disorder2order blog

disorder2order blog

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why is getting things done so hard? Here's one reason...

I am a huge fan of Inc Magazine. If you own your own business or are a manager this magazine is for you. They have great articles on business - but also give you lots of food for thought when it comes to productivity and "getting things done."

As a subscriber, I get a weekly email (I know.. that can be annoying) of recent articles posted to their website. I rarely ever click on them; however, I was stopped in my tracks when I read the article link How Goal Setting Hurts Productivity.  So of course I had to read it... Here's what I learned...

Long Term Goals vs. Short Term Goals. So often when we set a goal we think of it in the general sense or maybe long term goals for the year... things like loosing weight or exercise might be a long term. The key, is to be more specific or speak in the immediate future. I am going to stop eating sugar for a week, I will  walk 5 miles two times each week. So another words... BE SPECIFIC!

Lack of focus can be a good thing. Now, for those of you that struggle with staying focused... this one's for you. Too often, we freak out if we aren't focused or too scattered. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. What's important to consider is when you set the goal... set the specific goal. Then, give yourself permission to not hyper-focus on that goal. Expand your horizons or as they say in the article "key is to set goals, and look around, smell the roses, and try not to focus on them. That might mean communicating about those goals less with your team during actual execution processes, and limiting visual or audible reminders about them

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tax Preparation Made Easy

Before owning my own business and starting my family, I never had a problem getting my paperwork ready for tax time. A few receipts here and there and a W-4 from my employer is all I needed. Pretty simple... right? 

Now there's investment reports, mortgage statements, business receipts, mileage... it's never ending. As you get older, things just get more complicated. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that you have to set yourself up for success from the beginning. Not only does this support you throughout the year, but it makes the end result that much easier...

Here are just a few simple steps you can take to set your system up so that tax docs are ready to rock and roll...

1. Identify what you need for tax purposes.
  • Receipts (business, personal)
  • Donations (business, personal)
  • Personal Investments
  • Medical 
  • Mileage Records
2. Set up a few folders for the various categories.
  • Organize your files by NAME or by CATEGORY
3. Keep these files/folders separate from your standard files so that information is easily accessible.
  • Use colored files/folders to differentiate tax records from standard files
  • Label your files/folders so that know what's a tax record
4. Document information and file records as information comes into your home or office.

If you keep your records filed away, they are always accessible when you need them throughout the year PLUS at tax time, you can simply pull out your files, sort and organize your tax records WITHOUT weeding through all the "other" stuff. 

Helpful tax resources:

I always recommend having a good resource for questions... if it's not your ACCOUNTANT then the Internal Revenue Service is always a good place to start. If you prepare your taxes on your own, having good software is key. I recommend Intuit.  

Helpful apps: Shoeboxed (for receipts), TripLog (mileage tracker tool)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

4-Ways to Eliminating Paper Clutter

Paper is a problem for everyone. Even the most organized people hate dealing with paper... As we approach tax time, the paper piles always seem to grow just slightly bigger. There is no magic wand. There is no super secret trick to dealing with the paper. You just have to deal with it. 

The first thing you need to consider is how it's coming in the door. Did you ask for it? Did you bring it? Did you (at one time) find it interesting?

Here's are four ways to control what you have and possibly stop it from coming in the door:

Recycling Station: Have a designated spot in your home where you process paper. Make it easy to recycle what you don't need. It can be in the same spot as your other recyclables, or a separate station for just paper. 

Go Paperless: Things like monthly bills can be emailed to you and/or put on automatic withdraw. Simplify what comes in by taking advantage of paperless billing.Go paperless with magazines, newsletters, books and/or catalogs too! Simply check your subscription settings to see if the option is available. Additionally, things like user manuals can be saved electronically rather than a paper copy (one of my biggest pet peeves) for most every new purchase. It helps you and the planet!

Opt Out or Unsubscribe:Although this takes some time, it's amazingly powerful to get your name off various mailing lists. Websites like DMA Choice and Catalog Choice are two websites that can help you in removing your name off various mailing lists. There are other services such as Opt Out Pre-screen (which takes your name off the pre-screen mailing lists), Yellow Pages OPT Out (Stops those pesky books from coming to your doorstep) and the ever popular Do Not Call List (one of my favorites).
Shred! Shred! Shred: Having a good quality shredder in your home can help support your "recycling" and/or disposal steps when it comes to paper. For years we had a small garbage can top shredder that took forever to use (one page at a time) and kept getting jammed. We invested in a larger more industrial shredder and it was amazing how much it simplified the process. Shredding your documents can help protect your identity and ultimately make it easy to discard unwanted mail.

It takes time to eliminate the paper piles. Start small and do a little bit each day; before you know it, the paper piles will be gone!

Monday, January 6, 2014

[2014... the year of celebration!]

I can't believe it. 10 years in business. Who would have thought that my little "project" back when the babies were born would turn into a way of living. 

2014 is my year of celebration! An entire decade of understanding the hows and whys of ORDER; and then translating that into manageable pieces for my clients.  I've learned about how to help people, about your needs and most about myself. My focus for 2014 is to give back.

Now, you don't want to miss out... There will be lots of ways to take advantage... 

The first thing you might want to do is subscribe to my newsletter (hint: you can do it right here to the right). Here, I will be sharing each month fun tips, prize opportunities and giveaways. I love to have fun!

Secondly, follow my on Facebook. I will be sharing lots of product ideas and tops on Facebook in addition to my eNews... but be warned... Facebook is a time sucker... If Facebook is too much and you prefer the 30 characters or less... check me out on Twitter.

Lastly... if you need visual inspiration. Pinterest is your go-to. I am going to be creating some new boards this year that will focus on... well, organizing.. products, inspiration, motivation etc.

It's going to be a great year! I'm looking forward to sharing with you... before we get crazy, let me ask... 

what do you want from this year of giving?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Find: Organizing Your Club Cards

Last week, we made the trip into Portland to do the typical holiday returns. We spent the afternoon going from store to store making returns, exchanges while taking advantage of the post-holiday sales. 

When planning for that type of trip into Portland, there are so many things to remember.. gift receipts, shopping lists and most of all - the right club/reward(or frequent shopper) cards. I'm not a big fan of those types of cards. It's just one more step in the shopping process that you have to take to save money or be rewarded for shopping in a specific store. I know you can often manage those accounts with a phone number, but not always... or worse. You have to have the card with you. 

Enter my new favorite app: CardStar

This free app manages EVERYTHING that has a bar code. You can load your grocery club cards, rewards programs, library cards, family savings cards... if it's got a bar code, you can load in the number and your card is there. It's so easy to use...

1. Open the app.
2. Find your card.
3. Scan your card...

and your done. Simplify the reward redemption process AND lighten your load in your wallet! 

Have a favorite app to organize your life?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

3 things to do before the new year...

My favorite day of the year will always be December 31st. There is something so exciting about knowing that the next time I wake up, it will be a brand new year. 

I love December 31st, not just because it's the last day of the year - but because there are 3 specific tasks that I tackle on that day. 

I can always count on December 31st to accomplish these few simple, yet important tasks. It's probably not a big deal to you - but to me it's what keeps our family organized. Often taking me anywhere from 2-3 hours of my day but so worth the time spent! Want to know what they are?

New Computer Files: It usually takes me about 30-40 minutes, but I take the time to create new file folders and/or documents for the new year. I review my current files on my computer, updating dates or creating an updated version of each document. If I have annual folders (i.e. photo files), I create the new folder so I'm all set to go when the year arrives. Taking care and organizing your computer files (Simply Fabulous Tips) is as important as your paper files... imagine never cleaning out a paper folder... ever. Leah over at Simply Fabulous Living has some great tips on how to get that done...

Purge Paper Files: My favorite task of all. This usually takes me about 60 minutes (I like to reminisce about the past year... things we purchased, trips we took...) while I sit on the floor, put on Pandora and sort through the paper files. We organize our files by month; so it's usually the 12 monthly folders plus a few miscellaneous files (i.e taxes, insurance, house papers etc.). I pull out each folder, sorting out important documents, memorabilia items I want to keep such as birthday cards or notes and things to toss. Piles look like: keep, shred, toss. All the files get put back into the drawer, empty and ready for the new year.

Shred. Shred. Shred: This task speaks for itself - I shred it all taking anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the pile. Still listening to Pandora I sit until it's done. Usually, we add the shredded paper into the compost bin (assuming it's all just paper) to get a little extra something out of that useless paper.

For me, starting the year off with a clean file drawer and my computer documents ready to go is worth every minute. Here are a few inspiring new year posts that I have enjoyed... Ellen Faye: Set yourself up for 2013, Aby Garvey: 3 questions to achieve your goals, and The Organising Queen: My year end goal process. Enjoy!

What do you like to have done before the new year begins?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

5 secrets to meal planning

It's not a secret that I am a little obsessed with meal planning. If you ask anyone in my family - at some point on any given Sunday, you will find me curled up with my schedule, grocery circular and menu list planning out our next two weeks of meals. It's become a simple habit that is as natural as brushing my teeth or doing my laundry. 

Now, I will tell you that you have to dedicate some time to this process. It's taken me the better part of 3-4 years to perfect my system - but for me, it works! Some people have to plan for health reasons (Plan to Eat), to loose weight (Skinny Mom's Kitchen) and some plan just because (What's For Dinner?)... For me, it helped me to find a balance between time, money and sanity...

1. Have a Meal List. About a year ago, I created a list of our favorite meals. Every time we try a new meal and we like it, it gets added to the list. You will never have to wonder what to cook or what the family likes. Having a list of the meals the family likes saves you time!

2. Shop the Ad + the Pantry + the Fridge. Always start with the things you have, the things that are on sale and then go from there. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly your week will fill up when you start with the basics. Shopping before you actually hit the store will always save you money!

3. Use Your Schedule. When planning, ALWAYS know what your schedule is. If you are working late, have a busy day and know you need an easy meal... account for that in your planning. Document your meal plan on a family calendar so that you don't get asked 10 times that day "What's for Dinner?" Planning your meal time will hands down - save you time!

4. 3+1+1+1+1=7. I try to incorporate the following routine into our week: 3 White Meat meals + 1 Meatless+ 1 Red Meat + 1 Casserole + 1 New Recipe. Again, simplify the process by making the choices easier and ultimately save you time during the planning process.

5. For Goodness Sakes - Make a List! Without a list, it's virtually impossible for me to know what you need. It's an opportunity for overspending, impulse shopping and wasteful purchases. Do I need to say that this will save you money

Need list help? Check out ListPlanIt or the many apps available for your portable device. 

Still stuck? Post your questions in the comments happy to help! Happy planning!