Productivity is all about being efficient and accomplishing more in less time. Schedule your day to be the most efficient you can be by having a plan for every day.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your day whether you work in your home, run a business, or work for a large company.
- Difficult Tasks
Schedule your most difficult, undesirable tasks for the time of day when you are most focused. For many, this time is first thing in the morning. And doesn’t if feel good to get it out of the way?
Prepare, review and stick to a meeting agenda to ensure everyone stays on topic. Issues that may come up during a meeting can wait to be discussed at a later time with only the people involved. Set up video conferencing equipment ahead of the meeting so you can tackle the agenda on time and save everyone valuable minutes with each meeting.
Schedule a couple times in your day where you devote time to checking and responding to emails, voicemails and messages. Having a set time to do this will help you avoid being interrupted throughout the day, and keep you focused on the project you intend to accomplish. Also, use the phone to communicate more often versus the never ending back and forth of email and other messaging communications.
Schedule blocks of breaks throughout your day to keep your mind fresh.
- Me Time
Schedule me time every day. Taking time first thing in the morning to focus on your health and faith will get your day off to a good start.
Use a checklist for daily repetitive tasks. This will keep you focused and help minimize errors in the tasks you do everyday. Also, create a weekly checklist to help keep your week on task, so you can accomplish your goals. Create your weekly checklist at the end of the previous work week so your week is off to a strong, focused start.
- Work Space
Keep your work space neat and organized to ensure focus. Keep only the current project on your desk. If it makes sense, plan certain tasks to be completed offsite or at home. Offsite work allows for focus without the office interruptions and can save commute time.
If scheduling and organizing are challenging, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
Spring cleaning for some is a chore for others a joy. However, the result of a thoroughly cleaned home brings lightness and freedom to everyone.
Spring cleaning items:
- Strip the beds down to the mattress and wash all linens.
- Clean the frames and headboards of beds.
- Moved and empty furniture and wash baseboards.
- Clean ceiling fans.
- Empty china cabinets and give them a good cleaning.
- Empty every inch of each closet and inventory, value assess, wash and clean surfaces, and organize clothes in a useful and efficient way.
Effectively spring cleaning means no corner is left untouched by brooms, dusters, scrub brushes, rags and other cleaning weapons.
The task of spring cleaning is big. But, if you break it down into daily tasks, your home can be fresh, clean and organized before the kids get out of school. Although I’m personally not a cleaning expert, I do love a clean house. For some great cleaning resources check out cleanmama.net, and their free printable’s like their spring cleaning checklist.
You will feel a change of energy in your home and in your self after a day of thorough de-cluttering and cleaning. Your home will feel lighter, brighter and more cheerful.
The best part of de-cluttering and organizing for me is hearing my clients describe similar feelings of lightness and freedom after a session together. Whether organizing a home or office, de-cluttering can be a cathartic passing of the old and the start of a whole new season in life.
What are your plans this spring?
Is a cluttered room or desk stopping you from enjoying your home or office the way you’d like to enjoy it? Have your dust bunnies proliferated beyond a reasonable limit? Do you find spring-cleaning to be a daunting task of Olympian magnitude? Has it never even occurred to you that a good spring-cleaning would be appropriate at the office?
If organizing and cleaning is overwhelming, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
Most of you are busy professionals juggling the demands of your career and your family. Getting it all done while taking time for yourself is taxing. Consider these seven tips to help you streamline your schedule and save time.
- Stay organized. Use a calendar to write down all your work and family engagements, addresses and phone numbers. Keeping all the information in one place can keep you from wasting time looking for it later.
- Identify time wasters. Keep track of the ways you waste time for one week. Do you spend 10 minutes finding your keys? If so, make a key hook by your door-and use it. Schedule time to check social media and check email each day. Start to plan meals to avoid daily stops at the store.
- Make the most of your trips. Knock a few items off your list on the way to work or at lunch, freeing up some night and weekend time.
- Finish what you start. When you work on a project from start to finish, it’s one less item on the to-do list. Having many unfinished projects at home and work is stressful and overwhelming.
- Readjust priorities. Since you can’t really do it all, re-evaluate which activities really need your time and focus. Think about what has the most value to you, your career and your family, and eliminate the rest.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Fresh fruits and vegetables, Kind bars and plenty of water will keep you fueled throughout your busy day. Identify hunger and thirst right away and have snacks available. This will prevent quick stops at drive through coffee shops and fast food restaurants.
- Outsource where it makes sense. Look at the value of your time. It may make sense to outsource a couple tasks to help you focus your time on more important items. Consider getting help with cleaning, laundry, yard maintenance and meal preparation. Your family may be the first option for help in these areas.
Do you have a ton to do and have no idea where to start? Would you like to know with each step you take you’re heading in the right direction? Would you like to narrow your ‘to do’ list down to a few key items and let go of the rest? Would you like to work smarter, not harder?
Answer these six questions to find your focus, do what you want to do and feel great about your life while you’re doing it.
1. What do I care about most? Where is my heart leading me?
Asking this question will give your heart a space to speak and be heard. When we get wrapped up in all the ‘stuff’ we have to do we often overlook what our heart wants.
2. What do I really want to do? Is this truly what I want?
Doing what you really want is a process of identifying and letting go of the things that you don’t want and replacing them with things that you do want. Overtime you’ll rebalance your life to include more of what you want to do.
3. How will I feel while I’m doing what I’m doing? Will this bring me joy?
If what you’re doing doesn’t give you pleasure while you’re doing it, you may be on the wrong track. ‘Doing’ takes up much more time than the actual result. We reach each goal only once and then it’s over. The journey to our goals is what fills our life with experiences. If you’re not feeling good during the ‘doing’, it may not be worth it. Give yourself permission to do things that feel good and you’ll live an inspired life.
4. What purpose will this serve?
If the answer isn’t clear you may be letting life lead you.
This question helps you make better choices for your life. Basing your actions on a clear purpose puts you in the driver’s seat which means you are leading your life instead of letting it lead you.
5. What is the priority of each item on my list?
We make choices about what we’re going to do all day long, but how often do we make choices after asking ourselves the first four questions above? Answering the above questions first, will guide you to living a more fulfilling life.
6. How am I going to do it?
After narrowing your focus create a mini action plan for each item. Write down the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. Focus on one or two things at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Give yourself a chance to worker smarter and you will get more done.
Before jumping into your ‘to do’ list, take some time to reflect upon these questions. By doing so you’ll put yourself on a life and/or business path that reflects more of what you really want. Determine your FOCUS first and you’ll experience more fulfillment.
Do you walk in the house after a long day at work and just sigh at your cluttered house? Have you planned to organize one morning but just did not know where to start or were just not in the mood?
Are you caught in a vicious cycle: as soon as you organize one room another one has turned to chaos? Maybe you just need to prioritize, find motivation, and ask for help. Easier said than done?
Here is how to get started:
As with most goals in life, you want to strive for progress and improvement, not perfection. Most of us do not have time to achieve perfection in everything we do and still live a happy, fulfilling life. When you set goals, make them achievable, attainable. When you make that progress, create a visual way to track it or remind yourself of all you have accomplished. Since we will never have more than 24 hours in a day, we may have to say “no” to some activities and tasks.
As you list each goal, task, or activity, ask yourself if it is necessary, if it supports your ultimate goals, or if any other activity or person will be negatively affected if it does not happen. You may see your list shrink before your very eyes. If you are not sure how to narrow your list, search the internet, ask a friend, or consult a professional organizer (we help with both the tangible and intangible).
Do you start the day with the best of intentions to declutter the bathroom only to lose your drive because it is “just not worth it?” What is worth it to you? What do you value? Why? These questions may not seem to have much to do with organizing, but they can be the key to your motivation. How much time do you spend on activities that relate to your values? Most of us would probably answer “not enough.” Then why would you ever spend time on an activity not related to your values, such as organizing?
The answer: organizing allows you to focus more on your values. Organizing means less time searching for the other shoe, fewer arguments over who last used the scissors and did not put them back, less time cleaning around the clutter. With less time wasted, you have more time to be with family, exercise, eat healthy, and pursue those life goals that really matter. The next time you wonder why you would ever make time to organize, remember that organizing can be a means to an end. If you find a task that seems pointless, ask yourself how that task can bring you closer to what means the most to you. It is amazing how a change in attitude and knowing what is in it for you can motivate.
Ask for Help
Even if most of your chores and daily tasks are “value added”, they are not always fun and often too much for one person. Solution: spread the responsibility among the whole household. What is boring to one person may be fun for another. One person’s weak spot may be another person’s strength. Some people have time in the morning to help everyone get ready for the day, and others have more time at night to help everyone get ready for bed. When you do ask for help, just remember to be specific or be prepared for the help to be not exactly what you expected. Letting others pick what they want and find their own way, within reason, may even make them more willing and productive.
If organizing is overwhelming, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
When is the last time you snapped at your husband or were short fused with the kids because the house was a mess? Are you hanging on to old bad relationships and old stagnant items?
There is a link between organization and personal relationships. Overall, organizing improves how you feel. This can have a positive effect on your personal relationships.
How Does Organizing Help Relationships?
Being disorganized distracts you from your priorities. Whereas, removing clutter frees space for fresh ideas and fresh relationships. It helps you move onto the next step in your life. Clearing the clutter also helps you to rid the people and things that bring bad memories and bad feelings. Plus, getting organized isn’t about the stuff. It is about what the stuff does to you and your personal relationships. Being organized will help you stay focused, achieve your goals and seek clarity. In addition, it will improve the relationships that matter most to you.
Having an outsider help you get organized will provide an objective opinion. Then, you won’t strain or stress over the organizing process.
How Professional Organizers Can Help
Professional organizers can help those of us too busy, too confused, too tired, or too stressed to deal with clutter ourselves. In fact, getting help from an organizer is no different than getting help with any other thing you may not be able to do, or have time to do on your own. Organizing requires professional help just like taxes, real estate, legal matters, investments, and retirement accounts. More importantly, organizers have effective systems and processes. Which make them more efficient, improve time management, and improve daily routines. Organizers can also provide professional resources such as; closet companies, movers, art appraisers, garage companies, and painters. They also have resources such as; auction houses, organizing products and stores, junk companies, shredding companies, consignment stores, photo and paper scanning companies and contractors.
If you need help reducing your clutter to improve your personal relationships, see how Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
Getting organized and being organized is a dream that can come true! However, an organizing journey will be most successful if you have a plan. Write down your organizing goals. Dream big and don’t hold back. Share these goals and dreams with someone to help empower you to get started. Use these tips to help with your plan and to launch you forward on your organizing journey.
Deciding Which Area of Your Home to Organize First
Deciding where to start is challenging when you have many areas of your home that need to be organized. Having a plan as to which areas you will work through first and last will help you stay focused.
Here are Some Ideas on Where to Start:
- Top Down or Bottom Up
Starting with the top of your home (or bottom) is a logical way to work through your home, organizing area by area. Start in your attic. Then work through bedrooms, bedroom closets, linen closets and bathrooms. Next work through your living room, dining room, kitchen, playroom and home office. Then the final areas would be your basement, garage, storage unit and yard.
- Inside Out
Starting with the inside of you home is another strategy. With this process, you work through all your closets and your pantry first. The next areas are the attic, basement and garage. The last areas would be bedrooms, kitchen, home office, and then living rooms and dining room.
- Areas You See Everyday
Organizing the areas of your home you see first everyday will have immediate impact and encourage you to meet your goals for other areas of your home. Areas you see everyday include your bedroom, your bathroom, your closet, kitchen and office. Choose the area with the largest impact and work through that area to completion. Enjoy the results before moving to the next.
- Areas You Do Not See Everyday
Organizing areas that you do not see everyday can be beneficial. If the organizing process will bother other family members or take an extended amount of time due to your schedule or the size and condition of the space, you may want to start with areas you do not see everyday. Working in a basement, storage area or attic where you can close a door during the process will help reduce stress for you and your family if the thought of organizing and removing unneeded items brings anxiety.
Once you have a plan of how you will work through your house, set organizing goals for each area of your home and write them down.
Where to Start with Organizing Items
You can also divide your organizing project into item categories of what you will organize first, this will bring structure to your journey. Also, write down all the items you want organized in your home to provide guidance and keep you on track.
Here are Some Ideas on How to Organize by Categorizing Your Items:
- Start Easy
Start with items that are easy to organize. These items will have obvious categories and obvious places to be stored. Items easier to organize include clothing, linens, pantry items and toys. Once the easy items are managed, move on to more difficult categories such as paperwork, kitchen items, garage items and many items typically stored in the basement. More difficult items would be saved for last, when the rest your home is organized. These items include photos, old paperwork, mementos and items that have been in storage for a long time.
- Items You Use Everyday
If you organize the items you use every day first, it will motivate you to continue to organize the rest of your home. Starting here will give you immediate gratification as you see and use these items everyday. This items include your clothing, your toiletries and your kitchen items. This area may also include items on your desk and paperwork.
- Items You Do Not Use
Organize items you do not use frequently first, this way you can free up space and energy for the items that you use frequently. Going through the items that you do not use frequently and purging the unnecessary is a good place to start if getting organized will bother other family members. They will notice a tidy space before questioning what you did with the items. These items may include tools, mementos, items from past hobbies and projects, and seasonal items.
Save the Difficult Items and Areas for Last
Start with an easy area or item. This will build motivation to continue organizing your home. Difficult items and areas include photos, mementos, basements, attics and storage units. Your family is likely to help in these areas after they see the results and enjoy the benefit of all the other organized areas of your home.
Getting organizing is a journey. Start with small projects and enjoy the results. A professional organizer can help you along the way. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.
I am sure you have heard meal planning can help you eat healthy and stick to a budget. This is true, no matter your culture, eating habits or household size, having a plan will prevent you from last minute drive-thru lunches and take and bake pizza dinners. Although we all love a simple pizza dinner every once in a while.
Here are a couple ideas to help you to get into the habit of planning your meals.
Planning Meal Ideas
Jot down meal ideas to last two weeks and keep a running list with you at all times. This can be a simple notepad or a meal plan app such as Mealime, Yummly or Foodprint.
For your meal planning, double recipes for freezer meals and leftovers, and leave room for dining out. Make sure not to over plan. Over planning can lead to food waste and possibly leave you feeling burnt out from too much time in the kitchen. Keep your meals simple, especially if you do not enjoy cooking or have a busy schedule. Consider a no cook or raw meal every once in a while. In our house, we do a meal of cubed cheese, cold meat, raw veggies, fresh fruit and whole grain crackers every couple weeks. The kids love it and it works well on a busy weeknight.
You can also try meal delivery services such as Blue Apron, Sun Basket, etc. it works well as a supplement to your planning. However, be sure the meals arrive on a good day for you to actually cook the food. The food will arrive fresh and need to be prepared within a day or two. In addition, check the portion options are sufficient for your family and will produce leftovers.
Planning a Meal Budget
Identify your food budget. Be sure to include a reasonable budget for dining out. Stick to your budget by eating seasonal produce, stocking up on meat when it is on sale or purchasing protein from a local meat supplier. In your meal plan, include a couple inexpensive, non-meat meals.
Eating healthier does not have to require spending more money. A local holistic health coach can guide you to planning healthier meals without breaking the budget. Better Health by Heather has helped our family eat healthier (our kids now get a serving of veggies in their breakfast smoothies without even knowing it!).
Planning for Shopping & Preparing
Plan a day to do your grocery shopping. Take your list to your local grocery store and try your best to stick to the list. You may also consider grocery delivery. Stores may add on a minimal fee for deliver, but the cost typically is made up in the time you would spend driving and shopping.
Identify a day for food preparation. This does not need to be an entire day; just a day that you can prepare fresh produce for weekday lunches and after work and school snacking. Although, doing both shopping and food preparation in the same day may leave you feeling frustrated and burned out. Try to keep these days separated.
Have fun planning your meals and enjoy watching your family eat better. There is no perfect plan. Don’t get frustrated by wasted food or too much time in the kitchen. Learn from your mistakes and tweak your plan to best fit your household.
Fall brings a feeling of nesting for us all. The season change, a cold winter ahead, has us planning and preparing. Here are some ideas to help you simplify your fall nesting.
Preparing your home for fall and winter can be an undertaking. Break this project down. First start by putting away summer decorations and activities. This will free up space for you to think about your fall, winter and holiday decorating. It also gives you space for cleaning. Consider items that did not bring enjoyment to you over the summer. Then, drop these items off for donation if you feel they will serve another home better.
Pulling out summer entertaining and outdoor dishes will free up space in your cabinets and countertops. First, clear the pantry of the summer convenience foods. Second, before your next trip to the grocery store (or delivery), empty the refrigerator. Toss items that are expired. Wipe down all shelves and walls of the refrigerator. Lastly, inventory what you have and plan some meals around those items. Jot down some favorite fall meals to make your meal planning a bit easier.
September might not be the month to do a complete wardrobe changeover, but take some time to pull out the summer clothes that you did not wear, did not like or no longer make you feel great. Box them up and drop them off at a local shelter or consignment shop (to recoup a little of your investment).
Start to plan what plants will need extra attention before the winter. Arrange for fall clean up if you plan to outsource this. Then recycle and donate toys and furniture you don’t want to see in your yard next summer.
Getting into a new schedule can be challenging, especially when you are managing multiple schedules. Don’t expect perfection. A homemade dinner may not be reasonable on an evening full of meetings or activities. Allow for the unexpected and focus on the priorities. Then the rest will fall into place in the coming weeks.
Enjoy the cooler weather. Remember to take your organizing journey one step at a time. In addition, focus on what matters and what will have the biggest impact for you.
Organizing your bathroom can be fun and rewarding. Make your bathroom a relaxing place to be by following these basic bathroom organizing tips.
Empty all cabinets and drawers and wipe the surfaces. Hair, dust and residue tend to collect in these areas. Use an essential oil such as tea tree, lemon or orange to disinfect and add a fresh scent.
2. Make Up
When organizing and inventorying your make up combine all make up into one area. Remember to check your desk, purse, suitcase and vanity so all your makeup is inventoried. Dispose any make up that is old and expired. Donate new make up that you know you will not use to a local women’s shelter. Remove any colors that do not suit you anymore. For more great tips on organizing your make up, read more from LeAnn Conway Refresh Your Makeup Bag
To organize your towels follow these simple steps: Gather all bath towels, hand towels, wash clothes, etc. from around your home. Determine a reasonable number of towels per person in your home plus guests. Two bath towels, hand towels and wash clothes per person may be reasonable. Donate extra to a local animal shelter or human society. Fold the towels in a consistent way. There is no magic method to this, just fold them how they will best fit your cabinet or closet.
Now it is time to put all items back into the cabinets. You may want to consider purchasing some organizing supplies now that you know what you have and how you want to store it. Organizing supplies such as drawer dividers, containers, multi-level shelves, hanging shelves, or lazy Susan maybe helpful. Local hardware stores, Bed Bath & Beyond or the Container Store offer great solutions. When organizing remember to only keep what you love and need, keep like items together and find a space that fits your stuff.
If organizing your bathroom seem overwhelming, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.