A Change of Address

So excited!  I have launched my new website – www.organizedhabits.com

There is lots of information, case studies and resources there for you.  There is even a quiz – “How Organized Are You?”

And the best thing is I have moved my blog to that website.

Yep, it’s a one stop shop; everything under one roof.  Pretty organized, don’t ya think?

Please visit my updated blog at http://www.organizedhabits.com/blog.

I’m still alive and kickin’ but this blog is no longer active.

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New Years Resolution: To Get Organized!

Getting organized is usually at the top of everyone’s list in January.

…and goes by the wayside in February.

You cannot get organized if you do not have a plan.  In conjunction with your personal planner, I have just released Organize for 2010 . This planner is for your organization projects!

Cool, I know… This planner lays out your organizing projects by month and and by theme.  It gives you a place to make notes and set due dates.  Best of all it’s simple to use and encourages rewarding yourself when you have accomplished the monthly projects!

You can order your electronic copy now for only $10.00.

The first 20 people who order will also receive an instructional video that I have recorded to show you how to use the Organize for 2010 planner.

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Focus Tip #5

The “S” in FOCUS stands for:

Set goals

Imagine jumping in your car, with your family in tow, for your much-needed vacation.  Your destination? Yosemite National Park.  You put the car in reverse, back out of your driveway and roll down the street heading towards the freeway.  As you get to the on ramp to the highway you ask your passengers which direction to head – north or south.  They respond with a blank stare.  They don’t know how to get to Yosemite, they thought you knew…..

Going to any vacation destination without a map or set of directions is futile.  So is going about your day, your week, your life without goals!  Setting goals helps you set a certain direction for your life.  To be better focused, you must have goals.  To reach your goals you then create the action steps needed.  These action steps help your focus to stay on what is important to you.

Goals can also help you evaluate those things that come at you in life.  They help you to make better decisions; if an opportunity presents itself, you need to make sure it aligns with your goals.  If it does not and you take off in that direction anyway, you have lost focus.  Many people have goals for their personal growth, their careers, the financial well-being and other areas important to them.   What goals do you want ?  How can you take action to achieve them?

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Focus Tip #4

The “U” in FOCUS stands for:

Use a planning tool

Dwight Eisenhower said, ” Plans are nothing, planning is everything.”

In other words, it’s not about what you are going to do, it’s about what you have planned to do.  So set up some type of planning tool.  There are many varieties to choose from: white boards, wall calendars, paper planners, pdas and smart phones just to name a few.   Use what works for you.

Set aside time each week to plan your schedule, not just your time sensitive appointments but time allotted for your projects, your family and, most of all, time for yourself.  Make sure to leave margins in your schedule too. These are gaps of time that allow for things like travel time, meetings that run late, and last minute errands. Remember we have already discovered that you can opt out of a few things…. To be productive also think in terms of time blocking.  This means using chunks of time for similar tasks.  For example:

  1. Run all your errands on the same day instead of going one or two different places each day.
  2. Set up a specific amount of time to spend checking email and being on the internet.
  3. Make all your phone calls in one chunk of time, instead of spreading them throughout the day.

If you need help finding a planner or learning how to do weekly planning, I’m here to help!

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Focus Tip #3

The “C” in FOCUS stands for:

Curb your screen time

The screen time I am referring to can be two different things – the computer and/or the television. To improve your daily focus, decrease the amount of time you spend in front of those screens.  If you want to increase your productivity and accomplish more each day, you must be aware of how you spend your time.  Many of my clients have made comments like “the internet is a black hole”, “I get sucked in if I sit down and turn on the TV”, or “I am addicted to Facebook”.  I understand that at times we are so overwhelmed by our situations, that the screen can be a nice escape. But we must control our time and how much we sit in front of a screen has a direct correlation to how productive we are.

To manage your screen time you can:

  1. Set boundaries and manage when and for how long you will be in front of the screen
  2. Use a timer to remind you when you need to step away from the screen
  3. Plan your day and use the screen time as a reward for getting important priorities out of the way first

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Focus Tip #2

The “O” in FOCUS stands for:

Opt out of a few things

As you go through your week be on the look out for things that crowd your life but do not bring value.

My mentor, Barbara Hemphill, always said  that a productive environment is “an intentional setting in which  everything around you supports your goals and who you want to be”.  Sit with that for a minute. ….   Now look around your desk, your home, your emails and what do you find there that does not support your goals and who you want to be?  Here are a few examples of things I have found that don’t bring value to my life:

  1. Subscribing to a blog feed that I never read
  2. Getting an weekly email that had quotes that I never found useful
  3. Magazines that I never read
  4. The weekend newspaper
  5. A networking group that met in the evening

This short list is an example of how, over a period of time, we fail to see the things that are not useful.  While we do not “see” them, they do add to the mental clutter of our minds.  Seeing the weekend paper, for example, stack up on the entry table makes me feel guilty for not taking the time to read it.  I also feel the neglected newspaper is a waste of natural resources if I am not using it; after all, trees were cutdown to make that newspaper.

In order to focus, we must opt out of a few things.  These things may be in the “background” of our day to day life and we may not pay much attention to them.  However, they are still in our peripheral. If we want better focus and more time in our day, we need to get rid of the unproductive things to make room for life.

So, I’m curous. What can you opt out of this week?  Post a comment here.

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Focus Tip #1

I’m tired of hearing that old cliche “There’s not enough hours in a day!”

News Flash:  There ARE enough hours in the day if you focus! I will be posting 5 tips, distinct actions, that you can implement to improve your focus. And just to be crafty, I am making “FOCUS” an acronym to help you remember.

The “F” in focus stands for

Forget multitasking

Multitasking is not an effective way to focus your energies.  It actually will slow you down.  Many people brag about multitasking (namely moms who have a million things to do).  But multitasking just gives you a false sense of productivity.  ” Those who multitask are actually less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time”, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Here’s my analogy of multitasking.  Stand at a light switch on your wall.  Now turn it on….

Turn it off

Turn it on

Turn it off

Turn it on…

Not only is that annoying but it will eventually make your finger tired too.  In this analogy, your brain is the light switch and your tasks (or areas of focus) are the light and the darkness. Your brain does not really do to things at the same time, it is literally switching back and forth between the tasks. You are losing precious time in the switching back and forth.

Warning – short term memory loss ahead!  How many time have you been frustrated about forgetting your train of thought or losing what you were about to say?  Multitasking can contribute to short term memory loss.
So in order to increase your focus do things one at a time to completion.  Don’t think about the next task until you have finished the first one, at least to some point of completion.

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