bed, as well as, what time you go to sleep and wake up at will help your body gear towards a healthy sleeping pattern.
2) Wash your bedding and sleepwear regularly. Use all natural products when doing your laundry. A good mattress and pillow can help with back and neck problems and other health issues. Poor sleeping patterns can have a negative effect on the immune system, therefore increasing injuries and illness. Just as you must change your running sneakers to guarantee proper support, you must change your mattress every eight to 10 years. Spend a little extra to buy a top quality mattress. After all, over a third of your time is spent in bed, so it should be comfortable and inviting.
3) Try not to exercise right before you go to bed. Instead, wake up half an hour earlier and begin your exercise routine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Exercise no later than early afternoon to give your body time to cool down fully. Another reason to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day is because people who exercise have an easier time falling asleep than non-exercisers do.
4) It is important to try to cut back on all caffeine products, but especially be mindful of your consumption before bedtime. Keep track of how much chocolate, tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol and coffee you drink. Instead, have a glass of water or juice. These healthier alternatives will not speed up your heart rate and keep you awake as caffeine products can. Avoid spicy foods and try not to eat at least three hours before you hit the sheets. If you are hungry, have a glass of milk. The serotonin will calm brain chemicals. The higher the level of serotonin, the more relaxed you will be and able to fall asleep easier.
5) Give yourself enough time to get a pleasant and relaxing sleep. Your body and brain need to replenish. We often underestimate how much sleep our bodies really need. We think we can function on as little sleep as possible, but our bodies need an average of eight hours per night. Doctors recommend falling asleep before 11pm. Go to bed earlier than you normally would. This can also help you to avoid constantly checking the clock and worrying about getting up. Also, keep the same sleep routine even on the weekends. Have a 20 minute nap later in the day if you are tired. Don’t overexert yourself and think you can catch up on your sleep on Sunday morning.
6) It takes some time to gear down from a mentally and physically exhausting day. Try to watch something light hearted on television before you go to bed, listen to soft music or read a calming book. Save repetitive and soothing chores for the end of the day, such as ironing or folding laundry. Pay bills and do heavy cleaning at least 2 hours before bed. Our minds continue to think about whatever we were doing before we fell asleep, so it is a good idea to create a restful mood for your mind and body. Turn off phones to avoid late-night disturbances and stop using your computer several hours before bedtime. Keep a notebook by your bed and record worries and task for the next day. This will help you clear your mind. After 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, get up and go into another room. The change of scenery will help you to get in the mood for sleep when you return to your bed.
7) Create a conducive and healthy sleep environment. Too much light may be keeping you awake. Dim the lights an hour before bedtime to prepare your mind. Turn your alarm clock away from you it has a backlight or digital display. Make sure your blinds block enough sunlight or wear an eye mask and earplugs. Providing full darkness for your eyes will aid you in falling asleep faster. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature. You need lots of clean air space and a toxin-free room. Remove any candles or scented products that may be interfering with your sleep, and throw away piles of papers or old magazines in your room. Declutter any extra dust collectors that promote unhealthy air quality. Wash bedding and drapes in hot water to kill dust mites. Remember to replace your pillow every two years or at least wash it hot water periodically. Dust covers can be purchase to trap dust mites away in your mattress. To completely seal it off use duct tape over the zipper closure. Have you carpets cleaned periodically.
8) Try deep breathing while counting sheep. Try counting your breaths. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose.
The effects of sleep deprivation on our everyday performance can keep us from living up to our potential. Even a modest half hour lost per night can affect the way the body functions during the day. By following these suggestions, you will see an improvement in your sleep patterns and wake up feeling refreshed.
Do you have a launch pad? You may not be Cape Canaveral but your home and office should not be without one.
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.
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.
Most of us do at least a few things to make our home more presentable when guests come to visit. Showing your home for sale is very similar. Think of preparing your home as if you were having not one but hopefully several special guests that will be seeing every aspect of your home. The following are some tips to help you properly prepare for your house buying guests.
Clean. Nothing smells better than clean, unadulterated clean. Open a window to let fresh air in before potential house buyers arrive. Be careful with scented candles and fresheners that may cause allergic reactions in a larger and larger percentage of our population and therefore some of your guests. No one will want to buy a home that they are allergic to.
Create easy access at entrances and make sure there is lots of room for coats and footwear. Make it is easy for a group of people to enter your home at once and that there is lots of space for them to store their outerwear while they visit. Feeling crammed and uncomfortable to start is not a good first impression.
Tidy and reduce clutter. Put away personal belongings. Remember that these special guests will be looking at every inch of your house. There is no just hiding things in a closet or room and closing the door here! Make your house look great and moving day easier by donating, selling, or trashing unused and useless items in your home.
Let guests know where things are. Potential buyers need to know. Imagine these were overnight guests. Show them where light switches, thermostats, and amenities are and how to operate household features. It needs to be obvious what a room is used for and where they can find or put things.
Have the laundry done and put out fresh linens. Make sure the linen closet contents are stacked neatly and there are fresh linens on beds and in bathrooms. Crumpled up towels and dirty socks on the floor will make guests feel unwelcome.
Limit your pets’ presence. You love your pets, but not everyone feels the same way. Put your pet out in the yard, in their kennel or with friends while visitors are seeing your home. Make sure they don’t leave behind any “presents”. No guest is pleased with souvenir dog or cat fur on their clothes.
Treat your potential buyers like special guests and they will want to stay in your home longer, not just as a guest, but as the new owner.
Are you ready to downsize? Know someone who is? A well organized move can make the difference between chaos or a peaceful transition.
There are ways to plan for a stress-free move. Follow our Downsizing Checklist to start on the right path:
1. Start the discussion early: For some, the decision to move may not be a welcome idea. Plant the seed early to start discussing the benefits of downsizing.
2. Determine what isn’t moving:Next is the time to do some space planning and decide what you don’t want to move. Decisions can be made to sort into the following categories:
- Pass to family/friends
3. Contact a Realtor: Ask for referrals, find someone you enjoy working with!
4. Declutter and stage: Time to get the house ready for sale. Consider decluttering and staging if your home needs an update.
5. Book moving company:Make plans for truck rental, moving assistance, or hire a moving company.
6. Packing:Purchase packing supplies, enlist the help of family and friends, or hire a Professional Organizer to get the job done quickly.
7. Update address:Be sure to notify utility companies, services and personal contacts.
8. Moving day:Assign one person to be in charge of all questions of what is going where.
9. Unpacking: Make the transition as smooth as possible by unpacking right away.
If you are stuck or require assistance anywhere along the way, call a Professional Organizer – we are here to help!
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.
Have you set and broken many of your New Years Resolutions already? The law of attraction says we will draw those things towards us that we spend time thinking about.
Attract more of the positive and create brighter possibilities:
Don’t get caught up in the New Year hype.
Instead of focusing on making a resolution, focus on what you have accomplished last year and how you can take those positive events and use them towards making this year the best yet.
Look back on how you made your special memories and how you can create more to last a lifetime.
Picture those activities you shared with loved ones.
Think about what you are most proud of in your career.
Live your life with meaningful intent.
Take charge of your own well-being, embrace it and enjoy everything that the New Year has to offer you.
Resolve to evolve into the person you want to be by attracting what you want.
One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:
1. Don’t keep it to yourself. “I don’t want my friends to know I am trying to quit my bad habit.” Let others know! This gives you leverage and allows others to encourage you along your journey.
2. Don’t leave it in your head. “I don’t need to write it down, I know what I want to do.” Research has shown that those who write down their goals and track them have an increased chance of success.
3. Don’t be vague. “I’m going to lose weight”. How much? At what rate? By when? Make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and time bound.
4. Don’t be inflexible. “I’m not going to ever do that again” Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch. Sometimes you need to wean yourself off of a bad habit. Sometimes you will backslide or slip up. It’s part of life. Get used to it and get used to being more successful for the long haul by recognizing that people try and try again at their goals before they reach them. Some reports suggest an average of 14 times. Persistence not perfectionism pays.
5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh. “I’m not going to eat any sweets.” “I will exercise 2 hours everyday.” It is not always realistic to deny yourself. Life is meant to be celebrated. Think moderation and think about small incremental steps that will advance you toward your goal. It is better to be doing a smaller action for the long term than a larger goal that doesn’t have a chance of lasting a week.
6. Don’t take on too much at once. “I’m going to quit smoking, join a gym, meditate 10 minutes every day, lose 20 lbs, and spend more time with my kids.” This is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus on a couple of things and the activities that will take you towards your goals.
7. Don’t take the first step TODAY. “I’ll start next week…” There always seems to be a better time than right now. You may think you need to wait until after a special date or occasion, or once the holidays are over or start on a Monday…the list goes on. The truth is now is always a good time. Start by visualizing where you want to be and eliminating negative self-talk that will keep you from reaching your goals.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
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:
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.
2. 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.