Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting Back To Living Life

“Getting back to living life” is the tag line of my physical therapy center, and it is one that I relate to as an organizer. My sessions at the center helped unlock my frozen shoulder condition, and at times my sessions there were uncomfortable and painful. I am in a better position now to get back to my life thanks to the exercise regimen they put together for me. They explained that for my shoulder to continue to improve I need to commit to my 30 minute shoulder exercises daily. Do I skip days here and there? Of course, but for the most part I am committed to it because I want to get back to my life…especially on the tennis court!

Similarly, organizing helps us get back to living life fully, because if we are committed to keeping up our systems and routines, then we aren’t bogged down by our daily clutter, and we aren’t ruled by our stuff. The daily commitment to organizing should at least be 15 or 30 minutes. This does not have to be a painful experience…I promise! This commitment may include an end of day pick up to put things away, determining what our top personal and/or professional actions are for the next day, processing any paper and anything else that helps creates a clean slate for the next day.

Why do this? Organizing helps get us back to living life. If we have a strong, organizing foundation, we can focus on things that are really important to us. No more worries about what we have to do, forgetting things, or feeling unproductive, because each day is a fresh start with a picked up home and work environment. Okay, maybe a little unrealistic, but something to strive for – right?

As we approach Thanksgiving, I know one of the many things I am thankful for is my unlocked frozen shoulder and my semi-organized home that allows me to live my life fully. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Gift of Time On Sunday

What did you do with your extra hour gained this past weekend with the end of daylight savings time? Don’t you wish we could have an extra hour each day to tie up loose ends, plan and prioritize or do something for ourselves? Maybe we can mirror the feeling of bliss I know I felt Sunday morning with my extra hour.

How so? Here are some time saving tips that may get you close to an hour.

1. Get organized. See my blog from September 9th on ORDER – organize, routines, delete, edit and readiness. On average we lose an hour a day looking for things or trying to figure out what we need to do. This hour adds up to a staggering 14 days a year of time thrown away!
2. Zone each of your spaces so that it makes sense, there is proper storage, and simplified systems are in place to allow for a 10 minute pick-up at the end of the day.
3. Build in planning time to your day so that you minimize wasted time trying to figure out who to call, what to work on and what to do next. When you plan you will cut down on working reactively and feel more in control of your day.
4. Make checklists your friend. Either have a tangible check list or a mental checklist of what you need to do in the morning, what you need to pack to bring to work or school and also have an end of day wrap-up checklist (scan e-mail, identify top priorities for next day, etc.)
5. Keep your to dos in one place ONLY. If you have too many lists or some are electronic and some on paper, time is wasted and chances for error are higher.
6. Plan menus so that you spend less time grocery shopping and eating out and you and your family will be healthier for it. Also keep a running grocery list of what you need, preferably on your phone, so that you have it readily available.
7. Buy holiday and birthday gifts ahead and keep some in reserve to cut down on last minute shopping runs.
8. Make your car work for you. Have a bin in your trunk that holds anything that needs to be processed in some form so that you have the items when you can conveniently deal with them (i.e., items to be returned, dry cleaning, coupons for shopping, etc.)
9. Set boundaries for yourself for unplugging at night so that you can recharge, regroup and relax so that you are fresh, productive and in control for the next day.
10. If you have kids, make sure they know their routines and family systems for each room. They can pick-up and directly benefit from learning the vital life skill of organization.

Also, don’t forget to change your batteries in your smoke detectors, if you didn’t get a chance to do it this weekend.

Here’s to finding that extra hour each day to use as we’d like!