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TIPS & THOUGHTS

Find tips to help you organize your office, be more productive, manage desk clutter, and improve work-life balance. Want more? I offer hands-on support to help you find more time, get more done, and enjoy life more for those of you in Central/Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia. I offer organizing coaching and vitual organizing for those of you outside the South Jersey area.

PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY AND ORGANIZING TIPS

TOO MANY CHOICES YIELDS INACTION
What's easier, picking from 3 restaurants or 30, 3 types of paper or 30, 3 next projects or 30? Too many choices lead to frustration, anxiety and second guessing. And with too many choices, we start doubting ourselves and become unable to make effective decisions. When we stop deciding things never get done or change. Limit your choices to the top 3, decide and move on!  


WHAT CAN YOU FINISH THIS WEEK?

I bet there is an annoying task that you've just kept putting off. I bet you've invested more time and energy thinking about doing it then it will take to actually do it. How will you feel when it's done? Imagine the relief! Want it off your list? Schedule it and challenge yourself to follow through and get it done! 

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT

Remove distractions to focus on what you want - what you want to do, how you want to spend your time and what items and belongings you want to keep close to you. When you take away the things that don't matter you are left with the most important things. Life becomes easier because you are now choosing among your favorites. Decisions are made faster and are going to be more meaningful too.



DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT

Sometimes DONE is better than perfect. Do you have something you've been wanting to do for a while? Are you waiting for the chance to do it perfectly? Bet that time never comes! How frustrating is it that you never seem to get these projects done? Try not waiting until you have time to do it perfectly. Ask yourself if "GOOD ENOUGH" would be good enough? Some things are fine when they aren't perfect. Get it done and celebrate. 


THE 80/20 RULE...AGAIN

Typically 20% of our work gives us 80% of our results. If you are spending the majority of your time on the 80% that is only giving you 20% of your results, chances are you aren't finding the success you desire. This week, when creating your to-do list, try prioritizing the 20% that really counts.


PROCRASTINATING?

If you're frequently checking email and Facebook you may be procrastinating. It can be helpful to ask if this time you are spending is contributing to achieving the things you want from your life. It's okay to take a bit of downtime, but if you are doing those things instead of what will propel you forward, you might want to reassess your priorities.
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5 MINUTES TO CLARITY
Trying to figure out what to do next? Try this - identify ONE thing you want for the following parts of your life; Family, Work, Service and Self. Write an action sentence for each of them and post them where you'll see them. Let these mini- goals guide how you spend your time. It's amazing how effective this simple exercise can be!
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GET IT DONE ON TIME!
When planning a project try this: list all the steps and put them in order. Then project how long each step will take. Now here is the trick - assign due dates backwards. If it needs to be done by Friday write that in. Then write in the date for the next to last step & so on. You now have a workable time line, or if not, you can tweak it before it's too late.
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TRYING TO DECIDE HOW TO SPEND YOUR TIME?
Time management is managing your time so you get done what you
HAVE TO DO while leaving enough time to do what you WANT TO DO.
What do you need to STOP doing so that you have the time to do the things that give you pleasure, joy, and fulfillment?
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DON'T OVER-ORGANIZE
The goal of getting organized is not to be perfect, it's to make life easier. Do you want to get your mail under control? File your paperwork? Find your summer shoes? Complex systems are rarely the answer. Once I give clients permission to not be perfect, their progress takes off. Ask yourself "what is good enough?"
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OWN THE LAST MINUTE PATTERN
If you thrive on deadlines, it's better to plan for them then fight them. Plan backwards to your deadline; write down the steps, project how long each step will take, and back in to the end point. Then work the plan. You'll be working up to the wire, but instead of stress you just might find joy.
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REMOVE DISTRACTIONS AND GET RESULTS
When you sit down to do a project, turn OFF the internet (think about how easily you get distracted by emails & FaceBook). Let your phone go to voicemail (think about how difficult it is to start & stop). If you worked uninterrupted for 30 minutes how much could you accomplish? I bet a whole lot more.
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KEEP YOUR SPACE UNDER CONTROL
When deciding if you should buy something or not, it is helpful to consider if you have a place to keep it. If you don't have a place for it, are you willing to give something up in order to make room for it? If not, then you may want to question the value of bringing it into your space.
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PLAN YOUR WORK
My most effective days are the ones when I plan my work. I start by making a realistic list of what I want to get done, then I ballpark how much time each item could take (then I double it!), lastly I assign a time frame to each task. From that list I can tell if I'm falling behind and can compensate appropriately.
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PUT IT WHERE YOU USE IT
We've all heard the old adage "a place for everything & everything in its place." That's only 1/2 the battle - when the "place" is practical you'll know where to find it & it will be easy to put away. When deciding where "its place" is, ask yourself: How will I use it? How often will I use it? Where will I use it? Where would I look for it?
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NEED MORE TIME?
Ask yourself:
- Is the task I'm doing really necessary?
- Can the time I'm spending on it be shortened?
- Will the task result be utilized?
Reassessing the value of the items on your to-do list can make a real difference in the quality of your work & your life.
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WHAT'S WORKING?
Analyze the characteristics of the systems that work for you. Do you like color coding or BOLD BLACK? Do you like step-by-step instructions or general guidelines? Do you like files or piles? Look at your challenges in a new light - what can you apply from the systems that work to the ones that need improvement?
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DECIDE WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT
When you decide what is most important, making choices becomes easier. This is the first step to bringing order and control to your work, your home, and your life. Clarifying priorities helps you to focus on the things that will make a real difference in your quality of life.
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MAKE A TAX FILE
Put everything you'll need to do your taxes in one place. Don't worry about categorizing it - just put it there. When it's tax time everything will be together & that's the most important thing your preparer needs. Difficulty gathering back up is the most common reason people file extensions.
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ALL THOSE GIFTS - NOW WHAT?
First, assess it. Would you have bought it yourself? If the answer is no, then give it away or store in out of your prime space. Do you hate it? Donate it NOW. Gifts are meant to enrich life. If they don't, it's OK to give them away before they takes up another ounce of your time, space, or energy.
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DO IT FOR YOURSELF
Organizing for your boss, your spouse or your neighbor just isn't going to work. Organizing takes time, energy, & often money. You owe it to yourself to be able to enjoy life without all the stress. Imagine knowing what you have and what you need. Imagine knowing your family treasures are safe. Imagine peace.
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ORGANIZE FOR FUNCTION
Looking neat and being useful are two different things. Systems work best when they are easy to use. If you have to take lids off & stack to access things you use frequently, you are going to end up with a pile of stuff around the lidded bins & nothing inside! Try drawers, shelves, & keeping the lids off instead!
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EMAIL INBOX OVERWHELMING?
Make a 2011 folder and move EVERYTHING into it. You can still find what you need if you need it because it will still be in chronological order, but your inbox can now be usefull. Delete or file new emails that don't need follow-up and you'll be left with a more manageable action list!
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I LOVE POST-ITS!
Use them for creating categories when sorting. Turn them upside down & use them for a quick file tab. Cut the unsticky part off of Super Sticky Post-Its & use the sticky part for semi-permanent notes. If you like to color code, have a nice supply on hand. Also - my brights are super stickys & dulls are regular - I can grab what I need in a flash!
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THE VALUE OF STUFF
What is your stuff giving you? What does it take from you? Does it enhance your life or drain it? A lot of people are telling me that they are overwhelmed with their stuff. When trying to decide if you should keep or do something a great question to ask is: "Will my life be different in 5 years if I let it go?"
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THINK ABOUT NO DIFFERENTLY
Depression Era thinking coupled with Information Age availability is a recipe for disaster. If you read everything you could read, did everything you could do, and kept everything you could keep, life would be overwhelming. Enjoy life more by saying no to the unimportant things.
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"THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AREN'T THINGS" -- Art Buchwald
At this time of year, when we feel pressure and stress around gift giving, perhaps it will help you to remember that things are just things. They take space to keep and time to maintain. You might want to consider giving "experiences" instead.
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FREE ISN'T REALLY FREE.
I went to a wonderful party yesterday with lots of free party favors. I saw people taking and taking and taking. I kept thinking "Where are they going to put it all"? Free isn't really free. It takes time to put it away, space to keep it, and energy to maintain it. If you wouldn't spend money on it, think twice before taking it!
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PLAN ACTION.
Wishing you were organized doesn't get you organized. Action is the first step to change. With Summer winding down you may be thinking that Fall is the perfect time to get organized. How will you make that happen? If you don't think about it until September you won't be taking action until October. Plan now.
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CHOOSE WISELY
Once you decide what is important, making choices becomes easier. Being clear about what is important is the first step in bringing order and control to your work, your home, and your life. Identifying what your priorities are, helps you to organize so that you can best focus on the things that make a difference in the quality of your life.
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MEASURE BEFORE YOU BUY.
Take a walk around the Container Store. It's one of this Professional Organizer's favorite spots. Look for ideas on how to get organized. See what's new in home organizing and office organizing. We are lucky to have the Container Store in Southern New Jersey - right here in Cherry Hill! Just remember to measure before you buy!!!


Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
~Lin Yutang

Remember that you are procrastinating if you work on a trivial task while a
more important one remains undone.
Institute for Challenging Disorganization

You can't fill your pockets with gold if they are filled with junk.
Simon Aslanian


 

You can't have all you want and keep all you have.
Kathy Waddell


 

Lost time is never found again.
Benjamin Franklin

Time to get more focused, organized, and productive?
Contact Ellen at ellen@ellenfaye.com or 856.448.4608.
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Certifications & Affiliations

Certified Professional Organizers (CPO)National Association of Professional Organizers10 year Golden Circle
Certified Organizer CoachInstitute for Challenging Disorganization
Napo Specialist for Workplace ProductivitySouth Jersey Organizers

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