Tag Archives: to-do list

7 Common Organizing Mistakes to Avoid

closet-organizedToday, I decided to tackle organizing my closets and dresser drawers. With fall upon us, it’s time to switch out the summer clothes for the warmer winter styles.

I try to keep my closets, and the rest of my house organized. No matter how hard I try, it seems like I can’t get it right.

The trick to becoming organized is identifying the habits you need to change, as well as the habits that are worth keeping. It can be your kitchen counter that gets piled with clutter, a home office area, or a dresser drawer that will no longer close.

Here are 7 organizing mistakes you may be making and how you can correct them:

Finding the perfect place to start
Not knowing where to begin is often the result of being overwhelmed by clutter. It can be a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to get started and think clearly about your goals. Start with something simple. Grab a trash bag, pick a room and get started. Fill your bag with either trash or things you want to donate to charity. Once you take this simple step, you’ll feel more motivated to tackle more areas.

Overusing reminders
I am the queen of lists and sticky notes. However, this practice can contribute to feeling overwhelmed by clutter. If you’re constantly searching for notes, creating more Post-its and updating your dry erase board, you’re not getting anything done. Keep a central calendar that everyone can view and make a new list of your important to-do items each day. Focus on what’s most important and let the rest go.

Relying on technology
As technology takes over our lives, we are using our computers, smartphones or tablets to try and organize every minute of our day. While it’s good to archive important information or set appointment reminders on your phone, try not to let technology control you. If you’re constantly checking your phone, you may end up on social media sites, online shopping or sending unnecessary texts or messages. Stay focused on what you need to accomplish instead.

Stashing things
Who hasn’t thrown items in a drawer, closet or room when you know company is coming to your house? We also stash clutter rather than truly put it in it’s rightful place. That place could be a shelf in the basement, another room or even the trash. Hiding things creates the illusion of cleanliness and organization, but will catch up with you when you can’t find what you need or the junk drawer will no longer shut.

Buying too many containers
Containers can play a valuable role in putting together an organized space, but it can be a mistake to make a trip to the container store before you even start organizing. First, bringing containers into a cluttered space can just make it look more messy. Second, you may uncover or reuse containers as you are decluttering. And, it’s much harder to know what types of containers you need before you even start organizing. The solution: shop for any storage solutions after you’ve gotten started on the organizing process.

Getting emotionally attached
I have a sweatshirt in my closet that I wore in high school. I don’t wear it anymore. I keep it because it holds memories for me. It’s easy to getting emotionally attached to our possessions. Yet, you need to try and approach decluttering rationally and logically. Do I need six black sweaters? While I could try to justify that they are various styles, I probably do not need that many black sweaters. While it may be painful to cut down on your belongings, you will be happy you did when you’re space feels organized.

Unrealistic expectations
The key to organizing is taking it slowly. Once you get started tackling your clutter, you’re going to want to organize everything RIGHT NOW. It’s better to pace yourself – both in a single organizing session or as part of your overall organizing plans. You’ll keep from burning yourself out and be able to maintain your focus as you organize your home.

Being more organized will benefit you in the long run. In order to achieve lasting change, you must find the system that works best for you. Then, you can clean up your space, find what you need quickly and reclaim your life!


Are You Always Late? Be on Time Now!

clock-running-lateI am often running late. In fact, I was born a week late. I have good intentions. I want to be on time. Yet, it always seems I’m running 5 to 10 minutes behind schedule.

Most people don’t like to be late. Being late may actually be a habit you’ve developed over time. Think about your history and patterns. Are you late to everything or just some things? What causes you to run behind? How do you feel when you’re late?

If you truly want to make a change, you can overcome lateness. Here are 9 steps you can take to be on time:

Make a To-Do List Every Day
Each morning, make a list of things you want to accomplish that day. Try to create a realistic list, so you’re more likely to achieve your goals. Arrange tasks in the order of importance, urgency or time of day. Cross off each item when you complete it. I actually like to write out my to-do list the night before so that I don’t worry about it while I’m trying to go to sleep. Plus, I’m more awake and function better at night than I do first thing in the morning.

Schedule Events on Your Calendar
Keep a desk calendar, day planner or use a smartphone app to keep track of appointments or activities. Getting into the habit of keeping track of events on calendar can help you become more organized and prepared for what you need to do each day.

Check Your Calendar 3 Times a Day
Make it habit to check your calendar at the same times each day. It might make sense for you to review it first thing in the morning, after lunch and towards the end of the day. While writing things down may help you remember, be sure to check our calendar regularly to ensure you’re on track.

Be a Time Pessimist
Assume that everything will take a little longer than you anticipate. This approach will keep you on time, or even make you a little early. People who run early tend to be more calm, organized and ready to handle whatever comes up.

Plan to Be Early
Late people always aim to arrive right on time, but that leaves no room for contingency. You may know that you can drive to work in exactly 15 minutes. Yet if you get stuck in traffic due to an accident or have to run back for important papers you forgot at home, it makes it impossible to be on time. You should plan to be 15 minutes early to everything.

Welcome the Wait
If being early freaks you out, look at it as an opportunity to have some down time. Bring a magazine or book to read, call a friend for a few minutes, or go over your schedule for the week. If you make it an activity you will enjoy, you’ll want to be early.

You may be late simply because you don’t have time to do everything. The only way to change this is to cut back on what you’re doing. Figure out what’s most important and make it a priority to check these items off your list.

Be Honest with Yourself
Why are you letting yourself be late? Why aren’t you controlling your time? Part of being on time is acknowledging why you’re late. You’re letting your schedule run your life. To be on schedule is to plan the life you want to live and then create a plan to make it happen.

Make Organization a Daily Habit
You can make a change that will help you achieve a more balanced life. You can become more organized and create a habit of being on time.

9 Quick Tips to Organize Your Life

7282552_origI used to be organized. Then I got married, had three kids and somewhere along the way I lost my ability to remember things, find stuff and efficiently manage my time.

Most people are not born organized. They cultivate healthy habits that help them become more organized. A big part of creating a more balanced life is getting organized and finding a routine that allows you to achieve your goals.

Here are 9 great ways you can live a more organized – and balanced – life.

Organize for 15 minutes each day
It seems like the clutter at my house multiplies over night. If you spend 15 minutes each day organizing something, you can stay ahead of the stuff that piles up. It could mean sorting the mail or going through a pile of important papers that need to be handled. You can throw the mystery foods out of the refrigerator. Just 15 minutes of organizing a day can make a huge difference over time.

Choose the 3 most important tasks
I am a big believer in the daily to-do list. I tend to forget what I need to accomplish, and it seems more manageable when I see it on paper. On the downside, I might end up with 10 things on my list. At the top of your list, write down the three most important tasks that need to get done for the day. Everything else will typically fall into place after that.

Write things down
Trying to remember things will not help you stay more organized. And if you’re like me, my memory seems to get worse with every year. Write down everything. Make a list of birthdays, meetings, groceries, holiday gifts, and other things you need to remember.

Create a family information center
I feel like every day is a logistics nightmare, trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to be each day. I have a white board on the back of our door that leads to the garage. The whole family knows that this is the place to see what’s going on. Each family member has their own color of marker, and we write down meetings, dentist appointments, school activities, and sport practices and games.

Make schedules and deadlines
Organized people don’t waste time. They make schedules for the day and the week. They make deadlines and set goals – and stick to them! You can plan out how to declutter your home, the steps you need to take to go on vacation, or how you’re going to move up in your career.

Do one thing at a time
I am a big believer in uni-tasking. It seems to be human nature to want to multi-task. However, you’re not really multi-tasking, but switching from one thing to another very quickly. Concentrate on one project at a time, and you’ll find that you actually get more done and probably do it better.

Avoid procrastinating
When I was younger, I was the kid who turned in my homework assignments before the due date. I have lost that ability over the years. The longer you put something off, the more difficult it can be to get done. To create a less stressful and demanding life, organize and accomplish tasks as soon as you can. Getting things done as soon as possible will lift a weight off of you and free up time to do other things.

Have less stuff
As a whole, Americans like their stuff. However, we could all learn to live without all of the material possessions. I have more clothes and shoes than I ever wear. I probably only use about half of the gadgets and cookware I have in my kitchen. Make it a point to purge the unnecessary stuff in your life. Avoid the temptation to pick up a bargain or buy things you don’t need because they’re the newest and greatest trend.

Take control of your life
Make your electronics and organization methods work for you not the other way around. There are many tools and technologies you can take advantage of to help you get more done and be more efficient.

Progress and change take time. It’s hard to change habits, because they’re habits. You can create a more organized life if you’re willing to work at it. You can cultivate healthy habits that will allow you to be more productive and organized!


13 Ways To Better Manage Your Time

time managementSomeone recently asked me what I do in my “free time.” Free time? What’s that?

We live in a hectic, crazy, on-the-go world. We talk fast. We eat fast. We rush from place to place. We have too much to do and not enough time to do it. We are stressed.

Our fast-paced lives can make it more difficult to find balance and live a healthy lifestyle. Do you have trouble fitting exercise into your routine? Are you making poor food choices because you feel pressed for time? Have you sacrificed sleep to fit more into your day?

What if you could add an extra hour to your day just by better managing your time? You can create a more balanced life by implementing these 13 tips to improved time management.

Track your time
It is a very difficult thing to do, but tracking how you spend your day can be a real eye-opener. You can use a pen and paper and write down everything you do and how much time it takes. It can be surprising to see how much time you spend doing unproductive things. Or, you may discover that simple tasks are taking way too much time. After you’ve tracked your time for a couple of days, you’ll have a better idea of where your time goes.

Make lists
I have a love/hate relationship with to-do lists. I like to make a list so that I can see all the things I need to accomplish. On the other hand, I feel bad if I don’t get them all done. Lists keep us organized, help us stay on task, and let us know what still needs to be done. There is also something very satisfying about marking tasks off the list.

Once you have your to-do list, you need to prioritize your action items. I try to write the more important things that must get done first at the top of the list. Or, I add stars by those tasks with more urgency. It can take some practice to determine what needs to be done first or absolutely must be completed by a certain time.

Set goals
I know I am typically more efficient when I set larger goals. What do I need to do by lunch? What needs to happen today? What should I accomplish this week? You can also set specific project goals. Finish a report by Friday. Reach my sales goals by the end of the month.

Reward yourself
When you reach a goal or complete a task, it makes sense to reward yourself. Rewards give you more motivation to get things done. Let’s face it, sometimes bribing yourself may be the only way to get an unsavory task completed. Your reward can be as simple as taking a quick walk around the office or grabbing a cup of coffee. Or, you can plan to take a relaxing weekend trip when you achieve a big goal.

Do one thing at a time
I believe that multi-tasking is a farce and actually creates more stress than it alleviates. You can get more done in less time if you focus on one thing at a time. You can also feel more calm and in control when you accomplish one task before you move on to the next.

Clear out the clutter
Do you waste time trying to find things? Do you misplace your keys, purse, important work-related papers, or even your to-do list? When you clear out the clutter, you will find that it’s easier to find things and manage your time. You can also focus on the task at hand rather than worrying about the clutter or missing items.

Take a break
Give yourself a few breaks throughout the day. At some point, we all hit a wall. Even though you’re going through the motions, you aren’t really getting anything done. Even five minutes of relaxation can help you recharge your batteries and increase your productivity.

Be positive
Staying positive and having positive thoughts can help make a busy, stressful day more manageable. If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough time,” then change your thinking and say (out loud), “I have time to do what I need to do.” Just saying it can help you feel more relaxed and liberated.

Say “no”
At some point, you know when there is too much to do and not enough time. To save your sanity and reduce your stress level, it’s time to say no. You may need to say no to friends, family, co-workers and even yourself. Will this task help you reach your goals? Is it a priority? If you know that doing one more thing will mean making a sacrifice somewhere else, then say no.

Stop trying to be perfect
If you try to be perfect, then you may be paying too much attention to details that don’t necessarily matter. The trick is knowing when you need to be perfect and when you don’t. A proofreader needs to be a perfectionist when it comes to grammar, spelling and sentence structure. If you’re sticking address labels on 1,000 postcards, it’s okay if some of the labels are slightly crooked.

Plan for tomorrow
Before you stop for the day, take a few minutes to plan the start of your day tomorrow. First, it’s easier to procrastinate if you don’t have a plan of action. Second, you can start the new day with momentum. Your plan may need to change as the day unfolds, but at least you have a good jump on the day.

Go to bed
As we have blogged in the past, sleep is critical to your health and well-being. Allow yourself an hour or so of downtime to relax and unwind before you go to bed. Make sure you get enough sleep – typically at least 7 to 8 hours. If you wake up well-rested in the morning, it makes it much easier to take on another busy day.

We all have our ways of working more tasks into our day. What tricks do you use to better manage your time?