Copyright 2006 Cari Vollmer Do you have a ton to do and have no idea where to start? Would you like to know with each step you take you’re heading in the right direction? Would you like to narrow your “to do” list down to a few key items and let go of the rest? Would you like to work smarter, not harder? The questions below will help you do just that. Answering these questions will help you find your focus so you can do what you want to do and feel great about your life while you’re doing it. 1. What do I care about most? Or, where is my heart leading me? Only when you allow yourself to do what you care about most will you begin feeling better about your life. Asking this question will give your HEART a space to speak and be heard. When we get wrapped up in all the “stuff” we have to do we often overlook what our heart wants. 2. What do I really, really want to do? Or, ask yourself “is this what I really want?” If the answer is “no”, ask yourself why you're doing it and then find a way to stop doing it. So much life is wasted doing things we don’t want to do. Doing what you really want is a process of identifying and letting go of the things that you don’t want and replacing them with things that you do want. Overtime you’ll rebalance your life to include MORE of what you want to do. This question will give your DREAMS an opportunity to come to life. This one question could set your life on a new course. 3. How do I want to feel while I’m doing what I’m doing? If what you’re doing doesn’t give you pleasure while you’re doing it, you may be on the wrong track. Why? Because “doing” takes up much more time then the result. The result happens once. We reach each goal only once and then it’s over. The journey to our goals is what fills our life with experiences. If you’re not feeling good during the “doing” (aka – the journey) is it really worth it? This question allows your SPIRIT to come alive – to be experienced. Give yourself permission to do things that feel good and you’ll live an inspired life. 4. What is the “for sake of what” behind what I’m doing? Another way to word this question would be, “In the big picture of my life what purpose does this action serve?” If the answer isn’t clear you may be letting life lead you. This question helps you CONNECT THE DOTS and make better choices for your life. Basing your actions on a clear purpose puts you in the driver's seat which means you are LEADING your life instead of letting it lead you. 5. What am I going to do? Make a list of all the things you care about and all the things you really want to do and prioritize them with a “1-2-3” approach. Rank your list in order of importance. Of course we make choices (decisions) about what we’re going to do all day long BUT how often do we make choices after asking questions 1-4? Answering the above questions FIRST will give you the opportunity to bring more of what you really want into your life. This question requires a CHOICE be made. Now you’ve narrowed your focus! 6. How am I going to do it? After narrowing your focus create a mini action plan for each item. Write down the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. Tip: only focus on 1 or 2 things at a time (ex: over the period of 1 month). Don’t try to do everything at once. That will just lead to overwhelm. Give yourself a chance to worker smarter and you will get more done. This question will inspire you to TAKE ACTION. Nothing happens without it. In order to create the life you want you have to give your dreams, heart and spirit a voice and space in your life. However, this alone won’t make things happen. You have to channel all these things into a clear course of action. Instead of jumping into your “to do” list, take some time to reflect upon these questions. By doing so you’ll put yourself on a life and/or business path that reflects more of what you really want. Determine your FOCUS first and you'll live a fuller, richer life.
Clutter is a big problem for many people. At a lecture that I gave, I asked for a show of hands regarding how many people had problems with clutter and disorganization. I was surprised to find that at least half the people raised their hands. One of my clients told me that she was trying to help her sister get back on her feet after her sister had been laid up with an illness and lost her job. Her sister’s house had always been a mess, and had become so filled with clutter that there was no place to walk or sit. My client, Rebecca, offered to buy her sister a car if she would clean up her house. Rebecca even offered to help her sister clean up the house. Rebecca was shocked when her sister refused the offer, even though she desperately needed the car. He sister was unwilling to get rid of the clutter. Why? Why was the “stuff” so important to her? Underneath all addictions lies fear - of emptiness, helplessness, loneliness and aloneness. Addictions are a way to feel safe from feeling these difficult and painful feelings, and an addiction to clutter is no exception. It’s all about having a sense of control over feeling safe. Clutter, like all addictions, provides a momentary feeling of comfort. However, as with any addiction, the clutterer needs more and more clutter to maintain the illusion of safety and comfort. When my mother died and my son was cleaning out her house, he discovered huge amounts of clutter. While my mother’s house always looked neat and clean, the cupboards and drawers were filled with clutter. My son told me he found 6 broken hair dryers in one cabinet. Why would my mother want to keep six broken hair dryers? My mother grew up during the depression and always had a fear of not having enough. No matter how much she accumulated materially, she never felt that she had enough. The six hair dryers made her feel safe from her fear, even if they didn’t work. Carrie has trouble throwing things away, especially magazines with “important’ information in them. She subscribes to many magazines but, being the mother of three small children, doesn’t often have the time to read them. So the magazines pile up and pile up. Carrie hopes at some point to have the time to read them, but that time never seems to come. When asked why she won’t throw them out, her answer is, “Because there might be something important in them and I don’t want to miss it.” Carrie fears missing out on some important piece of information – information that may give her the peace she is seeking. It makes her feel safer and in control to have all the magazines around her with their important information, even if she never gets to read them. When we don’t feel safe on the inner level, then we try to make ourselves feel safe on the outer level, and clutter is one way of doing that. Whether it’s things, such as hair dryers, or information, such as in magazines and newspapers, clutterers do not trust that they will have what they need. In addition, clutterers may be resistant people who see messiness and clutter as a way of not being controlled by someone who wants them to be neat. HEALING THE ADDICTION TO CLUTTER Clutter is created and maintained by a wounded, frightened part of oneself, the wounded self – the part that operates from the illusion of having control over people, events, and outcomes. As long as this wounded self is in charge of the decisions, the clutterer will continue to accumulate clutter as a way to provide comfort and the illusion of control over feeling safe, or continue to be messy as a way to resist being controlled. Healing occurs when the individual does the inner work necessary to develop a strong, loving adult self. A loving adult is the aspect of us that opens to and connects with a spiritual source of wisdom, strength, and love. A loving adult is capable of taking loving action in our own behalf. The loving adult operates from truth rather than from the false beliefs of the wounded self, and knows that the comfort and safety that clutter seems to provide is an illusion – that no matter how much clutter accumulates, the clutterer still feels afraid. The loving Adult knows that safety and integrity do not lie in resistance. Only a loving adult who is tuned in to the guidance provided by a spiritual source and capable of taking loving action in one’s own behalf can create a sense of inner safety. Practicing the six steps of Inner Bonding that we teach develops this powerful loving adult.
Writing is a solitary task. Writing needs concentration and quiet. Writing requires absolute commitment. Are all there scary statements true? What is more, is it possible to balance your writing career and family without turning yourself into a zombie? Everything is feasible; I am the living example of it. There is only one secret: TIME PLAN. This is step one for the aspiring writer's success. Without it, nothing can be achieved. How can you do it? Simply make a rough plan of the time allowed to your writing project every day. It is highly important for the writer to know exactly WHEN he /she is going to settle down and write, feeling free of all the other responsibilities that he has. I have made a simple schedule. You can work out yours according to your family needs. Every morning just after breakfast, and as soon as the family have gone, I allow myself to work on my PC for one to two hours, depending on the workload of the day. Then I go on with the house chores and all the rest of the family tasks till noon. At 2 o' clock everybody is back so I serve lunch, but after that I have 2-3 hours free to work on my morning assignment. Thus, there is plenty of time to care for the family , while in the afternoons I still have time to go to my part time job in time , feeling satisfied I have worked at home on my project. In the evening I sometimes find an hour or so , when the family watch TV . This time I sit with them in the living room , having pre arranged to do the easiest tasks for my writing job, such as note taking or layout planning of new stories or articles. I use pen to paper and I don't bother if I make mistakes. Next morning, there is plenty of time to revise them and complete them. If this plan has been working perfectly for me, why not for you as well? You only have to calculate when and how long you need to write every day. Of course , you must stick to your plan and never give it up , apart from very urgent cases. Remember that your work is also urgent, so never skip it. If you respect your writing job, the others will do so too. What is more, they won't feel neglected as you will give them your care and attention at the time they are around. Furthermore, your house chores will be done in time and you won't feel overworked. Many a times I used to end up with half burned meals and I felt extremely stressed trying to catch up with all the house chores before the family was back home. So, telling yourself ‘I’ll do it later’, it’s not the solution. ‘Later’ will come in no time and you will find yourself in a very difficult situation. Yet, no one will believe your excuses as you have been in the house the whole morning , and you will feel inefficient for no reason at all! "A little every day" is my motto, and, in the long run, everything is done and everybody is happy. Keeping your writing and family under control will make you feel satisfied and everyone, including you, will be happy. Also, keep in mind that there is nothing odd if you work in unconventional places. I sometimes find it stimulating to work in the living room with all the family around. Noise does not bother me, on the contrary, it brings me more ideas. This article was outlined last evening while we were all watching a football match. Well, the truth is I did not watch much of it! I was absorbed in my new article, but that's how this idea sprang out. I can perfectly work in a chatty setting. Have you tried it? You may come up with fresh ideas and great articles. Finally, who says that writing can turn you into a zombie? Shatter the myth! It's up to you to enjoy both your family and your writing career. Simply make a time plan! Ends 711 words
Professional Organizer's are becoming increasingly popular, for a very good reason. The past decade has seen life become increasingly sophisticated yet far less labor intensive for most of us. If you want to get and stay ahead, make use of professional organizer services, or what I call 'efficiency services'. We outsource more and more tasks in our home to other companies just as if our home life was a business. A few of the efficiency services that you probably use include: Delivery services, car wash, launderette, various home maintenance, etc. Now more of us can afford for those chores to be taken care of by others, what is there left for us to do? How can we use our money to maximize the opportunity of our time? That is where professional organizers come in. Imagine what a professional organizer working for you could do for you personal organization. Everything comes from organization. As a professional organizer I consult with many people to organize everything in their life, organize goals, organize home, organize time, etc. I have chosen three core tips to help you choose a professional organizer that is suitable for you personally. This may seem strange but I believe the skill of listening is one of the most important that a good professional organizer can have. If the professional organizer can not fully and completely listen to everything you are about and where you are coming from they will never be able to take you to a level of personal organization that satisfies you. Choosing a professional organizer can be a cause for anxiety itself, which defeats the point of organization services. So here are some key insider tips from a professional organizer, on how you can choose a good professional organizer for your own style and way of doing things. Make a list of 10 or so professional organizers by doing a search online or in a phone directory. Contact them by phone or email and let them know you are contacting 9 others to find one suitable for you. This lets them know they can not 'hard sell' you. Take a look at their website, read some of their articles, and read their reply email or hear them out by phone. Tell them you still have the others to contact before making your decision. A good professional organizer will approve of your organized approach. On your check list you need to score them on 'How good they listen to you and hear you out'. 'How interesting and thoughtful they're products and articles are'. 'How they're email response made you feel about them'. Those three factors alone will give you enough to be able to at least make a short list and might allow you to choose a professional organizer in no time at all. In modern life I believe time becomes so precious to the potential of opportunities and experiences life has to offer. Using a professional organizer will allow you to maximize the life opportunities you can take advantage of.
Is your house so messy you can never find what you’re looking for? Are you often late for work because you can never find your car keys? These tips will help save time and keep you more organized. Keep things in a place that makes sense. Drop your keys in a dish by the front door so you won’t waste time looking for them throughout the house. Put anything you need to take with you by the front door - outgoing mail, your briefcase or the library books that need to be returned. This will save you time in the morning because you won’t be running around trying to gather what you need for the day. Straighten up as you go. Pick up the newspaper and put in the recycle bin instead of leaving it on the coffee table. Fill the dishwasher after every meal instead of once a day. Put your groceries away rather than leave them on the kitchen table. How can you possibly know what food you do or don’t have if last week’s haul is still in the bag? This makes the kitchen an appealing place to enjoy a meal instead of a constant reminder of chores that need to be done. Finish one project before starting another. I have a friend who has started to update his bathroom, never finished the project and is now working on his kitchen. His house is constantly in a state of confusion and he never manages to get any project completed because it’s now so overwhelming. Keep your bathroom tidy. Wipe up the sink and vanity top after you shave or wash your face and put your toiletries away. Doing these small things as you go keeps the bathroom looking cleaner in case unexpected guests stop by - you won’t have to be embarrassed if they ask to use the facilities. Organize your closets. If your closet is filled to capacity, you can’t see what you have. Instead of squeezing everything into your closet, keep out of season clothes in the spare bedroom closet. Keep shoes in boxes or shoe racks. Donate any garments that no longer fit or if you haven’t worn them in the past season. Don’t hang onto things you can’t use anymore because there is someone out there who will be grateful to have it. Keep your important documents and papers in a safe place. Birth certificates, passports, marriage license, divorce papers, the deed to your house and the title to your car should be filed in a fireproof lockbox. Better yet, they should be kept in a safe deposit box at a bank close to home so it’s convenient for you to retrieve them when needed. If you keep important financial information on your home computer, it’s a good idea to backup to a flash drive and keep this at the bank too. The cost of a safe deposit box is worth the peace of mind knowing you won’t have to replace these documents if they were ever lost in a disaster. Taking small steps every day to keep organized will help keep your casa cozy and clutter-free.
The most common problem most people have with getting rid of clutter and getting organized is not knowing how to begin or where to get started. So it gets put off until...later. Of course, the reasons are usually decent. For one, there's a lot going on in our lives. We go in so many directions and there never seems to be enough time to get anything done. And it's easier to put organizing off because you think it'll take up too much time right now. The other priorities -- like eating and sleeping (minor things, right?) of course take first on the list. But getting organized doesn't have to take a lot of time every single day. And if you don't start getting organized, even just a little bit at a time, there are some very real negative affects that, well, could kill you. A little drastic... I know. But the affect clutter and disorganization has on your health is very, very real. It adds stress to your already busy life. It sucks away your energy and makes you tired. In many people, it increases the symptoms of depression. But enough of the negative stuff! Here's how we can benefit from being organized and getting rid of clutter... - More sleep. - A better mood every day. - Better relationships. - Easier house management. - Your bills get paid on time. - More space. - More time to do things you actually enjoy! This is all very real stuff and getting organized should not be put on the back burner any longer. But I know...it's still too easy to put it off for "later." I will admit, the here and now makes it easier to pile things on the counter, on chairs and tables or toss things in closets and drawers. It's too easy to put things down and ignore my simple and important rule of "touch it once." Though, like I said earlier...clutter can be deadly. No joke. Back in January of this year a 62 year old woman from Washington was found dead under nearly six feet of dishes, boxes and "clutter" that apparantly collapsed on her. A very sad, and very drastic story. Take this poor woman's life back about thirty years. How many days went by when she procrastinated and said she would "get to it tomorrow." Now I hope your situation is not as drastic but reality is reality. And unless you get things under control right away, you just don't know what a disorganized house can lead to. At the very least I bet you're feeling stressed and a little frustrated with a real desire to simplify your life at home. It's not a lot to ask, is it? And we all know stress is not good. But maybe your situation isn't so out-of-control, and you just want to get rid of clutter and get your things in order. Or you need to manage papers better because once in a while you forget to pay a bill that was sitting somewhere in a pile (because you don't have a real system for your bills -- which you need.) No big deal, right? After all, what's a $5 payment here or a $35 late fee there? It adds up. So how 'bout you take a step towards ending clutter in your home and getting organized...before it kills you?
: Have you ever spent countless minutes, hours and even days searching for something you misplaced? Have you even had an argument with someone you live with for misplacing something of his or hers? Have you ever missed an appointment because you forgot? Have you ever been halfway to your destination and remembered you didn’t bring what you needed? Do you have piles of papers, unopened and opened mail that you will get to someday? Do you have that nagging notion constantly telling you to get organized? Have you read books and/or articles on how to get organized? Have you purchased organizational aids to help you and then never used them? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, obviously you are not organized to the point you want to be. There is a very simple solution to this problem. I am sure you are thinking, “Yeah, right”. You have tried everything and nothing has worked so far. I have a tried and proven method to get you organized and eliminate all that wasted time spent trying to get organized. I know there are countless books on the subject. I know you can spend money on books, CD’s, videos and even go to courses to get the desired results but I am going to give you a secret. If you are serious about getting organized, you will get the results, using ONE little secret. It is a secret my father taught me when I was a little girl and it still works today – every time!! REMEMBER It takes thirty days to break a habit and form a new one. But, the exciting part is that you can get results immediately. Each time you take a baby step in the right direction, it will pay off big time in the end. The more progress you make the closer you are to becoming ORGANIZED. To some that is a dirty word – because it seems so impossible. Do you have any idea how much time you will have to do the things you want to do when you are not wasting your time trying to find something? To find out the secret to making your life more organized go here: Visit my site
This is a time of year when many people take stock of all that they are grateful for -- or at least when we should do so. But this should also be a time when we take stock of all those people who contributed to those gifts -- especially the intangible ones. Those gifts such as our self-esteem or confidence, our love of sports or music, and our spine. What person or group do you owe the greatest debt? Was there a special person or group that really helped you become the person you are today? Was there someone who helped you believe in yourself and your ability? Was there someone who taught you to appreciate life in a new way? Was there just someone who was there so you could count on them no matter what? Most of us have been fortunate to have not just one person but a whole team of teachers, coaches, and mentors who helped us grow and reach our potential. We should remember to thank those people again and again as we live the lives they helped us shape. Even more important we need to repay that debt -- not to those individuals but to society. How is your debt? Have you paid it yet or are you still pretending it doesn't exist? We often hear the expression as it relates to criminals. It is sometimes used as a euphemism for incarceration. The truth is though that we all owe a debt to society. Not because we have done some harm to the community but instead because we have benefited from someone else doing good. I am a Presbyterian and our expression of the Lord's Prayer includes the phrase "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". Obviously no matter how good we are and how exemplary our lives we can never repay our debt to God or his son so that part of the meaning is rather clear. I also think this means that we should do good for goodness sake rather than any potential benefit we may reap from the act. I also think there is another level of meaning and this comes back to the central idea of our debt to society. I think when it comes down to acts of kindness there cannot be a one-to-one relationship. Obviously in many cases when a person is in need of help they may never be in a position to return that help in kind. But it isn't really what we want or need when we offer help or kindness in any case. Whenever I do something charitable, helpful, or kind, I tend to view the act as contributing to a vast fund of kindness. Many times in my life I have profited from this fund and very likely I will continue to profit from it. One of the reasons I like this concept is that I do think of it as a sort of fund or bank. The value grows exponentially rather than incrementally just as money would do if similarly invested. We should all be grateful for this because the truth is that we usually don't pay our debt to society. Most of us will write the occasional check, buy a ticket for some raffle, and/or spend a few hours working here and there on some pet project. There are a few who will go much further than this and spend a large portion of their time, energy, and/or money for the greater good but they are far too few. Often whenever we face pressure on our time or finances then it is our philanthropic activities that are the first to be sacrificed. I have been all too guilty of this myself. I wonder what would happen if we reversed this and instead put helping others first rather than last? My challenge to you this week is simply to find a way to add to our goodness fund. Borrow from the concept of "Pay It Forward". When someone offers you a helping hand then be sure to pass the favor along at the first opportunity. Don't pick and choose. Don't balance your checkbook first. Don't take the easy path. Do what is right. You will know it when you see it.
The first step is finding room for the stuff. Kids come with a lot of gear, from the time they’re babies until they’re out the door and into their own place. In the meantime, you have to find ways to accommodate everything from strollers and building blocks to hockey sticks and Barbie collections. When there’s a place for everything, there’s a better chance that the stuff will get put away. Don’t waste closet space. Add a shelving unit and storage bins, and put up hooks on the back of the closet door wherever possible. The small dresser that served your young child can be put into the closet at a later age. Children’s beds often come with storage compartments underneath, and nightstands can have either drawers or shelves. When children share a room, bunk beds and sleeping lofts are obvious choices for saving space. Teenagers, especially those 6-footers, may very well need a full size bed rather than the standard twin. Again, think storage space underneath or headboards that incorporate storage space. Even if your school-age child has a computer desk, he or she may still not have enough room for spreading out books and binders at homework time. Consider a large desk if there’s room, or maintain an open policy about using the kitchen or dining room table for homework. But remember that a young child’s feet should touch the floor to prevent restlessness, so if the dining room chair is too tall, use a box or stool under their feet. Toys and sports equipment can be kept under control by using storage chests, large plastic cubes, or shelving units with bins. Hall trees often come with a storage bench, and are a great solution for coats and boots and skates. Save yourself a lot of trouble by painting children’s rooms rather than using wallpaper. Children quickly grow out of cute prints, and new paint is a simple solution for changing tastes. Keep living room and family room furniture looking good by choosing fabrics with a high thread count and tight weave that clean easily and hold up to hard use. Flat weaves are better than textured fabrics for durability. The new microfibers are a good choice for surviving kids and pets, and nothing is easier than slipcovers that can be removed and washed. By the way, sectional sofas are very versatile, able to adapt to any room and comfortable for everyone in the family. Add a set of nesting tables that can be handily moved from room to room for games and projects. Don’t trip over the stuff of family life. There’s a way to make everyone happy . . . especially Mom.
A pact, according to Dictionary is "a formal agreement...such as one between nations." Well, I want you to have A-Pact with your clutter. Although this turns into more of a battle (that you win)...it's a great way to remember the steps to organization. Here's what it means and how it works ... A-->ASK Ask yourself what you want out of the room or area you're going to organize. What are the goals of the room? What are you shooting for by getting organized? And the thing is, you want to dig a little deep into how you want to benefit. This will help you get motivated and work towards the final goal. For instance, if you're going to start the process of organizing paperwork in your home office, the question is "why do I want to organize this space?" The answer could be "I don't ever want to have a late bill again" or "I want to find any document in less than two minutes." Once you've answered the question, then move onto step 2... P--->PILE What you do in this step is pile "like" items together. In your closet, you make a pile of all your shirts. Another pile of all your pants... Or let's say we're in your home office (or wherever you do keep paperwork.) Start with your file drawer, or grab a pile if that's what you've got for a "filing system." Put each piece of paper in "like" files. For example, all the insurance paperwork will go together. All of your 401K paperwork goes in another. All medical expenses from the present year in another. A--->ANALYZE Next you go through the piles and break them down even more, this time into two piles of "treasure" or "trash." I like to assign each category with treasure or trash so there's no in between. No room for "I'm going to decide on this later." No, decide right there and then if it's either staying or going. No in between. Now the thing is, the trash doesn't necessarily mean it's going to the garbage. That step comes next... and remember the saying, one man's trash (or junk) is another man's treasure. next... C--->CASH-IN This is where you go through the "trash" and break it down once more, deciding what can be donated, what can be sold, and what's going to the dumpster. Next step is where you get organized... T--->TIDY UP! This is where, once you've gotten all the "trash" out of the area, you organize the items you've decided to keep. Tidy up, put it back in an ordered, organized fashion. When you're organizing, always keep like items together whether on a shelf, in drawers or in any other type of storage you're using. Have items you use more frequently be more accessible and within reach, too. So there you go... Have A-PACT with your clutter today, okay?
1. Tell yourself that no matter what, some level of clutter with a child is going to happen. 2. Begin with messes and clutter that you see every day. Get organize your kitchen, garage, and family room before your hallway closet. 3. Use drawer dividers for socks, underwear, lingerie, and tiny items, to keep them separated and organized. 4. Use this same principle to organize your silverware, with clearly defined places for every fork and knife, or drawers for ties and socks or, underwear. Think in this same way for every aspect of your home. This will save many hours of searching for things. It will dramatically cut down on the clutter of items left out "for now" or "until I find a place for it." Develop a new mantra: everything has its place and a place for everything! 5. Allocate everything in your house a place. This way your family will know exactly where to find it and where to put it away, when they searches for something they need. 6. Keep items that are used frequently in places where you can reach them without stooping or bending, and store them close to the place they will be needed. 7. 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. 8. Hang hooks for your keys and purse at the entry to your home, so each time you walk in, you can hang them up. 9. Get rid of all junk drawers, or allow yourself just one that you clear out once a week or more. When you establish certain items are being used repeatedly, designate a drawer for those. 10. Enlist a new rule: throw out one old thing for every new purchase that enters your home. 11. Make a mental note to observe what things pile up in your house and where they cluster, and then come up with a place nearby that becomes the official home where those things will reside. For this purpose baskets, shelves, and folders will work well. Set aside one basket for you and your partner for incoming mail, bills, and receipts and letters. 12. Never go up or down empty-handed when using stairs. Always grab some items that belong to upstairs rooms and quickly put it away while you are there. 13. Create a number of brightly marked folders for discount coupons, invitations and directions, and other time-sensitive papers that just clutter your counters. 14. Things you don’t need any longer: · Expired medications. · Clothes you no longer wear. · Extra paper or plastic grocery bags. · Makeup and samples you have never worn. · Sunscreen that's expired or more than one year old. · Organize your coupons and throw out all that have expired. · Cookbooks you rarely use. Cut out your favorite recipes only. · Magazines you meant to read but have never taken the time for. · Stuff your crumpled plastic bags from your grocer inside a cardboard roll like a hand towel roll. Keep under your sink. You will free your mind to remember your daily chores by getting rid of your clutter and organizing your home top to bottom. Be vigilant about cleaning about once a month and you will find it much easier to keep up, week-by-week.
Some people have so much clutter and so much stuff all over the place, they think all it's going to take is some fancy storage system they have in the home improvement store and everything will be fine. A few shelves here and a few more drawers there... and presto! Everything is organized. But it's usually not the case. I used to have clients call me up because all they wanted was a "system" for their closet or garage. But when I get to their home, I realize the problem is much deeper and extremely common. TO MUCH STUFF! And usually, adding storage only masks a bigger problem. See, some people think just by putting in storage they can keep more stuff, when in fact all that's happening is you're moving things around, making you think you are more organized, but in reality you still have the same amount of clutter ... it's just a little neater. Which brings me to the point of "putting the cart before the horse." Before you even think about storage, you have to do a real, honest assessment of the things you own. I can almost guarantee you can get rid of some things. Clothes, books, tools, boxes of who-knows-what, spare parts, junk...junk...junk. So before you even think about spending money on storage systems - whether it's cheap metal shelving or high-end fancy shelving units, start with the horse. The clutter. Get rid of things you don't need. Clear off the counters. Empty the drawers. Have a yard sale and clear some space. Then, you can work on the cart.
It’s that time of year again—Garage Sale Season! If you have started your spring cleaning and decided it is time to get rid of your excess stuff, having a garage sale is a great way to accomplish that. You can take it a step further and become part of the new grass roots movement taking off across the country, to raise funds for charity. It is called Garage Sales for Charity. org. A very simple effortless way for millions of individuals who have a garage sale to raise funds for their favorite charity. If you plan on having a garage sale you don't need to do anything special or different, all you need to do is commit to donating a minimum of $50 or 10% or your sales to your favorite charity. Any charity--your local food shelf, church program, local shelter, national charity, wherever you feel it will do the most good. It is entirely up to you. Garage Sales for Charity. org does not handle any of the funds donated. They simply act as a central resource for ideas and promotion. The simplicity of this plan is what makes it so appealing. Effortless fund raising for charities during the slow summer months when donations are down. There are no ulterior motives or agendas to promote. There are no million-dollar budgets behind this, no expensive TV commercials, and no celebrity endorsements. They are not affiliated with any organization, charity or political group. One person, one garage sale can make a difference. This is grass roots at its best. The potential over the next several months is huge! A mere 100 people participating every week in every state would raise $1,000,000 a month for charities across the country. This is money local charities would have otherwise never seen, during the months they may need it the most. Charities can hop on board by including garagesalesforcharity. org web address in all their fund raising materials, giving the people who they count on the most, one more way to raise funds. Sell, donate, feel good! Saving the world one garage sale at a time.
No matter how expert or experienced you are, when you are applying for a promotion in your own organisation, or a post in another organisation, being fully prepared for the interview is critical. Your expertise, knowledge, reputation, experience, and appearance, will help you, but it is highly likely that the other candidates will have similar attributes. Here is list of actions that you should carry out in order to be fully prepared. Gather information about the recruiting organisation (this includes your present employer if it is an internal interview): before you decide whether to attend the interview, it is essential that you gather information about the organisation and analyse this. You need information on its recent and forecast performance, the condition of the business sector in which it operates, and the post that it is offering. If the organisation and sector are healthy, and the post looks secure and has potential, then you can move on to the next stage. If your findings are negative then it is almost certain that the best decision would be to reject the opportunity. You need to gather information about the condition of yourself, looking at how your personal and career plans are progressing, focusing on how the prospects in your current job match with your personal and career objectives, and then how the new post could help you to achieve those objectives. Decide to attend or not to attend the interview. You need to make an objective decision as to whether taking up this new post is the right decision for you, at this time. Armed with the information that you gathered earlier, you can assess the merits of being appointed to the new post, against staying in your current post, albeit perhaps until a more appropriate opportunity arises, and make your decision confidently. It is, of course, tempting to apply for a job which appears to offer a higher salary, more responsibility, more status, and new directions, and if this is so appealing that you are confident that you can adjust your development plans to match it, and be happy with that decision, then yes, attend the interview and perform to the best of your ability. However, be warned that the interviewers may well reject you because it will become obvious to them that the position they are offering is not a natural fit with your career to date, and worse, they may well ask you how this new opportunity fits with your future personal development plans, and be disappointed with your unconvincing response. Gather details of the job itself. You need as much information as you can gather about the nature of the job, the role, responsibilities, reporting relationships, location of the workplace, working conditions, and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, and corporate policies and procedures that apply to the position. Some of this information will be given to you in the information pack sent to you by the interviewing organisation, or department, but often, sadly, the quality of information sent out is poor. Most professional organisations will have HR departments that will answer your questions on these issues, or pass you on to the appropriate line manager. Research the interview format: you need to do some basic but essential research on the practicalities of the interview. Again, some of this information will be sent to you. You should be clear about: how to get to the organisation and the specific interview location (don’t rely on asking for this information when you arrive, as this adds to the stress of the occasion); who is on the interview panel (their titles will give you important clues as to their relationships to the post); what format the interview will take (there is nothing worse than arriving expecting a traditional face-to-face interview and finding that it is a day-long series of tests, group activities, and interviews). Timing of arrival. Make sure that you arrive in good time, allowing time to tidy your physical appearance after your journey, and sufficient time to become calm before the actual interview. Your appearance. Do not make the mistake of thinking that it is only your history, qualifications, skills, and knowledge that will win you the job. Most other candidates will have similar attributes, so you need to make an impression, to look professional, smart, and appropriate for the post. In many cases, there will have been a previous holder of the post that the interviewers may be using, albeit subconsciously, as a benchmark. You can’t guess what the interviewers want, or don’t want, in terms of physical appearance and personality, but don’t for one second believe anyone that tells you this doesn’t matter (it shouldn’t, perhaps, in certain circumstances, but you are being invited into their world, and they will be looking for someone who they will be comfortable with (even if the role requires you to be an aggressive change-agent). Yes, in some countries there is legislation that says the job should be offered to the most appropriate person, regardless of appearance, but in real life this isn’t what happens. The answer to this dilemma is to research the culture of the organisation that you are joining, so that you are aware of how people, in positions similar to the one you are being interviewed for, dress and behave, and you can comment on or ask questions about this during the interview. However, don’t go to the interview in jeans and t-shirt, even if that’s the day to day standard. You need to look as professional, as serious about obtaining the job, as possible. For men, that almost certainly means a business suit, or jacket and trousers, with or without tie. For women, a business suit or business outfit. For both sexes, smart-casual can be acceptable, if, but only if, it is that type of environment. In most situations, for most posts on offer to professionals, specialists, managers, experts, consultants, a business outfit is expected at the interview, even if, after appointment, they would never again expect you to come to work in anything remotely as formal. Your approach. In a word, think positively. You are offering your talents, your experience, your time, effort, and energies, to this organisation, and you need to give the impression that you would be a valuable asset that they would be foolish to reject. This doesn’t mean being aggressive, over enthusiastic, pompous, or pretentious, but it does mean showing the interviewers that you are a confident, assertive, pro-active, flexible, professional who would perform successfully if appointed. Prepare for, and practice answering, the interview questions: think about questions that you are likely to be asked. Brainstorm this with a colleague, friend, or partner, and practice answering. Practice using the interview questions to strengthen your argument that you are the best person for the job. For example, you will be almost certainly be asked about your experience and qualifications, even though this will be shown in your CV. Your response should be phrased in such a way that you relate your experience, knowledge, and qualifications, to the role and responsibilities of the new post, showing how these existing attributes will give you the confidence and skills to successfully handle the tasks that lie ahead. With luck you will not be asked questions such as - What do you think are the main benefits that you could bring to this job, if appointed? However, it still happens, so you must be prepared for them. Again, practice responding in a way which links your experience and existing skills to the demands of the new role. If you are asked - What would you say are your biggest strengths and worst weaknesses? then talk mostly about your strengths, giving examples of how these have been effectively used, and be very, very careful talking about your alleged weaknesses. Choose a relatively harmless weakness that could be interpreted as a strength, such as being over-zealous about quality criteria being met, or insisting on deadlines being met which can upset some team members. Don’t, under any circumstances, negatively criticise your present or past employers, or colleagues. Even if the organisation that you work for is known to have faults or bad practices, don’t criticise it or any personnel within it. This is almost always a fatal mistake. You will almost always be asked some questions about the interviewing organisation. Again, use these as an opportunity to show you have researched the organisation, but also to explore what the organisation is planning (at least in the area that you will be working in), and-or what they are expecting of you. For example, you could mention new markets that the organisation has recently entered and ask if that will impact on the post that you are being interviewed for. If you are asked about hobbies and interests, don’t give a list of twenty, keep it simple and don’t try to impress with esoteric hobbies that you don’t actually have. Imagine saying that you enjoy watching French films and then being asked a question about this, in French, by one of the interviewers who is fluent in the language! Questions asked by you. Most interviews will close with the interviewee being asked if they have any questions to ask. The answer should always be - Yes. Have two questions ready, and either ask these or ask one of them and one that has arisen because something raised in the interview. Make sure that your questions are ones that reinforce your suitability for the post. You could, for example, ask questions about personal development opportunities, explaining, briefly, what you feel would be a potentially useful development activity (of benefit to you and to the organisation) if you were to be offered the post (this should be an area that you have considered whilst researching the organisation and the job itself). General behaviour: remember, you are being assessed at all times, possibly from when you enter the building and approach the receptionist, certainly from the moment you walk into the interview room to the moment you leave. You must be as natural and relaxed, physically and mentally, as possible, but also professional, polite, and courteous. Never argue, unless you have been given a direct instruction to give your opposing views. Be alert, show an interest in each interviewer as the ask questions, and answer directly to that person, but occasionally look at the others during your answer. In answering questions, don’t be evasive, be confident, and use your answers to demonstrate how you would make a good match for the position on offer. Final word. As the interview ends, thank the interviewers for their time and questions. Say that you would be very pleased if appointed to the job and that you look forward to hearing from them. Even if you have doubts at that moment, this is a courteous and wise way to end the interview. You may later decide that you would like the job and if you have appeared negative as the interview ended you will have reduced your chances considerably. In summary, the key to being successful at an interview is to treat it as a project that needs to be planned and executed in as professional a manner as possible. Changing jobs, moving into a new position, changing organisations, changing the direction of your career, perhaps moving into a different business sector, leaving behind friends and colleagues, meeting, working with, managing, new colleagues, is a major change in your life. The interview is your doorway into a new world, into the next stage of your personal development. It is a major event, a major opportunity, and must be treated as one.
I've spoken to quite a few people over the years who say they have very nice clothes they love but the don't wear them anymore. But my question is this: If you value something so much...then don't you think you should be wearing it? The reality is we are a society who likes to accumulate and, dating back to the Great Depression, we tend to keep everything we believe has monetary value when, in reality, it really doesn't. For example, a pretty dress or a nice suit you bought ten years ago went for what can be considered a lot of money. And the problem is you haven't touched it in nine years because, as most clothes do, it went out of style. Could it come back in style someday? Maybe. Styles do often return. But this is not a reason to hold onto things you don't use..."just in case." You feel like, because you spent "good" money on it, you are throwing money away. But ask yourself this... is it putting money in your pocket sitting there in the back of your closet with dust on the shoulders? Is it giving you anything? Do you benefit at all from keeping outdated outfits? Now ask yourself one more question... will you gain anything by getting rid of it and donating it to charity? Of course you will! The benefits? More space to be able to keep the clothes you are going to wear (we only wear 50% of the clothes we own, by the way.) I might even suggest buying a new outfit for every three to five you get rid of. The purpose? Because new clothes make people feel good. I don't recommend buying new clothes for the sake of buying new clothes and throwing away your money. But you've got to admit putting on a new pair of pants that make us look better is a nice, uplifting feeling. The thing is the items taking up space, yes, you paid for them. But by keeping something you no longer wear or use you are not getting anything in return but more clutter and a lack of storage space you could be using for something else. Here is something you should do right now with items (they don't have to be clothes) you are holding onto because you paid good money for them. 1. Go find ten items you own for one reason and one reason only... because you paid for it. 2. Grab a piece of paper and make three columns. 3. Write the items you are having trouble getting rid of in the left column. In the middle column, write "why I am keeping this item" and in the third column write "what will I gain by getting rid of this item." My guess is you will have a lot more in the right column than you will in the middle. Be specific with both. If you can honestly fill up the middle column with more reasons of why you should keep it, and they are good, legitimate reasons, then maybe you shouldn't get rid of it. But I'm willing to bet that won't be the case.