Posts Tagged ‘home office organizing’

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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Safeguard your identity when purging paper

July 8, 2011

Whether you deal with your paper on a daily or weekly basis, as you sort and purge items, be mindful of protecting your identity! This is a must-have tool for me from The Container Store. You can safeguard your personal information from prying eyes with this self-inking ID Guard Stamp. The unique pattern masks your name and address on discarded credit card offers, junk mail or magazines. Use it to cover up account numbers, telephone numbers or other identifiable information you don’t want others to access.

Safeguard your identity. Then, RECYCLE all that paper!

Kespon Guard Your ID Stamp

Happy Organizing ~ Kat Jacoby

In it to win it with direct sales!

March 7, 2011

Ask any person who is in direct sales why they do it, and they will usually tell you they are passionate about their particular product. It is what originally enticed them to the business as a consumer; then came learning they could actually do “this” as a business and make money at it. Somewhere from that first spark of passion to their time in business, most struggle with actually running their businesses and earning what they expected. There are a ton of direct sales companies out there. Here are just a few:

  • Mary Kay / BeautiControl / Avon / Arbonne
  • Lia Sophia / Silpada / Stella & Dot / Premier Designs / Guy and Eva
  • Juice Plus / Advocare /Genesis Pure / Nature’s Sunshine / Isagenix / MonaVie
  • Pampered Chef / Tupperware
  • Thirty-One Gifts / Scentsy

As an organizer who specializes in helping clients with their paperwork, I often see insides the lives of these very talented people . The problem is certainly not with their chosen line of products. Most of the products are fantastic products which are priced reasonably; the companies themselves are well-known, reputable, and well-respected; and with many, the company itself has invested a great deal in marketing and advertising.  The rate-limiting step is, quite simply, organization. Take heart, however, the problem is not with you. Most of these businesses are paper-driven businesses with a plethora of forms, brochures, product announcements, price sheets, product information sheets; you name it. It can be absolutely overwhelming! Each person trying to run this type of business wears many hats, to say the least: that of trying to run a “storefront” with products on hand, being the sales person, office manager, and bookkeeper, at a minimum. 

Working with clients in these types of businesses, I have successfully put into place systems which help them to run their businesses so that they can focus on what they do best: selling the products they are passion about. I typically hear, “Now, I can really do this!”

Whether you are have been in a direct sales business for a while, you are a newbie to this type of career or are thinking of dipping your toe in the water, being organized is an absolute must. If you want to win at this type of business, start with GETTING ORGANIZED! Then SALE ON, SALE ON, my friends.

Bless you in your day and in your success! ~ Kat Jacoby

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

One of my favorite things

December 15, 2010

Brookstone Readers StandOne gift I gave myself last Christmas was a Reader’s Stand from Brookstone. It has been a fav all year long. It keeps the magazines and books I am currently reading available, yet neatly stacked (and sorted / separated). Mine sits right by my recliner. I typically read while hubby watches TV. I can settle into my chair and grab the next read! The Reader’s Stand would be great by a Master Bed or in a Guest Room, too! It’s $199.95 at Brookstone; takes a tiny bit of assembly; available in Mahogany or Distressed Black. Love, love, love it!

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.

10 dozen cookies baked and another successful holiday event!

December 9, 2010

We just had another successful Client Appreciation Dinner for my husband’s Edward Jones office in Llano, Texas! The evening included an entire community hall full of people who dined well on a Mexican buffet and scrumptious desserts. Lots of great fellowship was shared and all attending heard how the market is going to get stronger in the coming months (it is, you know!).

In the 10 years Archie has been with Edward Jones, we have entertained lots of customers and put on lots of events! How does it all get done, done well, while sticking to a planned budget? I stress budget because truthfully, anyone can put on events with the myriad of options available in our world today, but doing it on a tight budget is a totally different thing.

The answer: Planning. Lists. Work, yes; but each time notes and lists are used, the work becomes easier! One tool I have found which I really love is ListPlanIt. As a proud Professional Member of ListPlanit, I have access to a plethora of planning lists! Check out the over 500 lists they have available:

http://www.listplanit.com

As we work together on our next organizing project, let me know if you are in need of a list to help you. Whether you are planning your upcoming Holiday Meal or simply your family’s meal plan and grocery list, lists help save time AND money!

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! 

Book Review – Greatest Book on Coaching for Small Business

June 4, 2010

I just completed an audible book from www.audible.com.  It is called “The Greatest Book on Coaching for Small Business,” by Terry Ostrowiak. This audible book, 2 hrs. 25 min., was packed with so many positive gems. If you are a small business or a small business coach, it’s a keeper. But don’t shy away if you don’t fit into those categories – there are tips throughout for encouraging others in our daily walk of life (and who doesn’t need that!). ~ Kat Jacoby

Information from his website www.quantumleapcatalyst.com

Terry Ostrowiak is a Business Catalyst who assists open-minded executives, in small businesses, to achieve Quantum Leap Results, targets and goals, faster and more easily than they could do it on their own.

A featured speaker at international conferences, Terry has shared the platform with Earl Nightingale, one of the world’s foremost experts on “success”, and Og Mandino, the renowned motivational speaker and leading author on “success” with sales of more than 30 million books.