Category Archives: Organization Tips

5 Reasons Why Blogs are Dying (Part 3)

Every day this week I am going to write about the five main reasons why so many blogs are dying out.
1. Lack of Time / 2. Lack of Content / 3. Lack of Focus / 4. Lack of Response / and 5. Lack of Tangible Benefits

Lack of Focus

Most writers find it difficult to write about one main topic. Choosing a blog name and finding a niche is very difficult. That’s why choosing a focus will help you create a better following.

Narrowing down your focus (i.e. writing about basketball vs. just sports or reviewing bar and grills vs. just restaurants) is helpful because you can prove yourself an expert of your own niche. Start small and branch out eventually.

Choosing optimal keywords and categories and tags will help your blog become more search engine index friendly. This will help your blog to become more popular and inspire more targeted visitors to encourage real conversations.

This leads me to tomorrow’s important point: reader’s response whether in email form or comment form is validation and the lack of it is discouragement.

Can You See the Clutter?

I came across a great article this morning in my inbox from Zen Habits. It talks about clutter, what it is, how to identify it and how to let go of it. I have come to look forward to those emails as I myself have been working really hard on creating a simpler, clutter-free lifestyle.

I guess my friends would consider me a minimalist. I don’t like knick knacks all over my house or all over my desk. Aside from my two computers, a phone, a printer and a notepad, the only other “decorative” thing on my desk is a picture of my sister-in-law and me on vacation. Actually, it’s not just a picture; it’s a picture on a pencil holder. See…less clutter. :)

At any rate, I really identified with this article. There are nine (9) suggested tips to help you identify whether or not something in your life, work or home is actually clutter. If it is, the article forces you (in a very gentle way) to honestly reevaluate whether or not it is necessary.

For me, going through this small checklist was more of an affirmation than anything else. That someone else out there was doing the same thing and coming up with the same or similar answers. Or perhaps, dilemmas. I have decided to make this an ongoing project and go through one room at a time throughout my office and house and start eliminating excess clutter. With winter and dare I say it…Christmas fast approaching, what better way to past the time and thus free up space, right?

I encourage all of you to read the article – Nine Quick Tips to Identify Clutter and see where you can perhaps de-clutter yourself. I promise you it’s a short read and can be read during your morning cup of coffee.

Before I go, I liked to share with you all my favorite step:

  • Is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? One of my Secrets of Adulthood is: Just because things are nicely organized doesn’t mean they’re not clutter. No matter how tidily a thing is stored, if I never use it, why keep it?

Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

Disorganization-How Much Is It Costing You?

Everyone at one time or another gets a little bit disorganized.  It happens to the best of us and there is nothing to be ashamed of.  But, there are several hidden costs that either we don’t think about or don’t even know about that are simply bleeding us dry financially.

For instance, all the small late fees you pay when you miss the due date on your phone, credit card or utility bill.  Those are just a few that you may notice, but what about the ways you don’t notice by being disorganized?

Take for instance your groceries.  If you generate a physical list (being organized), you most likely will have to only make trip.  But, if you go to the store with only a mental list (being disorganized) you are more likely to forget something, thus have to make an extra trip.  Gas is not cheap these days and having to make extra trips to the store will generate more costs, thereby draining your monetary funds.  What about during the dreaded tax season?  If you don’t have an organized filing system in place throughout the year for all of your receipts, you could potentially be missing out on some great tax credits for your business.  OUCH!

Do you realize that office distractions add up to an average of 2.1 hours per day for each employee?  If you have paperwork piled all over your desk, are consistently late for meetings or actually miss them all together because you can’t find the documents you need or you don’t have a calendar handy showing your appointments, this is a sure sign of disorganization.  But don’t give up hope! This is an area that can be worked on.  You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity for advancement in your current job or on securing that new client!  Take charge of your situation and turn things around.  It can be done!

Lastly, take a look at your appearance.  Yes, you make work from home, but do you really need to look like it?  You know the scenario…ratty hair, wrinkled pajamas, slippers.  That’s fine on the days you aren’t feeling well and don’t plan on leaving the house.  However, I would suggest getting dressed anyway.  It’s nice to know that we don’t always have to look our best when working from home, but we shouldn’t necessarily take it to the extreme.  Whether you believe it or not, this is also a sign of disorganization.  You never know who will come knocking at your door (UPS guy) or what last-minute errand or appointment you will need to make.  If you are disheveled, when you meet others, just know that will be your first impression.  Is that really how you want people to perceive you?  So, get up out of your comfy pj’s, slip on a pair of jeans, a nice shirt and comb your hair.  I guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself and that confidence will exude outwardly.

For more inspiration on ways to get more organized, check out Get More Organized Now.  This site has all the tips and tricks you will ever need to help you get organized in your personal life as well as your business life.  It’s been a life saver for me.  :)

It Can’t Be That Easy, Right?

Get organized…what a daunting statement!  Well, not necessarily.  The Psychology of Being states that ‘organization is having a system for everything.  By utilizing these systems, or routines, you manage to run a household, you manage to be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there, you manage to do everything that needs to be done and you manage to find the time to do the things you enjoy. The only way you can manage to do it all these days is if you are organized. And that means having a system. It’s really the easy way out, but so few people seem to be able to grasp it.’

I agree with that definition, but what I would like to focus this post on is how to get organized.  Contrary to what some may believe, it’s not an innate behavior.  Organizational skills may come easier to some, but organization is a learned behavior and one that everyone can master! 

Getting organized doesn’t have to be a HUGE deal.  You don’t need to buy expensive systems to help get you organized, nor do you have to make it such a chore.  In fact, if done in small doses, you might not even realize you’re doing it.  But when you look around your room, kitchen, home office, etc. and can see a light at the end of the tunnel…what a relief!  Right?

Here are a few things you can do in your daily life to help you become more organized.  My husband likes the term “sensuous” (sense you was).  Meaning sense you were already doing this, how about doing that as well.

  • Before taking out the trash, take a walk-through of your refrigerator and toss anything that is too old or expired.
  • Before leaving the kitchen after washing and drying the dishes, why not take a look under the sink?  I’m sure there are several items under there (like flower vases, perhaps) that should be…move them to their proper place.
  • I know that nightly television time is your time to wind down, but why not crank out those “thank you” cards while watching that rerun of “Grey’s Anatomy”?  I mean, come on.  How long does it really take to write a short thank you…a full commercial maybe?
  • We all have to grocery shop, right?  But when was the last time we cleaned out our cars?  Why not take the opportunity to toss trash, bring in that extra work-out outfit that’s not being used or make sure your emergency kit for the trunk is up to date, right after the last bag of groceries has been brought into the house?

These small additions to your daily routine may sound silly or even pointless, but they will make a difference.  Not to mention, they don’t carve out lots of extra time out of your day.  Little efforts each day to organize yourself now, will pay off later down the road. 

Are You Following These Habits????

A few months back I came across an article written by Sarah Stebbins for “O” magazine, called “The 10 Habits of Highly Organized People.”  Now, I’m not normally an “O” magazine reader, but my mom is and she’ll mention articles of interest to me every so often.  As a matter of fact, I’m astonished she didn’t tell me about this one!  LOL 

At any rate, the article is pretty short and simple, which I happen to like, but makes total sense.  It’s relatable and easy to follow.  So many times when you read something about the habits of successful people, they seem so….unobtainable.  These don’t.   There are ten (10) insightful habits in all, but I’m only going to share a few of them with you.  The rest you can check out for yourself. 

  • Make peace with imperfectionI know this is a hard one, but I promise you, you’ll get the hang of it.  As long as you put forth your best effort, that’s good enough!  Striving to be perfect is exhausting and boring!  Besides, a little imperfection never hurt anyone, right?
  • Schedule regular decluttering sessionsWhy wait for a build-up?  Do you like feeling overwhelmed with stacks of paper everywhere?  Try scheduling 10-15 minutes of your time, say at the end of your day, going through your office, sorting through your mail or finally going through that pile of magazines on the floor that seems to continue to grow.  Even the littlest of things that you can put away in their rightful place will help you feel more at ease.
  •  Separate emotions from possessionsEver heard of the term ‘pack rat’?  Most of us know of someone or is that certain someone who can’t seem to get rid of anything because it reminds us of something or someone else.  Sentimentality has always been my weakness, however, I have learned over the years, that most of the material items I was holding on to were just that…material.  My memories won’t fade if I let go of that old sweatshirt from my father nor will my feelings for my husband fade away if I get rid of the dried up flowers from our anniversary.  There are memories attached to these things, yes, but honestly, I don’t need them and they are just taking up space.  So, I let them go.
  • Never label anything “miscellaneous”This one rocked my world!  Who doesn’t have a file somewhere labeled miscellaneous?  Do you know what all is in that file?  I sure didn’t.  But, the habit makes sense.  If you go through this folder, you’ll find either things you don’t need or things that should be filed elsewhere.  The article suggests making specific groups and then sorting your files that way.

I don’t know about you, but these habits are extremely easy to understand and follow. I love personal growth articles that only take a few minutes to read and motivate me for personal change.   I am looking forward to re-reading this article again and putting those thoughts out into the universe.

Having Calendar Issues? Try These Tips!

As many of you know, I am in love with the Microsoft Outlook calendar.  It’s functions are endless and for me, putting everything I do in one central location has been a tremendous help.  I can track the time I spend on all my work projects, schedule my available time for household errands and still see where I have free time for me.  Yea!!! 

I recently came across a great article from The Crabby Office Lady, who wrote about some unique tips for the Outlook calendar that I thought were worth sharing.  Here are just a few:

  • Change the time periods in the Calendar gridYou can change the default setting for 30-minute time slots to 5-, 6-, 10-, 15-, or 60-minute time slots by right-clicking the actual calendar, click “Other Settings”, and then click the number you want from the “Time Scale” list.  I chose the 15-minute interval since that works better for me.
  • Quickly change an appointment into an all-day event – Once you are in the calendar, switch to “Day” view and drag the appointment to the day heading.  This works great for when the cable guy will be at your house anywhere between the hours of 8-5. 
  • Quickly switch to viewing by month in Calendar – Click in calendar and then press ALT+EQUAL SIGN.  Loved this tip!  Talk about quick!

There are several other Outlook calendar tips from The Crabby Lady that I did not share with you, as well as tips ranging from silly thoughts on life to office and work tips that are great.  The added humor she uses puts things into perspective nicely.

I hope these tips have come in as handy for you as they have for me.  Enjoy and happy scheduling!