The Benefits of Getting Organized Have you ever stopped and asked yourself how you can profit from being organized? Below are some little-known benefits: * You'll be able to relax more. By getting organized, your stress levels will go down, and you'll be able to live a less chaotic, more relaxed life. * You'll have more time for yourself. By being more efficient, like getting your projects done quicker, being able to delegate, wasting less time looking for things and being able to make faster decisions, you'll spend less time 'working' and will have more time for yourself and the things you love to do. * You'll have more time for your loved ones. An organized person is always able to fit in time for friends and family members. * You'll feel good about your surroundings. Being disorganized often results in embarrassment. You may feel anxious when visitors drop by your home or office and see clutter or stuff out of place. Get organized, and you'll forever feel excellent about your surroundings -- good enough to invite people in without worries. * You'll be healthier. Get organized and you'll have more than enough time to exercise and cook healthy meals for yourself and your family. * You'll do better professionally. An organized person gives a much better business impression than someone who can't find a phone number, has an office piled with cardboard boxes or is always late for appointments. * You'll save more. Money, that is. When you're organized, you'll always know what you have, before you buy more. * You'll accomplish more. When you're disorganized, there are always barriers that hold you back from attaining your goals. However organized people find ways to reduce tasks that aren't required and to streamline those that are taking too much time. This leaves ample time to work on achieving all of those goals on your list. Initial Steps To Getting Organized Getting organized doesn't have to be a chore. Below are a few simple steps you can initiate right now that will start you on your way: * Begin with messes and clutter that you see every day. Organize your kitchen, garage, and family room before your hallway closet. Once you see how nice it looks, you will want to work on the hidden areas. * Use drawer dividers for socks, underwear, lingerie, and tiny items, to keep them separated and organized. This works well for both silverware and office supplies too. * Give everything in your house a place of its own. This way your family will know exactly where to find it and where to put it away. * Establish one defined place in your house for storing library books, and end a house-wide hunt when it is time to read or return them. *Hang hooks for your keys and purse at the entry to your home, so each time you walk in, you can hang them up. * Set aside one basket for you and your partner for incoming mail, bills, and receipts and letters. This way everyone will know where these important items are when needed. Keep all important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards and medical insurance information in one folder. * Get rid of things that are not needed any long. Expired coupons, old prescriptions, magazines you might get around to reading someday. All these take away space you could be using for items you do need and use. You will free your mind to remember more important things like appointments and birthdays when you are organized. Be attentive about thoroughly cleaning once a month and you will find it much easier to keep up, week-by-week. An organized house does indeed help unclutter your mind. "I'll Do It Later" We all find ourselves falling into the procrastination mode at times. When this becomes our main way of life, however, we become disorganized. Success is not achieved out of the blue. It is a orderly, purposeful course of deciding what you want to do with your life, what you will do after you get there, and what the steps are to get you where you want to be. Mental pictures are a means to guide you down the path of true freedom and inspiration. Procrastination is a self-defeating behavior that develops in part owing to low self-esteem and apprehension of disappointment. A number of small jobs done over time are greatly more controllable that one big task with no end in sight. You'll be amazed at how much you can get done if you focus on one thing at a time instead of cluttering your mind with multiple tasks When you exercise self-discipline in your environment as well as your behaviors, you will make major strides in accomplishing your goals in a shorter period of time. No matter what is happening around you, keep your mind focused on the reward you'll receive by reaching your goals. If people or outside forces distract you, use the power of the human mind to block out what impedes your growth and focus exclusively on the task at hand. You will make extraordinary advancement by refusing to let others change the path you have selected. Overcoming procrastination and staying motivated is the way to lifetime success and happiness. You'll attain your goals quickly when you stay focused on your purpose and the rewards that will follow. Review your habits and method of thinking to settle on what you are visualizing most of the time. If your visions do not guide you in the course of accomplishing your goals, then you must change them. Five Ways To Get More Done 1. Avoid interruption: If possible, leave your phone on voice mail during times you have scheduled to work on projects. If you have a private office, close your door. You might even place a sign saying something like "Hard at Work: Please Come Back Later." If you are interrupted, help keep the interruption short by remaining task-oriented. 2. Schedule time to make phone calls and return e-mail. When you leave a phone message, list times that you will be available by phone. Ask the other party to do the same -- it will save you both a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on everyone's favorite game, phone tag. Also, avoid checking your voice mail and e-mail frequently. Instead, review them at scheduled intervals during the day. 3. Plan stress breaks throughout the day. Make sure you give yourself a break! Working to the point of total brain fatigue and muscle tension will never do you any good. Stretch, take some deep breaths, and go out to get your lunch, call your kids -- do something to give yourself a little break. If you'd like, you can schedule these breaks as a reward for when you've finished a particular chore. 4. Appreciate your own approach. Just as we are all different in other ways, we all have diverse organizational styles. Keep in mind that you have gotten where you are today because of whom you are and what you have accomplished. Employ improved organizational skills to enhance your personal style, not change it. Getting organized should make you feel good, not burdened. 5. Stick to your plan. The best-laid plans often fall victim to their makers. While spontaneity is important, there is a fine line between it and plain procrastination. Once you've come up with a good plan for tackling a task, stay with it. Only you can prevent yourself from wavering. Finding Time To Organize Finding time to organize is often a complaint used by people. In today's society, activity is almost non-stop and it IS difficult to see where you can add yet another task to your schedule. However, there are ways, hidden pockets of time, to accomplish things. Below are a few of these often overlooked free periods. * FOCUS ON A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME: Rather than thinking about the enormous job at the forefront, split that mission up into controllable tasks. For instance, if you want to organize the boxes in your attic, you may think about going through one box per day, until it's all complete. * ASK SOMEONE TO BUG YOU: Tell a close friend, relative or co-worker, what you plan to organize, and by what date. Then, merely request that person to bug you a small number of days before to see if you've completed it so far. A little outside inspiration is frequently an enormous help. * BRIBE YOURSELF: Make something you love to do, dependant on the achievement of today's chore. If you promise yourself that you will not watch your favorite television program tonight, unless you work for 15 minutes on organizing your paper piles, you're sure to get that little task completed. No cheating permitted. * DO NOT SEPARATE EACH PENDING BILL: Whatever you do, don't put your utility bill in one folder, your car insurance bill in another folder and your membership dues bill in another. All imminent bills should be together in an envelope, pocket folder or basket so they can be paid without having to search several different places to find them. * FIT IN EXERCISE BY MULTI-TASKING: Do some calisthenics or ride a stationary bike while watching your favorite television program. Do some easy stretches, while you're on the telephone and you're on hold. Waiting for the washing machine or dryer to finish, or waiting for a computer file to download? Now is a great time for some sit-ups or leg lifts! Finding Balance Finding the balance between work and for play isn't easy at times. We exist in a world where anyone, at almost any time, can get a hold of us. Not to mention the reality that information is coming at us from everywhere. Newspapers, TV, radio, websites, ...the list can go on and on. Finding the time to work on your relationships with others, at home or at work, is an essential part of whether life seems controllable, pleasurable and balanced. However a lot of us feel so fragmented and overwhelmed because we aren't achieving that sense of balance. Like most people, we never appear to have sufficient hours in the day to get everything completed. Taking the time to make creative changes in your life can really mean the difference between simply making a living and having a LIFE. Take control of your physical environment. You can find roughly 333 more hours (Eight 40-hour weeks) in any given year by getting and staying organized. The less time you spend running around searching for things, the more time you will have for what is significant to you. Prioritize what is in fact needed and important to you. Be "ruthless" about what you keep. You have a finite amount of space-use the "real estate" for those things you need and treasure. Eliminate what you don't need. Not everything has to go the way of the dumpster. Donate to a charity or sell the items and allow yourself the freedom from feeling guilty or wasteful. If you aren't using it, chances are someone else can. Contain things properly. Consider about where you would look for items reasonably and what type of like bits and pieces can be contained right along with them. Schedule time to maintain your new found organized self and surroundings. Baby Steps To Getting Organized The truth is, you can possibly skyrocket your productivity at least 100% by simply organizing your belongings around your home and office. Here are some tools to help you when first embarking on your goal to organize your life. Formulate a plan: There is nothing that is more potent to achieving your goals than having a plan to start off. A lot of people set far too broad goals when first embarking on any area of their life. In order for this plan to fly, you have to have understandable, precise goals that are well defined and written out. Very likely, you will find it most successful to set long and short term goals. For instance, your long term goal could be getting your home organized in a year's time. Your short term goal could be getting one room in order within a month. After you have your goals in mind, write them down on paper and put that paper in a place you can view it often. Knowing a target in your head is not enough; it needs to be in a place where you can view it often and constantly motivate you to achieve your goals. Finally, you need to determine why you want something. It's not enough to simply want to get organized-you need to know why you have this desire. Without wanting something whole-heartedly, it will be nearly impossible to achieve it. While the above tips may seem simple, it is incredible how many people set out to achieve a target without knowing what they want to get done. The simplest and yet most potent force to achieving your goals is knowing where you are going and why you are going in that direction. Follow these tips, and you will organize your life faster than you ever thought possible. An Organized Office Instead of using somebody else's definition of organization, let me ask you: How organized do you want to be? When we talk about getting organized people usually get an impression of a spick and span office with not a paper out of place. But my experience has taught me that a neat office does not necessarily have to be a very organized office. If you throw away every single piece of paper that comes to your office, certainly your office will be neat but not organized. I believe that organizing is a relative term. It is all a matter of convenience. In an organized office there will be a place for every thing and everything will be in its place. But at the same time you should be able to lay your hands on the object you need the moment you need it. And in this respect a little bit of clutter is ok. It is not enough that you know where every thing is, somebody else should know it too. In case you are not able to come in person and get something, somebody else should be able to do the job for you. It is here that labels and tags can prove to be very important. Every single file should have a label and every thing should be filed properly. It is not enough that you name things according to your convenience. The names should make sense to others as well. For every working man or woman, the following are often pitfalls: * Forgetting Appointments * Forgetting Deadlines * Being Unable to meet deadlines * Being late for meetings and Appointments * Forgetting Names * Forgetting Telephone Numbers * Forgetting to take important documents and things along * Misplacing Objects and so on By organizing your office, you can avoid most, if not all of the above maladies. In the end, both time and money are saved. A Double-Sided Coin I have two questions for you. How do you feel about yourself? How well organized are you? Notice that if you feel fairly well organized then you probably feel rather good about yourself, i.e. your self-esteem is probably high. In fact, if you are reading personal development books, listening to audio programs or attending seminars on personal development and self-esteem, then chances are you're caught in a circle. You do some personal development, and you feel better, and you get on with life, but the disorganization of your life catches up with you and so you go back to doing a bunch of personal development. Self-esteem and personal organization are essentially two sides of the same coin. The coin that opens those gateways to all success. You can focus on either of those sides separately, but in the end organization depends on self-esteem, and vice versa, self-esteem depends on getting organized in your career development and personal life. By emotionally getting involved with taking extra control of your personal areas at work and home you will start feeling proud of your surroundings, and ever more competent at getting organized. Focusing intellectually on how to get organized, and emotionally super-charging that effort for all the positive emotions that come from being organized, will boost your self-esteem. And that provides ever more fuel to get organized even more. Self-esteem and Getting Organized create a self-supporting positive feedback mechanism. The more you improve on one of them, the more the other will improve. Your two pronged attack is to work on both, be mindful of both, understand how they both inter-relate, and ultimately combine as two sides of the same coin. The coin that affords your every desire, and inevitably brings you all that you deserve. The Aura of Organizing The aura a room or workspace gives off helps with organizing. If you feel good in a space, you want to make it the best possible. In designing and organizing your rooms and workspaces, here are a few elements that you can work on to get organized. Red, orange and other related hues create an illusion of warmth and small space, which people usually do not like. So for a cooler and more spacious look, it is preferable to choose among the hues of blue to green. While it is generally useful to have a roomy space, having such amenity may become a burden since it compromises communication among residents of the house or members of the office. Most importantly, it may command enormous amounts to purchase and maintain. Meanwhile, small spaces can be organized to create illusions of space. Furthermore, well-placed cabinets and shelves can serve various purposes such as space dividers, as decorations, and as file organizers. A clever manipulation of lighting and home decorations is the most important element in providing a good ambience. Yellow lighting usually contributes to the coziness of a place, as well as a lot of sofas, floor cushions, candles, native ornaments, smoked glass windows, and light wooden furniture. On the other hand, white fluorescent bulbs and a lot of plastic and metals (steel chairs, synthetic decors, glass windows and Formica tabletops) make for a busy-looking office. Meanwhile, pastel colors and cartooned wallpapers provide for an innocent, child-like look perfect for relaxing. In organizing space, especially for an office, the other elements may have to be compromised for utility. Excessive decorations are generally not advisable since they interfere with the workflow. Furniture must be limited to filing cabinets, tables, and chairs. Less is definitely more when it comes to organization and efficiency at work. Ten in Ten 1. Set aside one minute per folder and recycle any papers you no longer need. 2. Set a timer for ten minutes, grab a garbage bag, open the junk drawer, pick through anything no longer needed and toss it in the garbage. 3. Go through your clothes closet and choose five articles of clothing you never wear. Put them in a donation bag, to be given to your favorite charity. 4. Walk around your home for ten minutes with a hamper (or have your kids do this) and put any stray toys into the hamper. Tomorrow, make your 10-minute organizing project to put all the toys back in their proper homes. 5. Write out all of your birthday, anniversary and other greeting cards for one month. Address them, stamp them and send them out. 6. If you dread spending an entire hour each time you have to pay your bills, just take ten minutes each day to do this task instead. Leave your bill paying supplies out and available, so that you can pay the bills as you get them without having to take all of your supplies out each time. 7. Whether you've been meaning to make an appointment with a doctor, your accountant, a repairman or a friend, take 10 minutes at this moment to do so. 8. Spend 10 minutes deleting any email you no longer need from your inbox. 9. Whether the surface is a table, a dresser, a desk or an ottoman, remove any clutter so you can actually see the surface again. File any papers needing filing, return any stray items to their rightful homes and toss any junk. 10. Toss old makeup you never use, expired prescriptions and anything else you don't need. Save your treasured room for the belongings you in fact use. Taming the Paper Monster Paper sometimes takes over our lives and is often the worst thing to get organized. Below are a few tips on how to tame that paper beast in your home or office. Utilize your filing system effectively. Figure out what system will work best for you -- client files versus project files, color coding, and so on. Once you've worked out your system, make sure to use it. File all relevant information in the right file. It's also helpful to attach blank sheets of paper to the inside right back flap of file folders. Then, you can take notes on applicable conversations, memos, and meetings right where you need them. Employ a task list for projects. Think through the project step by step. Then, create a list for all these steps, or tasks, to help you get them completed. Keep your task list stapled to the inside front cover of your project file. That way you can refer to the list whenever you work on that project. Avoid paper piles. There are normally two things that happen to information buried in a paper pile -- either it is forgotten or it can't be found when you need it. Paper piles are like the plague -- they should be avoided at all costs. When you acquire a piece of paper, you should do one of three things: file it, write the information down elsewhere (such as in your scheduler) and toss it, or simply toss it. Avoid always putting information on sticky notes and other tiny pieces of paper: If you need to write something down, put it on your Master Plan or on your to-do list. While it's okay to use a reminder such as a sticky note every once in a while, using such notes all the time will make them less obvious and-as a result-less helpful.
Steps to Contentment Today's lifestyle is full of constant information and non-stop activity. By getting organized, you will be able to lessen the stress of every day life and gain more enjoyment, productivity and success in your overall existence. Below are several things you can do to make your life easier. As you streamline your belongings and manage your time, you will begin to find more hours in your day to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor: * Set long-term and short-term goals. What will you be happy with for now? What would you like it to look like by the end of the year? Sometimes doing things a little at a time in order to achieve the higher goal is better. * Develop a system for paper, files and bills. By keeping on top of the paper filing, paying bills and keeping notes you will eliminate 20% of your stress in keeping up a household. * Keep your organizing simple. Always remember to WORK SMARTER-NOT HARDER, take things down to the most simplistic form, it is usually the best way, easiest way and less expensive. * Learn how to throw things away or donate them. Haven't used it in a year? Get rid of it! Doesn't fit or haven't worn it? Get rid of it! Has needed mending for over 6 months? Fix it or get rid of it! Get the idea? * Plan ahead and learn to save time. If you know that you will need supplies and you already plan on getting them, make a list before you start your project and go and get everything that you will need. The job will go much faster because you will be so excited to see what it will look like. Organizing and planning ahead equal peace of mind and contentment. Don't you deserve that? Start Today Here are several things you can do today to start getting organized. A few simple things and you will immediately feel more in control of your environment. Everything in your home or office should have a home -- a regular and suitable place where that article is usually kept. Some items that you use every day, can be on display and/or readily accessible for everyday use. Other stuff like holiday decorations or out of season garments, can be stored in an out-of-the- way area in anticipation of being required. When an object strays from its 'home,' it can easily be lost, therefore causing stress and frustration. Clutter build-up as you would expect occurs when items are not kept and/or returned to their homes. You do not have to say yes to every single demand for your aid. Schedule a set quantity of time every week for chance requests. Once that time window is full, do not take any more requests for your time that week. Do not bring your mail over to your writing desk or table where it is bound to stack up and take hours to go through later. Open it right over the recycling bin, and get rid of all uncalled for mail and inserts without more ado. Stop wasting morning time frenetically running around like a crazy person trying to get things completed in order to get to work on time. Do whatever you can to get ready the night before. Set the breakfast table. Set out your clothing, and your kids' clothing. Have the coffeepot launch automatically by using the timer. Stuff that is out-of-date, washed out, out of order or otherwise unusable can frequently be discarded. If you do not want it, and you do not know anyone else who wants it, chuck it at the moment. You will be freeing your space -- and your mind! Start Organizing Do you frequently study articles about organizing and they have similar words for helping you get organized; only they are just rearranged? Make an effort to follow some easy ways to achieve the job and reduce the stress. It will be worth the effort. * Look at the all-over picture of your home or hire a professional organizer. Go through every room and make your mind up what it is that you want to do with that room and write it down. * See if you can find any hidden storage areas in your room. Decide if you want to add another shelf in the closet, use the storage space on the inside of a door, maybe use under the bed storage. * Choose organizing products you like and that make you feel good. Do you want to use Rubbermaid or are the items in a hidden area where a cardboard box will do. Using things that you like will give you a better feeling of a job-well- done. * Consider daily activities and routines in your home. Place items where they are going to do you the most good. Something that you use on a daily basis should not be on a high shelf. The vacuum cleaner should be kept in or near the room you use it the most. * Know why you want to get organized. Are you doing this for yourself and to make your life easier and time saving, or are you doing it because someone told you to or your neighbor is doing it? In order to do a job 100% to your liking you need to do the job right or not at all. By not having your heart into it, you will get stressed, frustrated, waste money and not have a useable time saving solution to your problem. Some Simple Efficiency Changes at Work: Organize your workspace for healthy computing, Prioritize tasks which are important, urgent, both or neither, and energize yourself by getting plenty of rest, eating and drinking all of the right things and exercising regularly. Take plenty of mini breaks, exercise on and off the PC, and staying focused will contribute to a sense of continual well-being. Take some time to block distractions and dangers. Install a firewall to your computer, or have one installed to make yourself invisible to hackers and intruders. Add mail-filtering software to cut down on SPAM. Use an online software memo pad. Download freeware that'll let you do a pop up or 'Post-It' note on your screen. You may find the software will also retain your notes in one folder. Whenever you remember something that needs to be done, the very best thing to do is write it down. Then, just as you need to recall it, it will be there for you in an instant Remove clutter. Cleaning gives order and purpose to your life, even if you only do a bit at a time. Tidy your desk, clean out, store or remove dead or surplus information from your PC. Get and regularly run software that removes dead links, duplicate files and empty folders. Most of this can be scheduled to run automatically or when you aren't there. Your computer will work better too! Use timers and alarms. Take advantage of alarm clocks and timers throughout your day to stay organized at your work. Have to have a report ready by noon? Set your pop up PC alarm clock as a memory jogger to remind you. Want to leave for an anniversary meal by 8 p.m.? Set your offline timer to beep a few minutes before it is time to get ready. With a few simple changes, your work life can be less hectic and much more productive. Reduce the Stress Every one of us can use a little less stress in our lives. So often we try to follow the super-human scenario of trying to be all things to all people, all of the time. What happens is we become burned out both emotionally and physically. This doesn't have to be the case. Grab a lot of index cards and write a specific goal on each--anything you think of that you want to do. Arrange the cards so that the goals you MOST want to attain are on top, and the less essential goals go behind. Then, write deadlines on each of your top three cards, break each goal down into mini-goals, and schedule time to achieve each of them. Clean a bit each day. Obtain some index cards and write a cleaning task down on each. Place all of your cards in a box, and draw one each day--that's your cleaning task. Be sure to include some FREE DAY cards in your box. If you draw one of them, you don't have to do any cleaning for the day. Traffic delays occur for all sorts of reasons. If you discover you can't take your original route, you'll have to go another way. Know your alternate routes, before you leave your home or office. This way, you'll be able to allow for extra time. There are very few things you can do that will only take 5 minutes or less to complete. For example, you may think it takes 5 minutes to check your e-mail, but very often, it takes 15 minutes or more. Once you get into your e-mail program, dial up, read a few letters, perhaps respond to a few, and then close your program, that original 5 minutes often is long gone. Allow for more time than you think you'll need. Organizing Your E-mail Despite the fact that there is no disagreement email has enhanced the way we do business, it has definitely brought complications with its sheer quantity and potential for interruptions. Below are a few tips in managing email: * Allow yourself 15-20 minutes at the beginning of each day to scan your Inbox. Make decisions swiftly on as many as feasible. Your options consist of: Delete, Forward, Save, File, Schedule an appointment or create a task for future attention. * Attempt to limit the amount of times you check your email each day to four to six times. For some, this is easier said than done. If you check your email 15 times in an average 8-hour day, you are interrupting your focus every 32 minutes. * Turn off any sort of instant messaging service or email announcement. The messages that appear in the lower corner of your computer screen are like toddlers pulling at your pant leg. They keep on begging for your attention until you stop what you are doing and turn to them. Interruptions lower productivity levels and email is no exception. * Set up suitable folders in your email management program. Making swift decisions on email will be easier once you have the proper folders set up. Since mail stored here a lot of times counts against your storage quota, look at these files as a place to store emails associated with existing projects only. * Lay down regulations to presort your email. You can make a decision to sort emails automatically into file folders instead of allowing them to land in your Inbox. Then when you are prepared to center on a particular job, that file folder already contains any relevant emails By following the simple steps above, you will find your day becomes much more productive. Organizing Your Papers It has been projected we make use of twenty percent of our possessions eighty percent of the time. If we apply this to paper are we in actuality only using twenty percent of the paper fit to bust from our filing cabinets? Hard to see, but pretty probably correct. Below are a few tips to put into practice in your mission to better manage the paper found in your office: Set up a system for receiving, reviewing and storing your daily mail. This may be a simple inbox sitting in close proximity to or on your desk. The main thing is to have an exact place designated to hold incoming items. An outbox will add even greater organization. When it comes to filing, remember the mantra "You file to retrieve. You do not file to store." Files exist to assist us, not to discourage us. Make sure you are filing stuff in a way that will permit you to recover them swiftly and only accumulate the papers that are beyond doubt needed. Take a good look at your current files. Do you know the contents of each and every one of your files? Are others able to retrieve things in your absence? Are they easy to get to with space for future growth? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, odds are you could do with spending some time sorting and eradication. Do not be tempted by the copy machine. If you are saving a document by electronic means, you most likely do not have to salt away a hard duplicate too. Organized offices and homes compel productivity upward, increase competence and assist you to juggle the demands of both. As you develop systems to keep you organized, you will be able to transform your life, not just your space. Organizing Your Garage While you are organizing, don't forget to take a look at your garage. Set aside two successive days for organizing your garage. One day for tearing it apart and putting it back together and the next day for organizing wall space. You will need to take everything out, boxes, bikes, lawnmowers, snow blowers etc. Take this time to sweep out bugs, dirt and more! Decluttering is just as essential in this space as any other in your home. Once you have made decisions about what you are keeping, it is time to define categories for storage. Don't disregard the storage room above the overhead doors that can be used for long flat things. Once you have created your categories, put things that you use the most in simple access and things that are 'sometime' things can go up higher. Utilize wall and ceiling space to maximize your vicinity. Put up shelves to place boxes on and label them so you can 'look and find'. Garage items can be very weighty and need extra support, you might want to add extra supports or make them out of wood. Metal shelving units are fashionable, but don't forget to use the wall space at the top of the wall. Shelving can go up here, be out of the way and is great for those things you only use once or twice a year. Well-built plastic containers with lids are an outstanding way to keep bugs and dirt away. Tag everything you have in containers for easy searching. Being able to actually use your garage and find everything without wasting time hunting for it are rewards for your hard labor. Do you have any idea how much money you are going to save without having to go and purchase new items for the things you lost? Organize Your Money If you haven't balanced your checkbook in awhile, lose your received bills before they're paid, or put off filing your tax returns because it's too complicated to get everything together, then it's most likely time to organize your money. Below are five quick ideas: 1. Merge your credit cards. Rather than having a lot of different credit cards, consolidate all of your expenses on one credit card. This can result in less uncertainty over which card to use, it can give you a better idea of how much debt you're accumulating, it may give you more back for your dollar, and you'll only have to write out one payment check per month. 2. Employ a bill paying system. As soon as you get bills in the mail, they should instantly be placed into a bill paying system. Use that same bill paying system to store paid bill summaries, being certain that every category are in its own folder or envelope. Doing this makes it very easy to look something up when needed. 3. Organize your expenses, while you spend. As you spend, just record that outlay. This can be called your Expense Summary. A computer program like Quicken or a straightforward spreadsheet is great for this purpose, or you can do this with paper and pen. 4. Balance your checkbook monthly. In order for you to have an idea of how much money is sitting in your checking account, which checks have cleared, and any errors that you or your bank may have made, you have to balance your checking account. It doesn't take that long if you balance your checkbook the same day your statement and canceled checks arrive back from the bank each month. 5. Keep your tax-related stuff together. Before tax season, you'll start to receive tax related information from your job, your bank, etc. Keep all of these tax-related papers in a labeled file folder. This way, when you're ready to do your taxes, you won't have to search for the papers you need. Organize Your Memories The longer you exist, the more memories you're going to have. If you're not watchful, you can fill your house to the rim with your memories, and you won't have room for everything else. Have one or two plastic containers to store your memorabilia. Decide what you really wish to keep, and what you can do without. When these containers are filled, the rule is to get rid of, or give away, one thing before you put another item in. This will guarantee only the most prized memories are stored in your Memory Box(es). While packing clothing for a trip, lay out all you think you'll require on your bed -- then, put half of it back in your closet. Most people take way more than is essential and end up hauling needless weight along the way. Chances are, you'll be able to wear each outfit at least two times, especially if you mix and match different tops with different bottoms. Organizing your home or office does take a quantity of energy. That's why knowing your peak energy level is so essential. If you're an early bird and your energy level is very high in the morning, that's the best time for you to de-clutter. If you have more energy at night, organize during that time instead. With the quantity of things you have to keep in mind in any given day, why should you try to stuff it all into your memory bank? When you want to remember something, the very best thing to do is write it down. Then, when you need to recall it, it will be there for you in an instant. If you're at the office, and you want to do something when you arrive home, call your answering machine and leave yourself a message. When you get home, you'll listen to your message and remember exactly what you wanted to do. Organize to Remember Part of getting organized is remembering to do things. Many of us have problems with memory. It is no wonder with all the things we must do and remember as we go about our daily lives. Below are a few tricks that will help you remember people, appointments and tasks that need done each day. Accept the fact that we cannot rely too much on our memories. Carry a small note pad and a pen with you all the time. The instant you set an appointment or are asked to attend a meeting, jot it down in the pad. Every time you tell somebody to do something or when somebody like your boss asks you to do something write it down in your book along with the date and the time. If you have an electronic pocket organizer be sure to use it. Every time someone gives you his or her telephone number, directly enter it into your pocket organizer, along with the person's name. Utilize the backside of business cards to help your memory. Jot down a few points about the person and probably the reason for meeting him or her and the place as well. This will certainly lessen the load on your memory. But take never to do it in front of the person. Prepare a to-do list everyday. I cannot over emphasize the importance of to-do lists in getting yourself organized. It is probably the most sensible thing that a busy person should do. Have a fixed timetable. It may seem kind of mechanical but it would be wonderful if you could have a fixed time for everything and try to stick religiously to the time table. Believe me it really helps because in that way you will have time for everything and everything can be done in the time for it. Listing Your Way to Efficiency Checklists are the greatest way to get organized for any occasion. Most of us make a grocery list before going to the store, why not make a list for everything else in life? The benefits greatly outweigh the time that it may take to make one. The more checklists that you make, the quicker you will get at it. Following is some general ideas for checklists: * Checklist for everyday. Start your mornings by making a list of all the things that you need to accomplish each day. Carry it with you and mark each item off when completed. This will give a great feeling of accomplishment and closure. * Household maintenance. Develop a household maintenance list divided into months Every month may have a day to change the filter on your furnace or central air unit. Check the list a few months in advance to see if you need to schedule specific maintenance people to do a job for you. * Weekly cleaning list. A weekly cleaning list should be developed and hung on the wall for everyone to see. Beside each job include the person's name that is accountable for the job that week. Make sure they mark off the job when completed. * Car Maintenance checklist. Schedule times when you need to make appointments for an oil change and general car maintenance. Developing checklists for your life will go a long way in reducing stress. Having a list will also make it easier to assign tasks to other people in your household. The great thing about these checklists is they can all be stored on your computer and printed out as needed. Or if you prefer, create a special binder for all of your checklists. Once you start making checklists, you will wonder how you ever lived without them. Organizing Pitfalls Have you ever considered why you may be having trouble getting organized? Below are the top five reasons. Check and see if you are falling into one of these traps. 1. The 'I'd Rather Do Something Else' Mindset. Let's face it. We'd all rather be doing something fun, correct? One way to overcome this problem is to schedule your organizing projects for first thing in the morning. Do your project for an hour or so, and be done with it. Once it's out of the way, your day will be free to do things that you really enjoy. 2. The 'All or Nothing' Philosophy. You may be unwilling to begin an organizing project because you only like to start things that you know you can conclude in one session. Waiting until you can do 'the whole thing' often ends up in nothing getting done. 3. Broad Goals and Priorities Just making the statement, 'I have to get organized,' is too open. It often results in an overwhelmed, 'I don't know where to start' feeling. Instead of saying you want to get organized, make a list of the exact things you'd like to organize, such as your bedroom closet, or your filing cabinet at work, or your schedule. 4. A Sense of Attachment. Sometimes it's really hard to part with things because you may feel a sense of attachment. It is imperative to decide what things are 'really' important to you and what things are just taking up space. 5. Fear of Failure. One of the major reasons for not starting an organizing project is fear of failure. You may feel that since you haven't been able to get organized for so many years, that it will be impossible for you to get organized now. Or, you may feel that even if you do manage to get it organized, you might not be able to keep it up. Positive thinking is a must!! Organize your Clothes Shopping Trips to Make the Most of your Budget Some of us love it, some of us hate it. Regardless, clothes shopping can be an expensive venture, and without proper planning and the careful consideration of certain factors, it can well turn into an exercise in futility, resulting in wasted time and money. To make your clothing budget stretch as far as possible, consider a few of these points before making your shopping list. Probably the most important thing to consider when purchasing your wardrobe is to find pieces that work for you. A warehouse job does not dictate a three- piece suit, just as an office job does not dictate work boots or gloves. Since you spend 1/3 of your day at work and sometimes more, it's important to have practical items in your closet that work for your job. Make sure you try things on and buy the size that is right for you. You might be required to go down a size for some clothing lines, and up for others. Pay attention to the way it looks and the way it fits, not what the sizing tag says. Proper fitting clothes help you look better, and feel better as a result. They'll also last longer if there are no stressed seams or are the correct length. Build your wardrobe around basic elements. Suits and separates can form the foundation of a great working wardrobe. Single and double-breasted long-sleeved blazers with matching skirts for women or pants for men or women are essential basics. Avoid using trendy clothes as building blocks for your wardrobe foundation, because one they become dated, it will cause the rest of your wardrobe to crumble as a result. Purchase basic building pieces in two or three colors that best complement your color and personal style to build your wardrobe. You'll then be able to mix and match pieces to create various looks quite simply and affordably. After you've obtained the basics in the colors and fit that's best for you, work on sorting your closet to make your morning routine simple and quick. Organize and categorize your clothing for easy selection and wearing. Hang jackets by sleeve length, color and garment length, or place near coordinating items to make finding a workable outfit easy.
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