disorder2order blog

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I hate cleaning. Do you?

Do people really clean their windows like this?
Do you hate to clean? 

I do. 

There is nothing worse than realizing that you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the bathroom. This is why I hate to clean! I hate to clean so much that I have raised the bar for the boys so that they can do it - and not me! For ever I struggle with feeling like if someone else did it, I wouldn't be happy with the results. No sir. Not anymore. 

In Martha Stewart’s Living, she offers a great section called Gentle Reminders. Here she frequently gives great ideas of thing that need to be done in your home at that season, like when to clean the windows or the when to clean out the garage. Seriously, I can not even remember the last time I cleaned the windows. 

Cleaning doesn’t have to be everyday and it doesn’t have to be perfect every time. I find that if I break the task down into manageable pieces, it doesn’t seem so big. Here are my Top Five Quick Tips to cleaning:

1. Wipe Before You Walk-Away. If you leave a surface, wipe it before you leave it. Doesn’t matter if it’s the bathroom counter or the kitchen counter, just wipe it.

2. Scrap the Scraps. Make sure you toss, recycle or reuse items that are empty, expired or useless. There is no sense keeping things to add to clutter.

3. Manage Mail in the Moment. As soon as you get the mail, recycle all the paper, file what needs to be filed and you will be left with a nice stack of things to review. Don’t hesitate – if you hesitate that is when things get lost, misplaced or left behind.

4. Employ Help. Make sure that everyone in the household has some responsibility to manage or job responsibility. It should not just be one person managing everything (especially the ladies in the house!).

5. Tackle It Tonight. If you can set aside 10-15 minutes every night before you go to be to do those few little tasks that might save you 5 minutes in the morning… it’s worth it. Things like make the coffee, load the dishwasher (or do the dishes) or maybe plan your to-do list for the next day… can be a life saver.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Save Time in 6 Easy Steps

Good time management can bring so much more than just an organized calendar. It can give you the control and success for planning out your day. If it’s organizing your closet, kitchen or schedule, you have to find a starting point and go from there. Here are seven tips to getting organized with your time.
1.    Use a Planner: This is a helpful tool in keeping your schedule organized. Deciding what kind of planner will work best for you is important? Paper or electronic? Calendar versus binder? A few things to consider when choosing a planner is your learning style, your visual preference or the size and shape.

2.    Make a List (aka do a “Brain Dump”): Write down all of the items, tasks or appointments that need to be done. Sometimes it’s helpful to have your list in a section of your planner. During the course of your week you can continue to add to this list as needed.

3.    Break Down Tasks: Breaking down your list into categories will help when it comes time to assign time slots for each task. It’s best to code your list into helpful categories like tasks, appointments, personal or business just to name a few. As new items get added to your list you will easily know how to categorize them.

4.    When are You at Your Best? What time of day are you most productive? Knowing your energy cycle1 is a key element to knowing when to assign certain tasks. Difficult tasks should always be assigned during your high productivity time and easy tasks during your lower productivity time.

1 The concept of energy cycles is taken from Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

5.    Estimating Time. Knowing how long a task will take is something you learn over time. The important thing is to estimate how long tasks will take and assign the appropriate amount of time for the task. NOTE: Things happen; we have interruptions, kids or distractions that take us away from our focus. Don’t worry about it! Accounting for those things is helpful when estimated how much time a task takes.

6.    Maintenance! In my opinion, this is the most important step in keeping up with your schedule. Scheduling regular maintenance for your calendar should be the most important appointment during your week. Usually, I recommend that this be an end of week appointment, to plan out your coming week. During your maintenance appointment, you can review your list, add new items, delete items etc. The most important thing is that you are maintaining your time!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Why the fitbit can make you more productive...

The fitbit was a popular gift this last holiday season. I know about 6 people that got one for Christmas. I didn't really understand what the big deal was, but from the sounds of things, it
comes down to awareness

That little band, strapped to your wrist, gives you a ton of information. It tells you how many steps you take (or don't take) each day, and how well you sleep each night, just to name a few.

So, about a couple of weeks ago, I decided to invest. I have to admit, I love it.
I  find myself being more mindful of taking a walk each day and loading my sleep log into my app. 

At first, it was fascinating to see that on days I didn't hit my step goal, I was a restless sleeper and sluggish the following day [duh, right!]. 

It's so clear to me that rest and exercise have a direct effect on our productivity! If I'm not rested, I don't think as clear and my brain processes things so much slower... therefore making me less productive.

Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital did a study that resulted in people who limited their sleep to 5.6 hours each night took longer to preform tasks and find information quickly on your computer than when they had adequate sleep (1). I know that seems obvious, but I think we forget to be aware of just how much this impacts our day.

Some things you can do to help reduce your increase your exercise and sleep cycle to ultimately increase your productivity...

  • Park farthest from the door at your appointment or office
  • Choose the stairs over the elevator
  • While on the phone, pace or walk around your office
  • Track your sleep cycle, watch for patterns
  • Start by heading to bed just 15 minutes earlier
  • Take a nap during the day (Even a 20 minute nap can change your life)
  • Try a fitbit...
Finding that perfect balance of a healthy lifestyle takes constant effort... but, really... what doesn't take constant effort? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Keep versus toss.. that is the question!

Winter is when I do my best organizing and purging. For some reason - when I'm stuck in the house on the cold winter days, I get lost in cleaning out closets, purging the pantry and most of all... tossing things we just don't use any more.

I think it started when the kids were small and Christmas was coming... I always felt the need to donate well loved toys so that come the new year we would have replaced them with shiny new toys. As the kids get older, their needs change and for whatever reason the purging still happens. It always feels good when I make more room in my closet - or clean off a shelf.

For many people, the struggle of what to keep or what to toss is always a hard choice (but still a choice). Sometimes it's the tossing or "letting go" that plagues our hearts... I use the word toss loosely... for me, tossing something usually means it's going into the garage sale pile first and then if not sold, it's donated or recycled.

It's a challenge even for me, when faced with making the decision to keep or toss, but I have a few rules in place to help me make that decision a little easier...
Closet Graphic from Morgue Files by auttiedot

When it comes to cloths...

KEEP... if its a usable item, loved and won't embarrass me in public. TOSS... if it doesn't fit well, something I don't like or embarrassing. [I just tossed an evening gown from 20 years ago that I just realized I will never be a size 8 again = felt good to let it go].

When it comes to the kids things...

KEEP... if it's a first item, well done work or paper that my child is proud to show off. TOSS... if it's unimportant, insignificant or one of twenty of the same items. [I just tossed many of the kids action figures, cars and board games they haven't played with in years = made more room for a new family game.]

When it comes to household goods...

KEEP... if it works (or can be repaired), I use it regularly and serves a purpose. TOSS... if it's un-repairable, I have never used it, don't like it, or have multiples and don't need extras. [Tossed a bunch of photo frames, multiple utensils, books, framed art that we don't use, don't like and kept from our old house that doesn't really fit in our house now = made room to pick new art if we feel like it and cleared out a bunch of full drawers.]

When it comes to mementos or memorabilia...

KEEP... if it serves as a happy reminder of a special moment or milestone. TOSS... if it's a negative reminder of a moment or milestone, or insignificant because I have multiples of the same items. [Although more difficult, I try to review this regularly. With kids art, I find letting them decide helps to narrow the decision down.]

It's a great idea to sort, purge and organize on a certain schedule. Once a year seems to work best for me, but if it's hard, overwhelming and too big of a job to get done, every six months sometimes helps to breakdown the task.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Would you be mad if I used the F word?

Do you ever get over one of those humps and feel like... "Oh, Dear God... why did it take me so long to get here..." 

Well, I'm having one of those kind of weeks. I've given my website and blog a face lift. New updates and a fresh look! You would think "no big deal..." Well, actually, it's a very big deal (for me that is).

It's one of those things that you sit on, ponder, wonder, consider, research and add to your to-do list... all the while, not getting it done. Well, it's done (almost). It's not perfect, but it's up. With everything... work in progress. 

Finding the traction to get over that hump is such a hard thing to put into words. If you've ever struggled with "the hump" you know what I mean. It's not that we aren't capable. It's not that we are incompetent

It's that f*** word... Fear

#fearnoshame! Prince Harry has recently opened up doors for people to share there fear in hopes to raise awareness... read more here

Fear is one of those things that can stop you in our tracks. It' takes any form of progress or motion and little puts it into a frozen state (kind of like Gru in Despicable Me). It's not that we don't "want" to move... but the fear takes hold.

So, how did I get over it you ask? Well, it's been a process. I have spent more hours than I care to admit being afraid of that next step - and this is why...

1. Learning Curve.
2. Not Enough Time.
3. Judgement of Others.
4. Making a Mistake.

Do any of these things sound familiar? I think we can apply these fears to just about anything. Right?! It's not just about getting things done - it's about overcoming that stupid fear. 

Hopefully, you can see by putting it (aka me) out there... telling you about it... I'm slowly overcoming... I have to be honest... it feels good. 

It doesn't feel perfect, but it feels good to know that I'm past a few of those fears. I took the time to address each fear and... done! 

Thanks Harry... for putting it out there! It's kind of nice knowing we have something in common! #fearnoshame

Do you have a fear? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's 5pm... what's for dinner?

Do you ever find yourself standing in front of the pantry, wondering... what the heck can I make for dinner? As if something magically is going to jump off the shelf, onto the table, piping hot... and ready for your hungry family. 

The thought of it actually doing that cracks me up!

Pantry problems are more than just figuring our what to prepare for dinner... it's knowing where things belong, how much do you need (or have) and when you need to shop for more! Often, I find that when working in a pantry it's important to determine what are the missing ingredients... Here are a few...

Courtesy of Etsy - The LovelyWall
People laugh at me all the time. They will say... "labeling is for kindergartners..." Well the fact of the matter is - everyone loves it once they have it. 

A pantry is the best thing to have labeled in a busy household. It identifies where things belong and reminds others where to put things away (rather than just stuffing them back on the shelf). Things like chalkboard labels, tags or a label maker can really clean up a pantry.

Courtesy of OXO

For me, there is nothing worse than going into the pantry for a box of graham crackers and... the box is empty (I hate that personally and I just know it drives my clients nuts).

Clear containers can help you quickly visualize how much you have left, not to mention helps you find things faster. Open baskets or bins help with items that are individually portion sized items such as granola bars or snacks make it accessible for everyone! Not to mention it make it easier to grab and go!

Courtesy of Container Store
Pantry shelves are never big enough! They typically allow for those tall items such as pastas or large boxes, leaving valuable unused space.A Stack-able shelf can offer a ton of extra shelf space for smaller items such as can or boxed goods.

There are tons of pantry options, you just have to start looking at what's unorganized... and find a solution.

Who knows... maybe tonight, dinner will actually make itself! Got a pantry secret to share?

Friday, September 19, 2014

ScanSnap ix100 is my new favorite wireless + mobile device

Have you been wondering if a scanner is something you need to consider at home or in your business? 

Well, I'm here to tell you that having a good scanner can not only change your life but make you re-think your relationship with paper! 

ScanSnap, makers of amazing products such as the ix500 (which is the Cadillac of scanners) and s1100, has come out with a brand new, just released ix100! I'm here to tell you that this mobile scanning device can really become your next favorite wireless toy! Here are my thoughts...

Set Up + Installation: 
I have to say, the installation process was so simple and quick. It comes nicely packed with: your scanner, a USB cord, installation disc (which personally I love that so much more than downloading) and a Getting Started guide, which explains each step and takes all of about 10 minutes from start to finish.

As you can see, it's so slim that it can easily fit in your work bag, desk drawer or nicely on your desk tucked into a corner. What I love most about it is that it's simple and small. I keep my ix100 on my desktop, alongside my laptop so I can quickly access it, or grab it to toss in my work bag.

The one thing I would love to see from Fujitsu, is a nice neoprene travel case for it, so when I stick it in my bag, I feel that it's protected from the elements of my bag! I'm sure it's out there... I just didn't see it yet.

Using the ix100 is quite simple to use... and in fact it's as easy as 1-2-3. 

1. You open the paper feeder, and wait for the wireless connection.

Once your "blue lights" are on, and you see the pop up window noting that the "ix100 is ready to scan" you can begin scanning your documents.

2.  Load your single document into the feeder tray and hit the Scan/Stop button (and away they go). Doesn't get any easier than that. You can continue to load multiple sheets into the feeder tray to create a multiple page document if needed. 

3.  Once your done scanning, a pop up window will ask you what you want to do with this document. Now... this is my favorite part. Look at all the choices! You can email, save, fax, send to a device or any cloud based drive. 

Wireless + Mobile Capabilities:
This is where I tend to find myself wondering about all the amazing ways I can use my scanner. The ix100 operates on a wireless platform, which in turn, when connected to your mobile device, can scan right to you iPad, tablet or smart phone.  The app is a little tricky to figure out I will admit, but once connected seems to work well (as long as your connection is working, your not connected to another device.. and most importantly... the battery is charged)! But really... isn't that the case with EVERY WIRELESS + MOBILE DEVICE?

Overall Comments:
I have to say... I really love Fujitsu's ScanSnap products. Easy navigation, simple set up and wealth of features allows any user to eliminate paper and scan away!