Clutter and Disorganization: Paper Chaos in the Office – Part 1

March 26, 2013

Clutter and Disorganization: Paper Chaos in the Office – Part 1
In 1995, experts made the prediction that by 2005 we would be the “paperless society.” Have you looked around your office lately? Is it paperless? Unless you have been scanning everything into your computer and shredding day and night, the answer is a resounding “NO!” In fact by 2005, it was estimated that there was 50% more paper being generated than there was in 1995 and that was eight years ago!!

Disorganization costs businesses valuable time, money and energy every day. The time that is wasted each day in the workplace is estimated to be between 30 minutes to two hours per person. In some cases it can add up to more than 150 hours a year. Time that is spent looking for “stuff” as a result of disorganization definitely detracts from an employee’s ability to concentrate, focus on what is really important, and know how to prioritize their work.

If piles of papers are overwhelming your office, it is time to make a date with yourself to get organized. Having decided to tackle this monumental task, the next question is, “Where do I start?” Before diving into the piles it is very important to set up a useful work space. The goal is to have a “home” for all your papers. Setting up a home base will greatly aid you when you are starting the sorting process, which can very easily become overwhelming to most people.

Create three areas, boxes or trays to hold the following:
• Inbox to capture all the paper coming into your office
• Outbox for a place to hold items leaving your office
• “To File” location for everything that needs to be filed

Set up a small desktop filing system to handle the immediate papers that bombard you every day. Be sure this system will hold your daily mail as well as follow-up papers. You can set up this system in a small plastic case that will hold a few hanging folders. This is not meant to be your entire filing system, just a stop-gap measure to help you deal with the mail as soon as it comes in. You can also use your desk drawer to set up this system. Keeping it at your fingertips is very efficient. You’ll be less distracted because you won’t have to jump up and down to go to a filing cabinet across the room.

Remember: convenience plays a huge role in getting organized – and if you make your system convenient to use, there is a better chance you will use it.

Labeling your hanging file folders with descriptions that mean something to you is another important part. You can say “To Pay,” “To Do,” “To Call,” or you can use more descriptive labels such as “Do it or Get Fired,” “Warm Fuzzies,” “Appreciation,” or “Someday, Maybe” folders. Either way you are trying to set up a process so that as soon as the mail comes, you make decisions and file the papers in this temporary system. An “Action” folder should be included to help you organize your action and to-do items.

To be continued – come back for more information in Part 2……………………………………

Using Your Brain Power to Overcome Your Clutter and Get Organized

March 20, 2013

USING YOUR BRAIN POWER TO OVERPOWER YOUR CLUTTER
AND GET ORGANIZED

Feeling Overwhelmed? Frustrated?
Join the crowd. Lately when I have met with new or prospective clients, those two words, “overwhelmed” and “frustrated,” come up all the time. People are reading organizing books, attending seminars or buying a new gadget to help them get organized. They are searching for an answer to their clutter and organizing dilemmas. If they just buy another piece of software, a new PDA or five more plastic containers, they’re convinced that will be just the thing to get them organized.

What they don’t realize is that each of us already owns the most powerful organizing tool they will ever need. What is that? Your brain! Getting organized begins with your mind. When you finally get to that point when you are tired of the mess, being late because you can’t find your car keys, or forgetting important meetings or appointments, and you decide you are going to change your situation, you are on your way to changing your life.

Many clients often hand me a stack of organizing books which they have accumulated over the years, hoping each one would give them the tip they needed to finally get organized. But just reading a book will not do it. You can’t lose weight by simply reading a diet book and you can’t learn to drive by reading a driving manual. You have to read, get some ideas and then try them out. Some ideas work and others don’t but you’ll never know until you try. Remember too that it takes between 21 and 30 days to convert a routine into a habit. Don’t give up too soon. Repetition is the key to success.

You have to identify and change the habits that are creating the disorganized part of your life if you want to get organized. Simplify your life as much as you can. A client recently bought a new Palm Pilot but then spent days not using it because she did not have the time to sit down and learn all the new features. She wanted a crash course in using it without spending time to learn it herself. When you buy that new Palm Pilot or piece of software or some other new gadget, remember that it comes with a manual on how to use it, but it does not come with a guarantee that it will make you an organized person overnight.

Only if you constantly work on your habits will you make a lasting and constant change. Think in terms of habit-based solutions as opposed to gadget-based solutions. When you maintain these habits, you will considerably increase your chances of getting organized and staying organized.

Since the average person spends 30 minutes to two hours a day looking for things in their office, think of new ways to do your work. People often can’t let go of their old way of doing something so they lose the opportunity to get rid of their frustration. Look for old ways of doing things that are keeping you from getting organized. Let them go and try something new!

Is your Clutter Causing You Stress – Part 3

February 13, 2013

Here are seven steps you can take to fight off stress and protect your heart so you’ll have a healthy 2013.

Exercise Is All Important
A great way to help get rid of stress is a good workout. Aerobic exercises like running, walking, swimming, and even dancing will all help your heart. Daily exercises will help you feel great, strengthen your heart, help with depression and lower your risk for diabetes. Exercise gets your heart pumping moving blood all around the body.

Relaxation
Stress-reduction techniques and exercises such as yoga, meditation, and tai chi have been shown to lower stress hormones and boost immune function. In one study, people who practiced yoga regularly experienced a decrease in some of their body’s inflammatory responses. Inflammation is a rising concern in heart disease.

Forget Perfectionism
Perfection does not exist so let go of your constant striving for it. Take a deep breath and relax and know that your clutter didn’t show up in your life last night. It’s been a long time in the making and by working on it slowly, you can reduce it and make a change in your life. Stop waiting for the perfect time to get started.

Get rid of the Mental Clutter – Don’t Hold Grudges
Hanging on to an old grudge won’t help you have a healthy heart. Research suggests that people experience more psychological stress and higher heart rates when they hold grudges than when they practice forgiveness. So let go of the grudges and forgive.

Limit Your Emotional Involvement
Not with people! But avoid getting too emotionally tied up in things that don’t matter that much. The clutter in your life in many cases is very emotional and psychological. Hanging on to items that bring back sad memories isn’t a good idea. Let go of some of the old items in your life to make room for new memories and experiences. Remember it’s just stuff! So don’t sweat the small stuff and remember that it’s all small stuff.

Eat Healthy
Eating right with a diet low in red meat and processed foods and high in fruits and vegetables will not only help your weight but will also help your heart. Healthy eating can help prevent or delay diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart trouble.

Sleep
Many people these days are just not getting enough sleep and even when they are sleeping they may not be getting enough of the right kind of rest. It is recommended that each of us needs an average of six to eight hours every night. The quality of your sleep is also key to good health. Sleep apnea—a condition in which you wake up periodically due to interrupted breathing—has been linked with heart disease.

Hope you will use some of these tips to keep your heart healthy not only in February but all throughout 2013!

Is Your Clutter Causing You Stress – Part 2

February 12, 2013

Heart disease is a major problem in the United States. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack and about 600,000 people die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

What are some signs that you are getting stressed out?
When you face stress every day all day long and can’t even find peace when going to sleep, your body will start to give you warning signs that something isn’t right. These signs can be physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional. All of these signs will point to the fact that you need to make some changes and slow down. If you don’t make some changes in your lifestyle and continue to be stressed, you can not only contribute to heart disease but can also make any chronic illness you have worse.

Listed here are some of the warning signs of stress:
Physical symptoms can include grinding your teeth, a clenched jaw, headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, racing heart, ringing in the ears, stooped posture, sweaty palms, exhaustion, weight gain or loss, an upset stomach
Mental symptoms include worrying constantly about everything, difficulty making decisions, loss of concentration, memory problems
Emotional symptoms include depression, mood swings, irritability, loneliness, negative thinking, nervousness, sadness, anger, anxiety
Behavioral symptoms can include compulsive eating, frequent job changes, impulsive actions, increased use of alcohol or drugs, antisocial actions

Here are a few ideas to start down the road of removing some of the clutter stressors in your life:
• Don’t become overwhelmed. Always remember that your clutter just didn’t accumulate last night. This is a problem and you have to take it one step at a time to correct it.
• Don’t go it alone. Ask for professional help from an organizer to provide the accountability, support and creative ideas that the client is looking for to save their situation. Or use a clutter buddy to help.
• Don’t feel discouraged. You have to start somewhere. Visualize what you want your space to look like once it is cleaned out and organized. Break your project down into small bits and pieces so you don’t get overwhelmed even more. Take a deep breath and plan to work on your project every day for a set amount of time.
• Don’t forget to reward yourself. Make a list of the fun things you like to do and plan to reward yourself for each and every change you make in your stress level. The reward can be a cup of coffee or a day at the spa.

Is Your Clutter Causing You Stress? Part 1

February 11, 2013

This is part one of a three part series of articles regarding the affect clutter has on your heart. How can clutter affect your heart you ask? Clutter causes STRESS in people’s lives and stress affects your heart. Are stress and heart disease related and does stress increase your risk of heart disease? Medical researchers are finding more and more evidence that stress does contribute to heart disease in some people. Stress is definitely a part of our lives today. Some stress is okay and can help you get a job done. However, if constant and continuous, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heart beats.

What causes stress?
When you are under stress your blood pressure goes up, you may overeat, or even become depressed. When you have to deal with piles of papers, unpaid bills (because you can’t find them), lost keys and irate co-workers, life can get pretty stressful.
When just getting up in the morning means navigating a mine field of clothing and shoes scattered all over the floor and not eating properly because you are late and can’t find what you need when you need to leave the house, stress can follow you all day long.

Things that make you feel stressed are called “stressors.”
Stressors can be minor annoyances or a big change in your way of life. It’s important to identify what stressors are affecting your life and change the situation to protect your heart for the future.
Here are some stressors that affect people:

• Clutter and disorganization
• Workaholic behavior
• A new job
• Unemployment
• Retirement
• Death of a relative or friend
• Serious illness
• Moving
• Tolerations
• Legal problems
• Money problems
• Perfectionism

Each person has their own set of stressors in their life. Do you have any of these stressors in your life? What kind of stressors do you face each day?

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