Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

This week is National Pay Your Bills Week

February 20, 2012

I try not to look at these things as “national holidays” but gentle reminders of ways we can improve our lives.

Given the current economic climate, everyone seems to be more concerned than ever about money.  Having systems in place can reduce stress, save time, and save money. Almost every client who contacts me has those 3 criteria listed in their reasons for wanting to get more organized. Getting more organized does pay! Don’t wait; start TODAY!

Payingi Bills

PAYING THOSE BILLS

  1. Have a designated place for all incoming bills.
  2. Decide on a schedule to pay bills and stick to your schedule.
  3. Have a place to pay your bills. Have everything in one place to streamline your bill-paying process: checks, pen and pencil, a calculator or calculator program like Excel, any payment coupon booklets, postage stamps, envelopes, return address labels, and a stapler.
  4. Balance your checkbook prior to actually paying bills. If you have a joint account, this is the time to communicate with your spouse or significant other to make sure all debits and credits have been properly entered.
  5. Have a Master Checklist for all bills. With companies encouraging us all to go paperless, oftentimes if we don’t have a Master Checklist, a bill could be missed; you might incur late fees and/or additional charges. Suggested columns for your checklist: Date of Month Due / Payee / Paper or Paperless Bill.
  6. Automate where possible or where you are comfortable. For example, bills such as your monthly cable bill can be automated to 1 credit card or auto draft to your bank account. You can opt whether you still receive a paper copy of the bill each month. A note of caution: It is your responsibility to review all bills. Phone companies are notorious for attempting to slip through “3rd party” charges to unknowing consumers.
  7. Consider reducing the number of credit cards you actually use to 1 or 2 debit or credit cards. The rewards: less bills coming in; less bills to pay; simplified record keeping; and simplified filing. Those department store and gasoline credit card “rewards” are not truly rewards in the big picture.
  8. Simplify your filing routine. If the bills you pay have no Tax or Legal implication, consider filing them by the month you have paid them (Jan / Feb / March …).

Easy Steps for Reducing Credit Card Debt (okay, I admit it is never totally easy; you first must decide this is something you want to make a priority)

  1. See if you qualify for cheaper credit cards. If you have a credit card at a bank, you may be throwing away money. Simply ASK your current company is you qualify for a reduced rate due to your timely payments and FICO score. If not, check out options at a credit union where reduced rates are often offered.
  2. List your credit cards, with the highest rate card first. Include the balance, the interest rate, and the minimum payment.
  3. Every month: pay extra on your credit card with the highest rate. The goal is to pay that baby off! Keep doing this until all your credit cards are paid off.
  4. Every month: as you pay off your high-interest cards, start paying money into a savings or investment account.
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National Small Business Week is May 16-20, 2011

May 16, 2011

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes this special impact made by outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners. In 2011, National Small Business Week will honor the estimated 27.2 MILLION small businesses in America. Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. According to the Small Business Administration, they also create 60-80 percent of new jobs in the country. Yes, you read that correctly: 60 – 80 PERCENT. I didn’t make it up. That number came direct from the Small Business Administration’s website. Politicians, are you listening? Those are numbers we can sink our teeth into.  Additionally, small businesses drive innovation and increase U.S. competitiveness. Small businesses ARE are the BACKBONE of this country.

As a Professional Organizer, I am passionate about my small business clients and moving them to the next level of success. If you are ready to move your business forward, contact me to help you!

In this crazy busy world, what do you outsource?

February 14, 2011

I was watching Good Morning America early this Valentine’s Morning and was surprised to see that some folks are SO busy they are even hiring services such as EFlirt to outsource crafting their flirtatious emails to potential on-line dating suitors. I was laughing to myself, thinking, “…if you don’t have time to craft an email to a potential suitor, do you think you are going to have the actual time it takes to do the work of making a relationship work?” Seriously! But I suppose it is a symptom of the frenetically busy lives we all lead.

That said, dear readers, in our crazy busy world, besides child care (which is a given that all parents need a break now and then), what all do YOU outsource or seek outside help with? I would love your feedback!

Housekeeper / Interior Decorator / Lawn Services / Personal Trainer / Personal Coach / Image Consultant / Pet Walker or Sitter

In your business:  Business Coach / Public Relations Services / Website Consultant / Social Media Expert / Virtual Assistant

Give the Gift of Organization!

December 10, 2010

So often I hear feedback from my clients, “My best friend could really use your services.” “My husband needs your services at his office!” “I have a family member who has expressed an interest in your services, but cost may be an issue; can I buy them a gift certificate for your services?”

The other thing I hear is, “I know you helped to organize my friend. I’d rather have a gift certificate for your services more than anything!SANTA BABY, HERE’S YOUR CUE! 

The Holiday Season is upon us! In these economic times, consumers are looking for interesting, helpful, and wise purchases for their gift recipients.

Rather than buying a gift that may become yet more clutter in someone’s space, consider giving one that will relieve stress and take away the feeling of overwhelm.

  • Instead of making a trip to the mall and dealing with crowds and long lines, why not give something that is functional and useful?
  •  Inspire family, friends, and loved ones to organize their living areas, working areas, spaces, and lives! Give the Gift of Organization!
  • Contact me and we will personalize a Gift Certificate!  

Helpful Guidelines on Giving the Gift – Thoughts from The Organizer


Now that I’ve made the suggestion of giving the Gift of Organization, I do feel the need to share some helpful tips on giving a gift such as this:

  • Folks who look like they could use the services of a professional organizer might be perfectly happy with their current state of affairs. Or they might not be quite ready to think about decluttering. They could be insulted by the suggestion, which is an awful reaction to a gift.
  • It’s not unlike giving someone who needs to lose a few pounds or firm up a bit a gift certificate to a gym. If the gift recipient has been dying to join a gym but just can’t afford it, the gift will likely be received with great enthusiasm (particularly if the gift giver has gone out of his or her way to find just the right gym). However, if that gym membership might be received with a “Are you saying I’m fat?” response from your recipient, think well before giving.
  • If your friend or family member has expressed out load they are ready for change and would love to have some help, then they are the perfect candidate for a gift certificate for organizing.

The Gift of Organization IS truly a gift, but if you want your gift to be received well, and to truly be helpful, be certain it will be welcomed with open arms.

Keep Holiday Stress to a Minimum; Just Say No

December 3, 2010

Did you know that December is officially National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month? Here are 4 basic tips suggested in an article from Web MD. Then continue to read on for the complete article to have a more peaceful & happy Holiday Season! 

If you need help with your Holiday Planning or Decluttering your Holiday Spaces, call your favorite Professional Organizer today!

1. Say No to Holiday Parties you don’t want to attend.

Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress

2. Say NO to out-of-control gift giving.

3.  Say NO to unwanted houseguests.

4. Say NO to taking on the work of a big holiday celebration.

http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/keep-holiday-stress-minimum-learn-say-no

Everyday Strategy: Stop Using Post-Its!

November 12, 2010

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE Post-Its (especially bright-colored ones) and they have their purposes, but for keeping track of your Master List of tasks, they are not the right tool. If you like to write them down, use a spiral bound notebook you can carry with you everywhere. Personally, I am a huge fan of using Outlook Tasks. There are countless ways you can stay on top of your tasks, calendar items, and contacts.

Everyday Strategy: Start Your Morning with a Fast Start

November 3, 2010

If you want to start your morning being the MOST effective and productive, TAKE 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the prior day updating your master list, grouping like projects / items (I like using clear Project Files from The Container Store), and putting away unnecessary files.

When you walk into your office and it looks like The Tasmanian Devil (cartoon) has made a pass by your desk, it’s not a good way to start your day. By spending those valuable minutes the day before, it now helps to set the tone for the new, productive day, which you now control.

An additional bonus to this 10 to 15 minutes spent? It allows you to help establish priorities and clear your mind of the day’s tasks. Knowing you have taken this time will allow you to decompress on the trip home and at least, mentally, leave work at the office, until tomorrow.

Tools for Time Management

September 18, 2010

When our kiddos were in middle school, the house we lived in only had 2 bathrooms. Grooming had become a VERY important part of the morning routine for our daughter and son, then in middle school. Many a morning dispute arose over who had been in the bathroom too long. I quickly found a simple solution!  

Egg Timer

Egg Timer

 

A few weeks later, my sister was visiting. I was in the kitchen when I heard her laughing and calling to me from the hallway. “Sis, please tell me what an egg timer is doing in your bathroom!” I explained that when that timer “dinged,” each child knew their time was up: no arguing with one another; no arguing with me; the timer helped by giving an AUDIBLE BOUNDARY

More than ever today, people get lost in the amount of time they spend on projects. Clients and colleagues as well, admit they intended only to check their email, ended up logging onto FaceBook, which then led to someone’s (then) interesting blog, and suddenly, they find they wasted almost their entire morning. 

At National Conference this spring in Ohio, one of my product favs was the Time Timer. Their tag line is “Make Every Moment Count.” The abstract concept of elapsed time is easy to see and understand with their graphic depiction. This tool allows users to manage time more effectively in meetings, classrooms, therapy sessions, testing venues, at home and any other activities which require limits be set. There are different types of tools to fit any type of user: Some the size of a small alarm clock, large visuals for education, wrist watches, software apps for your computer and iphone — endless possibilities. 

Time Timer

 

Whether you choose a simple egg or kitchen timer or one of the many options that Time Timer has to offer, I challenge you to use a timer for just 1 week. SEE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY SOAR! 

Own Your Time

August 27, 2010

One of my favorite books on time management and productivity isn’t the newest one on the market. It was re-written in 2005 after its original writing in 1996 for the Hertz Corporation and its then struggling employees.  In “Organizing for Success, author Ken Ziegler includes a fantastic quote that I often share with my audiences: “From time waste there can be no salvage. It is the easiest of all waste and the hardest to correct because it does not litter the floor.”   — Henry Ford.

With that, I usually hear some dreadful groans and then the room grows dimly silent — as the truth of that statement is sobering, given the frenetic way in which we live our lives today. “However,” I go on to encourage my audience, “Time CAN BE the great equalizer.” It is simply a series of CHOICES. Your time IS truly your own.

Whether you are seeking to gain control of your time for purposes of time management, efficiency, achieving goals or  improving your quality of life, make good and wise choices each day, my friends. Then reap the rewards of owning your time.

Ecology AND Time Saving!

April 12, 2010

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is just around the corner. You can participate by checking out http://www.epa.gov or http://www.earthday.net. Teach your young ones about being good stewards of our precious earth; they are our future and they are SO eager to learn and participate!

Locally, we have Fredericksburg CARES which will hold its semi-annual electronic recycling (e-waste) collection April 24. The fourth such event sponsored by CARES, the City of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County, the drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the corner of Adams and San Antonio streets. The service is open to all Gillespie residents, schools, churches, non-profit organizations and businesses. For more info, visit http://www.fbgcares.com

Instantly SAVE TIME, MONEY, and TREES by getting off those catalog mailing lists. Go to http://www.catalogchoice.org.