Moving Forward

Moving Forward

I am guilty of over-planning.  I over plan almost everything…from projects I am working on to our weekly meals. Some may think it is because I like to have the control–but in reality it is because I like to figure out the puzzle of unexpected events or situations arising.

And as I like to be prepared for the unexpected I make tons of lists. Lists of books I’ve read, book to read, grocery lists, meal plans, budgets, instructions for projects and lists and lists of ideas.  I like to plan ahead and to be ready for the what ifs.

Some of my friends who know of my list making think I am amazing (I tend to agree with that)…but there are a few who think I am too organized and doubt that I can accomplish as much as I do.

I think it may be their envy speaking or their wish to be more organized themselves or to simply have a desire to want to accomplish more in their own lives.

I have to say that I do get a great deal of things done in my home, at work, and in my hobbies because I am organized and do make lists to keep on top of things.  After all these years I think my success in this is because I can work on different things each day and move my goals forward–whatever they may be.

This is how I do it:  I break my projects into small workable tasks and I keep moving through the tasks day after day–time permitting–until they are finished.  As other tasks come up I can weave them into my days without disrupting my responsibilities or my objectives.

I’ve been doing this for a very long time–I hate to think how long, as I remember being this way in high school and college–with my school tasks. (And that was well over 30 years ago!)

When I look back over this time, I am grateful and proud of all I have accomplished so far and am very excited of all the years ahead of me to plan, and to create, and to accomplish so much more.

So many people give up so early in life and stop trying to accomplish–whatever it is they dream of accomplishing. They live their lives going through the motions and staying in the same place–never advancing or learning or wanting to change and advance.

But for us over planners–we sometime do try to do too much each day–the long lists in my planner are certainly proof of that. And if we don’t check off all our “to-dos” we feel we are not enough.   I am here to tell you that we are enough. Sometimes tasks, however small, can lead you to something bigger.

People often over estimate what can be completed or accomplished in a small amount of time and under estimate what can be accomplished over the long term.

Keep moving forward.  You are enough!

Organizing Your Thoughts

Organizing Your Thoughts

On this great journey I am traveling–I have really enjoyed organizing my life.  I have felt that it has been a right of passage, in a way, that I have arrived at this moment in time.

The years of growing up, growing smarter, and growing children were extremely busy–full of things to do and places to be–years. And we made it, we have arrived!

Looking back on those years makes me smile and gives me a warm feeling.  Even during difficult times–as life is wont to send you–I remember the good parts and the lessons I’ve learned.

Bad times–and rain clouds, make the good time and the rainbows brighter.

So as I organize my house and my life, I also take time out to organize my thoughts.

I imagine that I am not the only person whose mind is going nonstop and who has running lists of ideas and to dos traveling through her (or his) brain all the time. A brain who when not taken care of properly will wake me up in the middle of the night with thoughts and thoughts and thoughts.

In organizing my thoughts I have been journaling.  Not a “dear diary” kind of journaling–but more of a stream of consciousness–in notes to myself.

I began journaling quite by accident.  I few years ago, I had a garage sale because our family was making a big move to another city–the one we are in now.  I met a lovely lady who went to garage sales and bought “stuff” and resold it in an antique resale consignment shop as a hobby. She bought a few things from us and then spent a few hours chatting with us.  

I have to admit it made an otherwise boring garage sale enjoyable. And of course I never expected to see her again.

She came back the next day and gave me a small gift bag. She said she enjoyed our conversation so much she wanted to give me a little something.

Inside the gift bag was a blank journal.  She inscribed it for me on the inside cover and it inspired me to write in it.  

In it and in my other journals I organize my thoughts–and by organizing them I mean I just let it flow.

Organizing doesn’t always mean alphabetizing, putting things in numerical order, organizing by size, color or category. Organizing can be putting things the way they make sense for you.  

It is a wonderful thing to be organized.  It has helped me manage my time, my goals, my house, my meals, my grocery shopping and many other things.  

I am enjoying “getting it all together”–but I know my thoughts will always be a free forming flow of some connected and some not connected ideas. Trying to organize them would be fruitless.

Journaling has allowed me to capture thoughts and lists and ideas that I come up with and somehow, miraculously they organize themselves. One leads to another and questions I have on any particular day finds its answer in a future writing.  It is a miraculous process.

If you feel you have multiple thoughts going through your mind that contradicts other thoughts, try writing them down and letting it all flow…I think you will find that our disorganized and confusing thoughts actually have a time, place and direction for us.

Follow where they take you, there is an organization to them. And while you are journaling remember to have fun with it!

 

Creating the Home You Want

Creating the Home You Want

I am learning that decluttering is an ongoing process.  Although I have decluttered my house A LOT…I still have a long way to go.

In the process of going through things and keeping what we really love, we are also creating spaces in which we are comfortable.  After all, our home is our haven. While we enjoy having friends and family over for visits our primary goal is not to have a showplace but a comfortable space where anyone that comes will feel at home.

Of course, getting everything to look and feel this way is a work in progress and a very large organizational goal.

Each room should be decluttered and should focus on the function of the room.  For example, we should not have dishes in the bedroom or a hair brush in the kitchen.  

Here are my tips to organizing your home:

Kitchen:  The kitchen should be light, airy and clean.  There should be a place for all the pots, pans, dishes, cups, utensils, and pantry items.  Clearing off the counters of unused appliances, jars and other miscellaneous items will help your kitchen seem cleaner and larger.   If all your kitchen accessories don’t have a specific home or a place, then you have too much stuff in your kitchen.

Your kitchen is the heart of the home.  This is where most people gather and where memories are made.  Give yourself the space to make them.

Your kitchen is also where we prepare food and eat our meals.  It should be a place that is clean, bright and comforting. When we eat in a relaxed atmosphere we digest better and we feel better!  

Living Areas:  Our family room is where we entertain ourselves and others.   It is not a formal space, but strives to be one of comfort. Comfortable chairs and tables within arms reach make it easy to sit back with a cold drink or a snack and give attention to the people there and not the things.   

The living room is where we live in our down time, where we can relax, laugh, watch T.V. and play games.  When you are organizing your living room or family room, think about the activities that take place there and make sure there is designated furniture or items that enhance that not that just fill up the space.

The Home Office:  Not all homes have a home office–some have an office space but either way this is the home command center.  And while this is where I “work” at home, it is possible to make it a comfortable and functional area. A desk is essential as is your computer and a printer/scanner if you need one.  

Organizing a home office is imperative because this is the space that can get out of control–at least for me–very fast!  This is where the paper lives or better said–where it lives for a short time until you decide what to do with it. (See my tips for organizing paper here.)

So for my purposes–and I highly recommend one–your office should also include a shredder.  It is one of my favorite machines in the house!

Our office is a reflection of what we do there–pay bills, write, be creative and read.  Other than your desk, you may want to have a small sofa or comfy chair, a bookshelf and a place to keep important papers–in an organized system of course!

Bathrooms:  I have found that one of the smallest spaces in our home can contain the most “stuff”–read junk!  Not junk that is just to be thrown away but that should be addressed.

When I decluttered the bathrooms, I found bottles and bottles and bottles of shampoo, creams, moisturizer, hair products, vitamins, etc.  What helped me tremendously was to stop buying more of these items and using all that I have to 1) stop adding to the madness and 2) create space.

To organize the bathroom–treat it like a bathroom in a nice hotel. Keep it spotless and free of bottles and bathroom items on the sink top.  Use the things you need to use and put them away immediately. Wipe everything down each day (takes me about 20 seconds) and it will always look ready for its functions.

I’ve left the best for last—

Bedrooms: Again, like in a nice hotel–think sleek, clean, and functional. Keep your area free of extra paper, clothes, and shoes.  Our bedrooms is where our body, mind and spirit come to relax and rest after a day of our hurried run around lives. It is our quiet place. Create a space that is organized and can fulfill a restful experience for yourself.  After all we are worth it.

Organizing your home is a huge task–but one that is satisfying and will ultimately reflect who you are, what you find important, and how you want to live your life.

Enjoy the journey and have fun with it!

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

In organizing our computer files and our paper…I thought the next logical area of our lives was our money.  This may not be the post you think it will be though.

I won’t be giving you advice on budgeting or on how to save for retirement or that next big vacation.

Money is a touchy an highly emotionally charged topic.  There are thousands of articles and posts and ideas about how to make money, make extra money, invest money, manage money, spend money wisely and many other things you can do with money.

There are also a thousand ideas about the good money can do and the evil money can create.  

Like I said–money is a highly charged subject.  What I am talking about here is the respect of money–having control of your money so it does not control you.

I have been very fortunate to have a healthy respect for money, and to have been given direction by a very intelligent person. I am not greedy, I work hard, I save, and I pay all my bills on time.  I’ve made money mistakes and I have fixed them.

Not everyone has a relationship with their money like that. And so many people feel “disorganized” when it comes to their money. There is always more month at the end of the money because of the decisions we make.

If you really think about it money is just something we exchange for something else. Simple.

So here are my suggestions on organizing your money. Make an honest living and collect your money. Save some and spend some, but don’t spend more than you make.

Of the amount you spend, make sure you are generous with people who need it more than you do. The money you give away usually comes back to you doubled.

And my final piece of advice on organizing your money:

Don’t pretend you don’t understand money,or how you never have enough.  We make choices everyday that disorganized our financial lives.

Today, start fresh, make the choices that will lead to an organized financial life. Like organizing your computer files and the paper in your life, organizing your financial life takes work–but once you set up a system–you just have to maintain it.

Money comes and money goes. Enjoy it, save it and share it–every step of the way!

Follow me on Facebook and on my Pinterest page and have fun!  

Paper, Paper, Everywhere

Paper, Paper, Everywhere

Now that I have a set schedule for keeping my electronic files and folders organized and backed up and safe–it is time to attack the next phase of organizing—paper.

At one time, paper was a wonderful invention! It allowed us mere humans to write down our thoughts, our histories, create our art and our personal stories among a myriad of other things.

Somewhere along the way, though, we had so much written down on paper and everything became so important to keep that we started–and for many of us–are still drowning in paper!

Now there is paper and then there is paper–and believe it or not we categorize our paper in the back of our heads: junk, reading materials, records, and memorabilia.

There are really only three ways to take care of our paper: we can get rid of it, scan it and keep the paper electronically (to be able to get rid of it), or keep it.

To get rid of papers that have any identifying information I suggest getting a shredder–it has become a very good friend to me–I call my shredder Rosie.

Here is how you can organize your paper.   

Junk. There is a great deal of paper in our lives right now that we can really just throw away. Grab a plastic bag and go to town.  All the junk paper in your office, bedroom, kitchen table, counters and any other flat surface in your home can go. Old receipts, advertisements, junk mail, take out menus, empty envelopes and the like fall into this category.

Reading Materials. Magazines and newspapers also that are piling up because you haven’t had a chance to read them in our busy runaround lives–should be walking out of your home right into the recycle bin. Books:  we have so many books in our lives. Keep the ones you love–and give away (or sell) the rest.

Just by taking care of those two categories of paper you will feel lighter.

Records and Memorabilia. Our records and our memorabilia are harder categories to take care of. Here is an easy solution–and this is what I did.  I will warn you that this is not a popular solution and some of your family members (or your dog) may look at you like you are crazy–but it worked for me.

I put all–and I do mean all–my records and memorabilia in a huge pile. It actually turned out to be 4 very large piles!  And then decide with each paper if you need to shred it, scan it (and then shred it), or keep it.

It is time consuming. It takes concentration. And it is one of the most satisfying chores I have ever completed. Now there is no paper, paper, everywhere!

Why?  Because it has to be done. Because you will feel lighter and cleaner. Because you will be making room for all the good things coming your way.

Living the life you want faster, smarter and better can be done with less paper. Have fun with it!

What are your challenges when it comes to all the paper in your life? How do you feel about getting rid of the paper in your home?

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

 

Digitized Organization–One Bit at a Time

Digitized Organization–One Bit at a Time

In my last post I challenged myself (and you too, if you take the challenge) to organizing my whole life. Not for the sake of reorganizing everything but to evaluate my productively in the things that really matter to me.

When I posed the challenge and then started brainstorming I realized that I would not be able to get all my ideas, thoughts and yearnings in one post.

I will probably not be able to do this in less than 6 posts–but since being organized and productive is one of my passions I am willing to put in the work.

Picking the first thing to organize was not easy but became obvious–technology.  Everything we do today uses some form of technology–at least in my world–and so let’s begin.

Organizing your technology means taking (and keeping) control of it-not letting it control you.

My laptop, and by extension my phone, is my world–I use it for work, for home and for my hobbies.

It is how I communicate, shop, learn and am creative.  So my computer files and documents, not to mention all my digital pictures are on it–or more accurately it is where I access all these things.

In order to keep all these documents, I created a Google Drive account and transferred all my files there.  This is very easily done or any other cloud storage and sharing service will work for this purpose.

The main plus side of using a cloud storage service is that all your files are automatically backed up in the “cloud”.  If your device is compromised or is broken your files are safe.

However, for all your files to be safe you have to move them to the cloud.

These are the steps I take to do this are:

  1. Set aside a specific time and date to do this each week like an appointment.
  2. Include a set duration of time, for example 45 minutes.
  3. During that time–transfer all the files you want to keep from your devices to the cloud.
  4. Delete transferred documents from device (remember to empty your recycle bin)
  5. Once in the cloud, organize your documents into folders.
  6. When your allotted time runs out–stop.

Do this each week until all your electronic files are organized the way you want them. Over time you may be able to do complete this task in less time or need to complete this task less often.

Documents in your cloud can be kept or deleted as needed over time and you can reorganize them anytime, the important part is that your documents will not be lost.

As our world becomes more and more digitized, it is important to get organized and have a system for staying that way. This is the first way to organize your life and one that can have a big impact on your daily life.

Remember while you are organizing your files to take the time to enjoy the process–Have Fun with it!

 

Challenge Accepted!

Challenge Accepted!

For the last few days I have been thinking about how to organize my whole life, what parts of my life needed organizing and what benefits would come of it.

I’ve made great strides this year already–decluttering the house (someone should have told me it is kind of an ongoing thing!), living by my calendar and honoring  my time, getting my health and fitness in shape.

Until I realized how much more I have to do.

So I thought–what areas of my life would more–if any–organization benefit me?

Here is my brainstorm–and I do mean storm–list I came up with:

I would like to organize my days, my weeks and my months in respect to my chores, my tasks, my finances, my meals, my recipes…..I would like to once and for all organize my paper, my pictures, my thoughts, my plans. Included in that I would like to continue to organize my space–my house, my closets, my kitchen…and the thoughts went on and on!

Is it even possible to be this organized?  I started researching–which of course is a part of my life I am very organized in–and found that there are many resources to organize EVERYTHING from the home to your personal style.

How do you organize a ‘personal style’ ? Is that even a thing? Who knew?

After all of these mental gymnastics–I stopped. I closed my eyes, I did a few breathing exercises and listened in the quiet.

(I can always find answers in the quiet.)

Yes–I can organize all these things–not just for the sake of being organized but because being organized will help me focus on “The Plan” and find more time for what is important in my life.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Check in to future posts as I travel down this side road of organization to be more productive…I don’t want to reveal how I am going to do this just yet!

Until next time!  Have Fun!