Well, congratulations to me: now into my 12th year with Sensible Organizing Strategies! I've loved every bit of it, including what my BFF calls the 'administrivia'. THAT means all the minutia and paperwork involved in not just running a business but handling our every-day obligations to family and friends. So, please let me share ....
My 92-year-old mother is in Assisted Living in western Washington, where my brother, sister and their families handle all Mum's local needs. Being six hours away from that traffic (on a good day!), I handle all the paperwork, phone calling and such. There isn't a day when I go to the Post Office to retrieve our mail that I don't have at least 2-3 pieces of paper for our mother. This, after having as much electronic as I possibly can!
So, as paper goes, the file where I keep all her documentation was exploding at the seams. Oh, you can relate?! Of course! What do we do when that happens? You who have been listening all these years know ... you must purge and shred or recycle, right?
1. But where to start? Right again, you know: doesn't matter - just pick something and get going on your project! Yesterday I did just that: after deciding that all the categories were still necessary and pertinent, I went through that traveling file-box and pulled out everything from 2015 - 2018.
2. You must keep macro-divisions, not tiny sections for single sheets of paper. You'll never get a handle on things of you do that! This project for my mum's paperwork was so fun (!), that, in needing room to file what I had removed but was keeping, I went through my mother-in-law's retained documents, too, which were all handled by my darling Jim. He wouldn't listen to 'the pro,' so I found numerous file dividers with only one piece of paper in them! Really?? No!
3. Take a look at what you truly need to keep for future reference and plan to shred or recycle the rest. Remember, too: "What's the worst that would happen if I got rid of this piece of paper?" Generally - nada! You can call the vendor, the bank, the doctor, get any recorded document, even the IRS! It may cost a bit IF that EVER comes up, but it generally won't.
4. Guess how many paperclips, binder clips and file folders I now have to use elsewhere? Bonus! That note to 'buy more paperclips' is now in the garbage!
5. This is also a great time to re-assess the entire process: have I 'macro'd' too much? Are there folders that I haven't used in years (get rid of them!)? Is the entire system working well? If not, what little thing needs to change? In working with folks and their paperwork over the years, I've found that the tiniest thing, like which side labels are on, their color, staggered or not, might be the entire issue as to why a file system is not working. Again, what IS the reason for filing? Future retrieval, NOT storage, so your plan needs to work for YOU!
6. A side note on shredding: I personally believe that one of the biggest hold-ups for folks in cleaning up their paper is the personal shredder. It only works for 6-8 pages at a time so you just 'save it up to do on commercials' and that never happens! I have discovered that my time is SO much more valuable than that, so I bundle all my shredding up and take it to my nearest office supply store or such and for about $1 a pound? GONE, and safely! That's where all this 'mother' shredding is going tomorrow.
7. So, done and done! However, as is the norm in any organizing project, one thing spawns another, right? In putting away both our mother's extraneous paperwork files, I noted that our warranty files in the garage (where I keep ALL this sort of thing that doesn't need to take up valuable real estate in the house) were getting full, so cleaned those up, removing info from items we no longer have or whose warranties have expired, etc. Yahoo!
What an awesome feeling to have everything put away, in a logical manner, and have room to put current documents safely and properly away, where they belong, for safekeeping and confidentiality! Ahhhh..... This process is handled similarly for all things that come to you electronically, but let's tackle that next month, OK?
Now, haven't I earned a reward for all this? Of course! So, lunch and then a Netflix movie, to wile away the afternoon, enjoying the beautiful scenery in our yard, robins and snow everywhere!
Here's to you and your tax-season and year-end filing clean-up project - I KNOW you can do it!
All the best to you as we close out the first month of the new year already! Wow - where does the time go, right?!
As we're about a month out from the next National Day of Unplugging on March 1-2 (don't worry - I'll bug you soon enough about that), I am seeing article after article about having real connections and not pseudo-connections via your phone, tablet or any other media 'touch.' I get slammed all the time by friends and family alike for refusing to join Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or even to carry a cell phone with me 24 hours a day. I even removed SOS from LinkedIn when I did the research and found that for the time involved in 'following,' I wasn't receiving enough in return. This is my bid for civil disobedience and I'm sticking with it!
Am I sounding like a broken record here? My apologies, but ... not really! The bid for multi-tasking, 'keeping in touch' or being 'more productive' (wrong!) are depriving you of allowing your prefrontal cortex to work at its best and highest. Challenges to this executive function area of your brain then lead to visual, auditory and hippocampal lapses - splitting your attention constantly can only lead to mistakes - and the science is IN! (The next block has reading info.)
Every time your focus is interrupted, it needs to refocus, to be reset, which can cause you to lose at least a half hour of efficient work. No one can focus that intently with all the digital distractions coming at us to keep the frailties of inattention at bay. So, other than multi-tasking issues, what else are we losing by loving our technology, almost to the extent of it replacing human connections?
Are you aware of how many people take their phones to the bathroom with them? (ICK!) How about taking them to bed, 'blue light' last thing at night/first thing in the morning? SO unhealthy! Tech wizards are experts at getting you to love the soft touch of your smooth glass screens, obliging you to swipe up or down, tap or click, 'friend' or 'like' and everyone's falling for it. Who's really the boss here? You, or your digital toys? Software is made to deliberately urge you back to your smart phones and tablets, so you need to think critically about where you're clicking and the consequences - in lost time, if not your humanity.
So, along with my penchant for helping you find efficiency and productivity, along with right-sizing all your stuff via various organizing methods, remember to control ALL the stuff of your life - digital and otherwise. Now that Marie Kondo, "KonMari Method," has her own Netflix show, you can digitize even this 24 hours a day, on various machinery. Keep in mind, however, that along with removing the stuff you are not sparked with joy for, it might prove just as beneficial to tidy up your digital life, too, and take back your time from all things that plug in!
Meanwhile, I'm off to have tea, face to face, with a charming neighbor! Wishing you peace through less!
Do you think you're busy enough, just these few days before Christmas and the end of this year? Looking for yet another hour or two in each day? And yet ... why should you be surprised that such additional time just doesn't exist, right? Is it Hope, or searching for that elusive Miracle? Hmmm... I keep looking for it, so I'm sure you do, too.
In the interest of not taking much of your time, I'm just going to 'bullet' a few thoughts that just seem to be 'in my face' constantly, OK? Here we go:
I've decided to carry on for yet another year with SOS, and will try to do better about my newsletter schedule in 2019. No promises, though! HA! I love helping my disorganized friends with their time, their stuff and managing their lives, so onward we go!
Here's to a happy, healthy and safe 2019 to you and yours!
This great old cartoon tells you where I'm going with this month's newsletter, and haven't we all been here?! Yep - this is exactly what I teach you all, here and as clients, but I also have a bit of 'me, too' about all this. My coaching tells you that you have an ever-changing, every-evolving persona, and we need to be ready for that and embrace these changes. That includes adjusting your space and everything in it to suit The New You!
One of the biggest changes for me was the realization, many years ago now, that I was no longer going to reside in the Corporate World. I gladly donated/sold my beautiful suits, got rid of the high heels and nylons and all the paraphernalia that goes along with that. One last thing, though, took me a long time to finally ditch: my brass name plate! Can you just imagine how silly that is? Sheesh ....
It was, truly, acknowledging that part of my life was over and done with, and I most certainly didn't need it on my desk as a solo-preneur! Can't remember what I did with it - it's probably in a landfill somewhere (my bad) - but I remember the relief in acknowledging that a 'new me' was now ready to blossom and grow. Hooray!
So, one more pile to deal with now, related to the above cartoon: years ago, I purchased and enrolled in a productivity certification system that seemed like it might take my business to 'the next level.' Not only did I dole out over a $1000 for the program, related books and materials, but I convinced a colleague to do the same! And, then? The team involved decided to retire and all was for naught! UGH!
While we might have been allowed to profer some of the materials and coaching within specific parameters, just the thought of presenting any bit of it out of those parameters was legally daunting. I did not need a lawsuit over something that like! So, for years the pile has sat in my bookshelf, taking up needed space!
OK, heed my lesson here: GET RID of stuff that causes you any sense of negativity or angst! Meet the New You with excitement and have the space allowed to do just that! I'm doing that today, before I even get showered and into my day, and then can rearrange the books I do refer to, read and reread in the space I've so needed, instead of being on top of other books!
WOW! Do I feel better? Do I feel powerful? Do I feel ready to meet new challenges and adventures, instead of grousing on 'what might have been'? You bet! Regrets? Not a one!
Here's to your success in jumping in and finding something that's been bugging you! Onward toward positivity in change and owning your present, instead of being bogged down by your past!!! Yahoo!!!
Hope this note finds you enjoying cooler temperatures and getting ready to switch out your seasonal clothing needs. Remember: pack away only that which you love; which fits well; which makes you feel great - donate all the rest! Sharing your abundance is so worthwhile, right?
I've been helping some clients recently who are feeling very emotional with their 'right-sizing,' getting ready to move into smaller surroundings in the near future. Their children, even their friends, aren't particularly enthralled with the idea of having their 'stuff.' Yes, indeed: one person's treasures can be seen as another person's junk!
One thing to remember: do not take this personally! As a little blurb in a periodical reported recently: "It's not that your kids don't love you. They don't love your stuff." (Marni Jameson) Having folks see what you are offering and then seeing if they are interested is the way to go, and then truly listen to them. No guilt, please! Again, per Ms. Jameson, "The line between bestow and burden is blurry. They don't need to hold on to your belongings to hold you in their hearts." I agree 100%!
I have read and suggested many books to clients over the years, and recently became aware of a great help for all of you in this situation. It's through AARP, and this workbook will help you tremendously! Easy to fill-in-the-blanks sheets will help you zero-in on what really matters and those items that will be easier to part with. The link below will take you to Amazon, where you can order it for minimal expense. Downsizing the Family Home
One of the most important things about 'stuff' to remember is this: Your memories are NOT tied up with 'the thing.' Tough to accept, but once your memory starts to go, 'the thing' will not spur those memories to come flooding back. So, share those items with those who want them, who want something to remember you by, or better yet, something they can actually use, not just dust periodically.
Here's to acceptance of the changes that are duly coming; to only keeping that which you love and can use; to sharing only that which others truly want and can use themselves!
Providing Peace and Harmony for your Home or Office. Tips on getting organized and staying organized. Cleaning up the clutter in your home or office.