It happens to all of us: that creeping feeling of overwhelm as the tasks pile up, coming in via mail, email, voicemail, texts. Your head is over-stuffed with details and surely you’re going to forget something!
There is an extremely simple tool which is the starting place for any task or time management system: the LIST. The power of this basic tool is manyfold:
- Gathers all your tasks in one place
- Gives you a birds-eye view on everything
- Allows you to categorize and prioritize tasks visually
- Can create as many or few lists as needed to manage the different projects in your life
- Work projects
- Client follow-up
- Home design/repair ideas
- Travel plans
- Kid’s activities
How you create and manage a list is up to you – a simple piece of paper works just fine! If you want to get fancier, here are more options:
- Task/List Apps: Trello, Google Tasks, Wunderlist, Evernote, OneNote
- Bullet journal
- Post-its on a wall, on a paper in a file, on a white board
- White boards for temporary lists
- Project management apps: Asana, BaseCamp, Microsoft Project
Going digital with your list has some advantages of being able to share with others, color code, and to include formats beyond text. Each mode has pros & cons; pick a mode that works best for you. And don’t be afraid to go as simple as possible.
To start, grab a pad of paper and do a big brain dump of everything on your mind and on your plate. How do you prioritize?
- What’s stressing you out the most? Ask yourself: “If one thing got done on here, that would make me feel a relief of pressure, what would it be?”
- Which things have an actual deadline and what’s due next?
- When feeling unmotivated to get things done, look at the list and pick a few short, easy things to knock off just to reduce the volume.
And yes, you do need to keep updating them! This process of having to re-write your list is actually a valuable part of the process. The act of reviewing and revisiting tasks gives you the opportunity to reflect on their priority.
Did you know organizers don’t just organize? Professional organizing comes in all sorts of flavors. Some organizers are more generalists and cover lots of areas; others pick one specialty and stick to that. Have a look at the variety of challenges where professional organizers can help:
- Business development
- Children and teen organizing
- Chronic disorganization
- Closet design and organizing
- Corporate operations
- Digital organizing
- Estate management
- Estate sales
- Event planning
- Feng Shui
- Financial management/Bookkeeping/Bill-paying
- Garage sales
- Hands-on organizing
- Hoarding behavior
- Home inventories
- Home offices
- Home staging
- Household management
- KonMari organizing
- Notary Public
- Online sales
- Paper management
- Personal assistance
- People with disabilities
- Project management
- Psychology involved in organizing/productivity
- Records management
- Relocation and move management
- Social media
- Space planning and design
- Speaking and training
- Storage units
- Task and time management
- Team productivity
- Travel prep
- Virtual organizing
No matter the size or scope of your project, we can help you find an organizer with the specialty you need! Ask us for recommendations or go directly to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals — NAPO.net.
Filed under ADD/ADHD, artwork, Bathroom, Bay Area Services, Bedroom, Business Organizing, children, Closets, clothing, couples, Decluttering, disorganization, downsizing, Empty Nest, Garage, General Organizing, Holidays, home organizing, Kids, Kitchen, Laundry, Living Room, Memorabilia, Moving, Office, Paper, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, School, Seniors, Storage, Technology, Time Management, Travel, Wedding
Let’s have a show of hands. Who loves to prepare for disasters and contemplate death?
…We didn’t think so.
Let’s have another show of hands. Who thinks of others and would like to make life easier on family and friends?
Here is a simple project to prepare for the unexpected. Regardless of the state of the rest of your house, these are the documents to keep organized and accessible just in case:
- Life or disability insurance policies and/or agent contact information. Don’t forget to include any coverage offered through your employer and/or auto insurance.
- List of assets and open accounts – you can gather sample statements or create a list of all accounts, loans, lines of credit, etc.. Make sure to include the safe deposit box key and information.
- Trust Document and/or name of your attorney
- Healthcare Directive and Financial POA
- Passwords and log-ins to unlock the phone or computer
- Medical cards and list of doctors/caregivers
- List of prescriptions
- Vital Records: Birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage certificates, copies of drivers licenses
- If you own a business, who are the key contacts? What is your emergency plan?
- Funeral arrangements
Whether you are partnered or not, identify the person or persons who would be tasked with managing things in your absence and share with them the locations of these documents. It’s ideal to also keep a digital copy of these items and make sure your trusted helper has access to those as well.
Think of how much easier it will be for your loved ones, and better for you, if in the time of crisis they don’t have to dig through various drawers and files looking for information unsure what they may be missing. Creating a simple system for just in case is the kind of gift that provides peace of mind to you and to those who are left to take care of business when you can’t.
Filed under Business Organizing, Decluttering, General Organizing, home organizing, middle-age, organizing, Paper, paper organizing, Perspective, Seniors, Strategies
We’ve all been guilty of it – hanging onto business cards that somehow end up on dresser tops, stashed in drawers, or floating around on counters. We sort of know we probably don’t need them but there’s a nagging sense of importance about them that makes them seem valuable. So, we neaten the pile or shove them back in the drawer and forget about them for a while.
Why are you keeping them?
Managing clutter is all about making conscious choices. The first step to getting a handle on those stacks is to take a clear look at your motivations for hanging onto them:
- You may want to use that person’s services
- Something you want to do someday
- Somebody you want to network with
- Neighborhood services
- Cards of services you use regularly
- Nostalgia – cards of family members, cards of your past careers
- Cards whose designs you like
Figuring out why you’re keeping them helps you get clarity on how relevant the info actually is. That informs whether you really want to continue to keep them and how you store them. Part of what makes business cards a less precious resource than we think is there are so many ways other ways to find services and people – Facebook, Yelp, list serves, LinkedIn, Google… put in bits of information into a search tool and have that person show up.
After you do a serious purge of the stacks its time to decide how to store the keepers.
Store for easy retrieval
Ways to store them
- Electronically – scan or enter into your favorite digital address book tool
- In a mini-file box
- Rubber-banded in a drawer or on a shelf
- In a rolodex
- Binder sleeves designed for business cards
- File in a resource section of your filing system (can attach card to larger piece of paper)
Make them useful
If you are keeping cards, it can also be helpful to jot a few notes of relevant info to help you remember why you have the card. Write on back (have a sharpie close by):
- Next actions/promises you made to them
- Where you met them
- Your follow-up plan
- Interesting fact about the person (their dog’s name, for example)
- What you have in common with them
- Who you both know
- Key words (name and date of event, category of contact)
It’s perfectly fine to hang onto cards you may not actually need or use — so long as the stacks of cards don’t stress you out and don’t impact your usable space. If they impact your peace of mind or are getting in the way – take action to clear the clutter.
When you browse through your business card hoard, what is the wackiest card you find?