How to be successful at interviews

No matter how expert or experienced you are, when you are applying for a promotion in your own organisation, or a post in another organisation, being fully prepared for the interview is critical. Your expertise, knowledge, reputation, experience, and appearance, will help you, but it is highly likely that the other candidates will have similar attributes.

Here is list of actions that you should carry out in order to be fully prepared. Gather information about the recruiting organisation (this includes your present employer if it is an internal interview): before you decide whether to attend the interview, it is essential that you gather information about the organisation and analyse this. You need information on its recent and forecast performance, the condition of the business sector in which it operates, and the post that it is offering. If the organisation and sector are healthy, and the post looks secure and has potential, then you can move on to the next stage. If your findings are negative then it is almost certain that the best decision would be to reject the opportunity. You need to gather information about the condition of yourself, looking at how your personal and career plans are progressing, focusing on how the prospects in your current job match with your personal and career objectives, and then how the new post could help you to achieve those objectives.

Decide to attend or not to attend the interview. You need to make an objective decision as to whether taking up this new post is the right decision for you, at this time. Armed with the information that you gathered earlier, you can assess the merits of being appointed to the new post, against staying in your current post, albeit perhaps until a more appropriate opportunity arises, and make your decision confidently. It is, of course, tempting to apply for a job which appears to offer a higher salary, more responsibility, more status, and new directions, and if this is so appealing that you are confident that you can adjust your development plans to match it, and be happy with that decision, then yes, attend the interview and perform to the best of your ability. However, be warned that the interviewers may well reject you because it will become obvious to them that the position they are offering is not a natural fit with your career to date, and worse, they may well ask you how this new opportunity fits with your future personal development plans, and be disappointed with your unconvincing response.

Gather details of the job itself. You need as much information as you can gather about the nature of the job, the role, responsibilities, reporting relationships, location of the workplace, working conditions, and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, and corporate policies and procedures that apply to the position. Some of this information will be given to you in the information pack sent to you by the interviewing organisation, or department, but often, sadly, the quality of information sent out is poor. Most professional organisations will have HR departments that will answer your questions on these issues, or pass you on to the appropriate line manager.

Research the interview format: you need to do some basic but essential research on the practicalities of the interview. Again, some of this information will be sent to you. You should be clear about: how to get to the organisation and the specific interview location (don’t rely on asking for this information when you arrive, as this adds to the stress of the occasion); who is on the interview panel (their titles will give you important clues as to their relationships to the post); what format the interview will take (there is nothing worse than arriving expecting a traditional face-to-face interview and finding that it is a day-long series of tests, group activities, and interviews).

Timing of arrival. Make sure that you arrive in good time, allowing time to tidy your physical appearance after your journey, and sufficient time to become calm before the actual interview.

Your appearance. Do not make the mistake of thinking that it is only your history, qualifications, skills, and knowledge that will win you the job. Most other candidates will have similar attributes, so you need to make an impression, to look professional, smart, and appropriate for the post. In many cases, there will have been a previous holder of the post that the interviewers may be using, albeit subconsciously, as a benchmark. You can’t guess what the interviewers want, or don’t want, in terms of physical appearance and personality, but don’t for one second believe anyone that tells you this doesn’t matter (it shouldn’t, perhaps, in certain circumstances, but you are being invited into their world, and they will be looking for someone who they will be comfortable with (even if the role requires you to be an aggressive change-agent). Yes, in some countries there is legislation that says the job should be offered to the most appropriate person, regardless of appearance, but in real life this isn’t what happens. The answer to this dilemma is to research the culture of the organisation that you are joining, so that you are aware of how people, in positions similar to the one you are being interviewed for, dress and behave, and you can comment on or ask questions about this during the interview. However, don’t go to the interview in jeans and t-shirt, even if that’s the day to day standard. You need to look as professional, as serious about obtaining the job, as possible. For men, that almost certainly means a business suit, or jacket and trousers, with or without tie. For women, a business suit or business outfit. For both sexes, smart-casual can be acceptable, if, but only if, it is that type of environment. In most situations, for most posts on offer to professionals, specialists, managers, experts, consultants, a business outfit is expected at the interview, even if, after appointment, they would never again expect you to come to work in anything remotely as formal.

Your approach. In a word, think positively. You are offering your talents, your experience, your time, effort, and energies, to this organisation, and you need to give the impression that you would be a valuable asset that they would be foolish to reject. This doesn’t mean being aggressive, over enthusiastic, pompous, or pretentious, but it does mean showing the interviewers that you are a confident, assertive, pro-active, flexible, professional who would perform successfully if appointed.

Prepare for, and practice answering, the interview questions: think about questions that you are likely to be asked. Brainstorm this with a colleague, friend, or partner, and practice answering. Practice using the interview questions to strengthen your argument that you are the best person for the job. For example, you will be almost certainly be asked about your experience and qualifications, even though this will be shown in your CV. Your response should be phrased in such a way that you relate your experience, knowledge, and qualifications, to the role and responsibilities of the new post, showing how these existing attributes will give you the confidence and skills to successfully handle the tasks that lie ahead. With luck you will not be asked questions such as - What do you think are the main benefits that you could bring to this job, if appointed? However, it still happens, so you must be prepared for them. Again, practice responding in a way which links your experience and existing skills to the demands of the new role. If you are asked - What would you say are your biggest strengths and worst weaknesses? then talk mostly about your strengths, giving examples of how these have been effectively used, and be very, very careful talking about your alleged weaknesses. Choose a relatively harmless weakness that could be interpreted as a strength, such as being over-zealous about quality criteria being met, or insisting on deadlines being met which can upset some team members. Don’t, under any circumstances, negatively criticise your present or past employers, or colleagues. Even if the organisation that you work for is known to have faults or bad practices, don’t criticise it or any personnel within it. This is almost always a fatal mistake. You will almost always be asked some questions about the interviewing organisation. Again, use these as an opportunity to show you have researched the organisation, but also to explore what the organisation is planning (at least in the area that you will be working in), and-or what they are expecting of you. For example, you could mention new markets that the organisation has recently entered and ask if that will impact on the post that you are being interviewed for. If you are asked about hobbies and interests, don’t give a list of twenty, keep it simple and don’t try to impress with esoteric hobbies that you don’t actually have. Imagine saying that you enjoy watching French films and then being asked a question about this, in French, by one of the interviewers who is fluent in the language!

Questions asked by you. Most interviews will close with the interviewee being asked if they have any questions to ask. The answer should always be - Yes. Have two questions ready, and either ask these or ask one of them and one that has arisen because something raised in the interview. Make sure that your questions are ones that reinforce your suitability for the post. You could, for example, ask questions about personal development opportunities, explaining, briefly, what you feel would be a potentially useful development activity (of benefit to you and to the organisation) if you were to be offered the post (this should be an area that you have considered whilst researching the organisation and the job itself).

General behaviour: remember, you are being assessed at all times, possibly from when you enter the building and approach the receptionist, certainly from the moment you walk into the interview room to the moment you leave. You must be as natural and relaxed, physically and mentally, as possible, but also professional, polite, and courteous. Never argue, unless you have been given a direct instruction to give your opposing views. Be alert, show an interest in each interviewer as the ask questions, and answer directly to that person, but occasionally look at the others during your answer. In answering questions, don’t be evasive, be confident, and use your answers to demonstrate how you would make a good match for the position on offer.

Final word. As the interview ends, thank the interviewers for their time and questions. Say that you would be very pleased if appointed to the job and that you look forward to hearing from them. Even if you have doubts at that moment, this is a courteous and wise way to end the interview. You may later decide that you would like the job and if you have appeared negative as the interview ended you will have reduced your chances considerably.

In summary, the key to being successful at an interview is to treat it as a project that needs to be planned and executed in as professional a manner as possible. Changing jobs, moving into a new position, changing organisations, changing the direction of your career, perhaps moving into a different business sector, leaving behind friends and colleagues, meeting, working with, managing, new colleagues, is a major change in your life. The interview is your doorway into a new world, into the next stage of your personal development. It is a major event, a major opportunity, and must be treated as one.

Do you owe a debt of thanks

This is a time of year when many people take stock of all that they are grateful for -- or at least when we should do so. But this should also be a time when we take stock of all those people who contributed to those gifts -- especially the intangible ones. Those gifts such as our self-esteem or confidence, our love of sports or music, and our spine. What person or group do you owe the greatest debt? Was there a special person or group that really helped you become the person you are today?

Was there someone who helped you believe in yourself and your ability? Was there someone who taught you to appreciate life in a new way? Was there just someone who was there so you could count on them no matter what?

Most of us have been fortunate to have not just one person but a whole team of teachers, coaches, and mentors who helped us grow and reach our potential. We should remember to thank those people again and again as we live the lives they helped us shape. Even more important we need to repay that debt -- not to those individuals but to society. How is your debt? Have you paid it yet or are you still pretending it doesn't exist?

We often hear the expression as it relates to criminals. It is sometimes used as a euphemism for incarceration. The truth is though that we all owe a debt to society. Not because we have done some harm to the community but instead because we have benefited from someone else doing good.

I am a Presbyterian and our expression of the Lord's Prayer includes the phrase "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". Obviously no matter how good we are and how exemplary our lives we can never repay our debt to God or his son so that part of the meaning is rather clear. I also think this means that we should do good for goodness sake rather than any potential benefit we may reap from the act.

I also think there is another level of meaning and this comes back to the central idea of our debt to society. I think when it comes down to acts of kindness there cannot be a one-to-one relationship. Obviously in many cases when a person is in need of help they may never be in a position to return that help in kind. But it isn't really what we want or need when we offer help or kindness in any case.

Whenever I do something charitable, helpful, or kind, I tend to view the act as contributing to a vast fund of kindness. Many times in my life I have profited from this fund and very likely I will continue to profit from it.

One of the reasons I like this concept is that I do think of it as a sort of fund or bank. The value grows exponentially rather than incrementally just as money would do if similarly invested. We should all be grateful for this because the truth is that we usually don't pay our debt to society.

Most of us will write the occasional check, buy a ticket for some raffle, and/or spend a few hours working here and there on some pet project. There are a few who will go much further than this and spend a large portion of their time, energy, and/or money for the greater good but they are far too few.

Often whenever we face pressure on our time or finances then it is our philanthropic activities that are the first to be sacrificed. I have been all too guilty of this myself. I wonder what would happen if we reversed this and instead put helping others first rather than last?

My challenge to you this week is simply to find a way to add to our goodness fund. Borrow from the concept of "Pay It Forward". When someone offers you a helping hand then be sure to pass the favor along at the first opportunity. Don't pick and choose. Don't balance your checkbook first. Don't take the easy path. Do what is right. You will know it when you see it.

Family friendly solutions

The first step is finding room for the stuff. Kids come with a lot of gear, from the time they’re babies until they’re out the door and into their own place. In the meantime, you have to find ways to accommodate everything from strollers and building blocks to hockey sticks and Barbie collections. When there’s a place for everything, there’s a better chance that the stuff will get put away. Don’t waste closet space. Add a shelving unit and storage bins, and put up hooks on the back of the closet door wherever possible. The small dresser that served your young child can be put into the closet at a later age.

Children’s beds often come with storage compartments underneath, and nightstands can have either drawers or shelves. When children share a room, bunk beds and sleeping lofts are obvious choices for saving space. Teenagers, especially those 6-footers, may very well need a full size bed rather than the standard twin. Again, think storage space underneath or headboards that incorporate storage space.

Even if your school-age child has a computer desk, he or she may still not have enough room for spreading out books and binders at homework time. Consider a large desk if there’s room, or maintain an open policy about using the kitchen or dining room table for homework. But remember that a young child’s feet should touch the floor to prevent restlessness, so if the dining room chair is too tall, use a box or stool under their feet.

Toys and sports equipment can be kept under control by using storage chests, large plastic cubes, or shelving units with bins. Hall trees often come with a storage bench, and are a great solution for coats and boots and skates.

Save yourself a lot of trouble by painting children’s rooms rather than using wallpaper. Children quickly grow out of cute prints, and new paint is a simple solution for changing tastes.

Keep living room and family room furniture looking good by choosing fabrics with a high thread count and tight weave that clean easily and hold up to hard use. Flat weaves are better than textured fabrics for durability. The new microfibers are a good choice for surviving kids and pets, and nothing is easier than slipcovers that can be removed and washed. By the way, sectional sofas are very versatile, able to adapt to any room and comfortable for everyone in the family. Add a set of nesting tables that can be handily moved from room to room for games and projects.

Don’t trip over the stuff of family life. There’s a way to make everyone happy . . . especially Mom.

6 great questions that will help you find your focus

Copyright 2006 Cari Vollmer

Do you have a ton to do and have no idea where to start? Would you like to know with each step you take you’re heading in the right direction? Would you like to narrow your “to do” list down to a few key items and let go of the rest? Would you like to work smarter, not harder?

The questions below will help you do just that. Answering these questions will help you find your focus so you can do what you want to do and feel great about your life while you’re doing it.

1. What do I care about most? Or, where is my heart leading me?

Only when you allow yourself to do what you care about most will you begin feeling better about your life.

Asking this question will give your HEART a space to speak and be heard. When we get wrapped up in all the “stuff” we have to do we often overlook what our heart wants.

2. What do I really, really want to do? Or, ask yourself “is this what I really want?” If the answer is “no”, ask yourself why you're doing it and then find a way to stop doing it. So much life is wasted doing things we don’t want to do.

Doing what you really want is a process of identifying and letting go of the things that you don’t want and replacing them with things that you do want. Overtime you’ll rebalance your life to include MORE of what you want to do.

This question will give your DREAMS an opportunity to come to life. This one question could set your life on a new course.

3. How do I want to feel while I’m doing what I’m doing? If what you’re doing doesn’t give you pleasure while you’re doing it, you may be on the wrong track. Why? Because “doing” takes up much more time then the result. The result happens once. We reach each goal only once and then it’s over. The journey to our goals is what fills our life with experiences. If you’re not feeling good during the “doing” (aka – the journey) is it really worth it?

This question allows your SPIRIT to come alive – to be experienced. Give yourself permission to do things that feel good and you’ll live an inspired life.

4. What is the “for sake of what” behind what I’m doing? Another way to word this question would be, “In the big picture of my life what purpose does this action serve?” If the answer isn’t clear you may be letting life lead you.

This question helps you CONNECT THE DOTS and make better choices for your life. Basing your actions on a clear purpose puts you in the driver's seat which means you are LEADING your life instead of letting it lead you.

5. What am I going to do? Make a list of all the things you care about and all the things you really want to do and prioritize them with a “1-2-3” approach. Rank your list in order of importance.

Of course we make choices (decisions) about what we’re going to do all day long BUT how often do we make choices after asking questions 1-4? Answering the above questions FIRST will give you the opportunity to bring more of what you really want into your life.

This question requires a CHOICE be made. Now you’ve narrowed your focus!

6. How am I going to do it? After narrowing your focus create a mini action plan for each item. Write down the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen.

Tip: only focus on 1 or 2 things at a time (ex: over the period of 1 month). Don’t try to do everything at once. That will just lead to overwhelm. Give yourself a chance to worker smarter and you will get more done.

This question will inspire you to TAKE ACTION. Nothing happens without it. In order to create the life you want you have to give your dreams, heart and spirit a voice and space in your life. However, this alone won’t make things happen. You have to channel all these things into a clear course of action.

Instead of jumping into your “to do” list, take some time to reflect upon these questions. By doing so you’ll put yourself on a life and/or business path that reflects more of what you really want. Determine your FOCUS first and you'll live a fuller, richer life.

Spring cleaning - hard work but such a great pay off

Spring-cleaning: for some a chore for others a joy. I learned about this ritual at an early age. Now, the thought of spring-cleaning evokes precious memories.

When I was a young child, back in the land of four seasons and none of them rain (Manitoba), the cold inhibiting days of winter were ushered out with a yearly farm ritual: spring-cleaning. No corner of our home was left untouched by brooms, dusters, scrub brushes, rags and other cleaning weapons. Every inch of closet was emptied, inventories were taken, value was assessed, surfaces were washed and cleaned, and then those clothes that were still 'good' were organized in a useful and efficient way. Beds were moved, dressers emptied, ceilings dusted.

My memory of choice is the window cleaning. After windowpanes were removed for cleaning, the windowsill became a place of pure ecstasy! I can easily recall those moments: sitting on my perfect perch, watching the ice break up in the creek behind our home. Huge pieces floated by, cracking loudly, twisting, crunching, piling up in a chaotic proclamation of the new season's arrival. Fresh air was in abundance; pussy willows to the left, bird feeders with chirping chickadees to the right. It was heavenly!

It was that type of day where I learned that hard work pays off. At that early age, I felt the change of energy in my home and in myself after a day of thorough de-cluttering and cleaning. The house felt lighter, brighter, more cheerful. I felt like skipping.

The best part of de-cluttering and organizing for me today is hearing my clients describe similar feelings of lightness and freedom after a session together. Whether in their home or office, de-cluttering can be a cathartic passing of the old, the start a whole new season in life.

What are your plans this spring? Is a cluttered room or desk stopping you from enjoying your home or office the way you'd like to enjoy it? Have your dust bunnies proliferated beyond a reasonable limit? Do you find spring-cleaning to be a daunting task of Olympian magnitude? Has it never even occurred to you that a good spring-cleaning would be appropriate at the office?

Plan your next party like a pro

"You're invited…" are always welcome words to hear− whether it's to a barbeque, birthday party, cocktail party, graduation, housewarming, girls' night out or other special event. However, most people think planning a successful party takes a lot of time and effort. Not true, according to Evite, the leading social event - planning service on the Web.

"By following simple party - planning rules, you can plan a fabulous bash in very little time," said Jessica Landy Raymond, a planning expert for Evite. "Your guests will be so impressed, they'll think you hired a pro!"

Organization is essential for seamlessly planning a great social event. Evite has helped millions of hosts plan successful events and offers these tips to take the hassle out of party planning:

1. Choose an event theme-A good theme ensures that guests interact with one another. A great theme-such as a barbecue luau, beach party, '70s-inspired disco, masquerade ball or poker night - will make your party unforgettable.

2. Create an event checklist-Be sure everything gets done on time with a comprehensive to-do list that includes everything from determining an overall budget and selecting an event date to choosing the perfect venue and making a guest list. For tips and sample checklists, check out Evite's Party Checklist.

3. Bring the theme to life-Pull all the pieces of the party together neatly by selecting invitations, decorations, activities and music that complement your theme.

4. Plan the food and beverage menu-The event theme should inspire your menu and beverages. Make sure you have enough food and drink for your guests by consulting recipes and drink calculators during the planning process. For help, try Evite's Drink Calculator and Party Menus & Recipes

5. Relax and enjoy the event!-Remember, the number-one party-planning tip is to not stress about any little things that go wrong. Everyone is there for a good time, and the host should be, too!

Tapping into online party-planning resources is a simple and easy way to fulfill all your planning "to dos."

Staying organized organize your life for success

Organizing the content of your life based on your needs is a best practice for managing your time, resources and money and is an essential first step if you are to fully achieve your potential in life. The reasons for this are simple. An organized clear mind leads to clear and objective goals, which in turn leads to you being able to achieve what you set out to do.

A critical first step then in staying organized is to set up a system of resource planning and clerical needs that allows you to plan out your time effectively, and allocate where you are going to spend it. In short this means such steps as getting a day planner so that you can plan ahead. Getting appropriate stationary systems and office space in place, and also getting yourself a filing cabinet, or at the very least some kind of filing system!

It would certainly be true to say that staying organized then is not something that lots of people do naturally! At first it can even seem slightly stifling, especially if you are used to totally going with the flow of what each day brings. In truth this is ok. It IS good to be spontaneous on occasions, but in general it is vital to plan out what you need to do in a particular time frame, because otherwise it is all to easy to simply become distracted! (For help with Goal Setting you can visit http://www. goalsettingnews. com)

All of us know this to be true if we think about it from the viewpoint of our own lives. For example, when we surf the web we find ourselves flitting between sites, and before you know it a couple of hours have past! Now, don't get me wrong. That is one of the joys of the internet, and of life in General. But it is

nevertheless a time stealer that staying focused and staying organised could have helped to negate.

So then am I saying that Staying Organized should mean robbing you of the juice of life? Robbing you of the spontaneity? NO! No! NO! For me the exact opposite is true. Staying organized is about finishing the day's tasks and having crammed far more good stuff in! In short it is the exact opposite of a spoil sport! ;)

You should know your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to this area (clue... Staying organized means doing more of the things you like!) and communicate them to yourself regularly to analyze that your wants and needs are being met effectively. Then organize your time based on that feedback.

Keep with the program. Stay Organized, and Organize YOUR Life For Success!

Clear clutter for a cozy casa

Is your house so messy you can never find what you’re looking for? Are you often late for work because you can never find your car keys? These tips will help save time and keep you more organized.

Keep things in a place that makes sense. Drop your keys in a dish by the front door so you won’t waste time looking for them throughout the house. Put anything you need to take with you by the front door - outgoing mail, your briefcase or the library books that need to be returned. This will save you time in the morning because you won’t be running around trying to gather what you need for the day.

Straighten up as you go. Pick up the newspaper and put in the recycle bin instead of leaving it on the coffee table. Fill the dishwasher after every meal instead of once a day. Put your groceries away rather than leave them on the kitchen table. How can you possibly know what food you do or don’t have if last week’s haul is still in the bag? This makes the kitchen an appealing place to enjoy a meal instead of a constant reminder of chores that need to be done.

Finish one project before starting another. I have a friend who has started to update his bathroom, never finished the project and is now working on his kitchen. His house is constantly in a state of confusion and he never manages to get any project completed because it’s now so overwhelming.

Keep your bathroom tidy. Wipe up the sink and vanity top after you shave or wash your face and put your toiletries away. Doing these small things as you go keeps the bathroom looking cleaner in case unexpected guests stop by - you won’t have to be embarrassed if they ask to use the facilities.

Organize your closets. If your closet is filled to capacity, you can’t see what you have. Instead of squeezing everything into your closet, keep out of season clothes in the spare bedroom closet. Keep shoes in boxes or shoe racks. Donate any garments that no longer fit or if you haven’t worn them in the past season. Don’t hang onto things you can’t use anymore because there is someone out there who will be grateful to have it.

Keep your important documents and papers in a safe place. Birth certificates, passports, marriage license, divorce papers, the deed to your house and the title to your car should be filed in a fireproof lockbox. Better yet, they should be kept in a safe deposit box at a bank close to home so it’s convenient for you to retrieve them when needed. If you keep important financial information on your home computer, it’s a good idea to backup to a flash drive and keep this at the bank too. The cost of a safe deposit box is worth the peace of mind knowing you won’t have to replace these documents if they were ever lost in a disaster.

Taking small steps every day to keep organized will help keep your casa cozy and clutter-free.

You need your own reasons for organizing your home

First off, you need to know organizing your home is different for you than it is for someone else.

Some folks don't have a lot of clutter and junk but need to know how to maintain organization and have a place for their stuff.

On the other hand, some homeowners have piles upon piles...a big mess, and still think it's just a matter of needing storage.

When, in fact, storage is the last thing you need. The first step is getting rid of clutter, rather than adding more storage just to keep more stuff.

The thing is, once you start organizing your home, you'll see how great and real the benefits are:

-It's reducing stress by having order and discipline.

-It's having more space by keeping clutter out for good.

-It's simplifying the way you live at home by creating useful systems that work for you personally.

-It's a way of being on time, and not feeling the strain of running against the clock.

Quite simply, when you finally start to make the simple changes of organization, it all adds up to give you more room to breath so you can enjoy your family and friends more.

Being organized isn't a matter of being rich or poor, young or old. We were never taught organization in school and, in fact, were taught to multi-task and go in too many directions at once.

This was how they told us to live.

Personally, I have always gone against the grain and never worried about keeping things we don't need. My wife Megan and I make sure if something is not being put to use or it's out-of-date... it's getting sold or thrown out.

We also utilize smart, affordable storage to keep only useful items and starting teaching our kids the value of being organized at a very young age. It makes it easier on them and on us to stay disciplined about organization.

The funny thing is I don't think I was raised to be organized. Nobody knew much about "organization" back then, although I was always a little "neat" as a kid.

But somewhere along the way I figured out it made the most sense. I like to be on time and being organized makes that possible. I don't like wasting time looking for things, like tools or ingredients for cooking or paperwork or bills.

Being organized makes it all a lot easier.

It's not going to make you ri*ch, but it will certainly save you money by avoiding duplicate purchases and late bills.

It's not going to make you any younger, but it will certainly give you more time to do things you might think you don't have time to do.

Being organized isn't going to give you a bigger house, but it will clear clutter and open up some space so you'll feel like you have a bigger house because there will be less congestion and "stuff" all over the place.

There may seem like there is a lot to getting organized and over the next few days I'm going to share with you even more tips and tricks to getting and staying organized.

Three myths of home organization

There's a little misinformation about home organization and getting organized I need to clear up.

These are the myths of home organization...

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Myth #1: You have to be born organized to live organized, right?

Wrong! Some people mistakenly believe if you don't have organization in your blood, it's going to be nearly impossible to make the changes to how you live and enjoy the simplicity of being

organized.

For instance, my wife Megan definitely does not have organization in her blood. But she is a completely different person today than she was the day we got married. She's come over to my side and has proven to herself that being organized beats the heck out of living

with the nasty side-effects of clutter.

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Myth #2: You have to spend a lot of money to have the right kind of storage.

That's definitely not the case.

First off, there are so many discount stores fighting for your business some of the latest organizing systems are being practically given away and certainly will get the job done.

Secondly, storage doesn't have to be fancy. In fact I use more items from discount craft stores and yard sales for storage than I do from the big name stores.

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Myth #3: It takes a lot of energy and motivation to get your home organized.

This is absolutely false.

It's really only a matter of changing the way you do things and thinking differently about the excess of material things people today own.

And you certainly don't have to take it all on at once. There are some simple rules you can start to live by that will make disorganization a thing of the past.

Even if you are not the cause of the clutter and it's a spouse or kids living with you, you can all learn what it takes and just make a few simple changes to live a better life...being organized.

I am a habit

H-A-B-I-T...When 95% of people hear this word, a negative thought pops up

in their minds. Typically, most people think of a habit being negative.

The secret to your future lies in your daily habits so ask yourself

right now, "Are my habits today going to help me achieve my WHY in life?" This is a life-empowering question if you truly ask it and listen for the answer.

I received the following excerpt from a very dear friend of mine and

felt that it is definitely the best explanation of a habit that I have

ever heard:

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,

and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few

lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great men.

And, alas, of all failures as well.

Those who are great, I have made great.

Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.

Plus, the intelligence of a man.

You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.

Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am a HABIT!

One of my daily habits that is the foundation of my life is

spending 45-60 minutes each and every morning feeding my body physically

by exercising and feeding my mental spirit by reading or listening to a motivational message. This habit warms me up for the day ahead.

Everyone washes their physical body and feeds their body every morning,

but 95% of people will find an excuse about why they can not find the "TIME"

to invest in a habit of feeding their MINDS! This parallels the statistic that 95% of people are dead or dead broke by the age 65. I consider this particular

daily habit of mine to be the driving force behind my ability to consistently maintain my intense focus on the journey of success and living a dream life.

Is it easy all the time? Of course not, but when it becomes a habit –

you will do it! If you commit today to begin each morning warming

yourself up for the day ahead by feeding your mental spirit, your entire

life will change in a positive fashion very quickly. It is like

driving a race car with the emergency brake on and you try to go ahead,

but you can’t move. You stay in the same location with your wheels spinning,

burning up, making a lot of noise, but not going anywhere! All it takes is

to release the brake and you will fly towards toward your WHY in life!!

You need to review what your habits are and ask yourself…“Would I recommend

MY habits to someone I truly love and care about?” Your entire future lies

in your daily habits—positive or negative. You have the most powerful force

right now in your hands, the ability to decide what your habits will begin to be.

Find Your WHY & FLY!!

John Di Lemme

http://www. FindYourWhy. com

So you have problems

We are all faced with problems throughout our lives, some are small, others huge. Depending on how we deal with them, they can be overwhelming and devastate our lives, or they can quickly fade into the past.

Attitude plays a big role. With a difficult personal or work undertaking, consider all viewpoints, even those you think you don't like. It just might provide relief from your fearful analysis of the situation. Don't oversize the problem which is often a panic reaction. Discuss the actions that you could take with a friend or co-worker which can sometimes provide a good suggestion and some instant stress relief.

Lay out a procedure and slowly complete the first task. The next steps should be easier. Often we will keep on worrying after the decisions are made, which of course is of no help at all. If everything that can be done has been done then it's time to follow through.

"Our plans miscarry if they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind." Lucius Seneca (3-65)

Rejection can be an unpleasant experience, but it just lets us know that we aren't perfect. Who is? Consider it a lesson learned, then forget it and move on with your life in a positive constructive manner.

To help solve a difficult problem or to cut down on worrying about making a decision, analyze the situation, determine what must be done and carry it out. In writing or on your PC:

Get all the facts.

Describe the problem in detail.

List all the possible solutions.

List the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Detail what you will do.

Follow through.

You have detailed the planning and know that you will proceed in a certain way, but will review it as required. Later. Now it's time to think other thoughts.

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (BC)

The clutter queen

: If you are looking to attract positive change and seriously move stale energy out, start with your neglected clutter. Getting rid of all the things you are not using will create space for new energy and movement. I’m a firm believer that * if it doesn’t work… * if you can’t remember when you last used it....or… * if it doesn’t make you feel good …then… MOVE IT OUT! Now, I know… sounds easy doesn’t it? Then why do we all have so much clutter? Here are some tips and techniques that have worked for me to move unused items from my life. You see I’ve tested them on my own personal clutter and I know they work. First you will need some bankers boxes (you can get these anywhere you purchase office supplies). Bankers boxes work the best because they have lids and are stackable. And a hand-held recorder (you can get one cheaply at any electronics department). Here’s what you do to quickly eliminate your clutter: (1) Label the boxes anyway you like …maybe with a letter (A, B, C etc) or with a color, green, red, orange…… (2) Go around and start putting your dear clutter in the boxes while recording the contents with your recorder. (You can do this little by little whenever you have a spare few minutes). (3) When the boxes are full, stack them neatly in a closet, garage, attic, etc….anywhere where they are out of sight. (4) When you have a little time, sit down, play back the recorder and transfer the information to a spreadsheet, word document, index cards or whatever system works best for you. (By indexing you can easily find and retrieve anything you might have mistakenly filed away). Simply look the object up in the index to find the appropriate box and go get it! It’s that easy! (5) After a time, if you find you really don’t need all the things you have stored, You can donate usable items to your favorite charitable organization. You can have a garage sale and make some cash, or You can make money by starting your own on-line store on eBay And... You can have fun by giving your clutter a second life! A good rule of thumb is “If you have not used it or thought about it in a year then you probably don’t need it and you can let it go” The great thing about this process is that it overcomes the two main obstacles to clearing clutter. First, you may have thrown something away only to realize later that you really needed it. So now you are reluctant to throw anything away. Secondly, you believe that it can take quite a chunk of time to do a really good job of sorting and eliminating your unwanted stuff. In the past, you may have started to get organized only to abandon the effort for want of time and organization and ended up with a bigger mess on your hands. The Clutter Queen's five step process eliminates these obstacles because the sorting can be done extremely quickly without the possibility of discarding valuables. Doing these small things is your first step in creating space for new, exciting ideas and energy. Get ready for an abundance of fresh ideas and energy to enhance your living! Shirley Anderson
Minna Street Creations

Getting your home organized are you putting the cart before the horse

Some people have so much clutter and so much stuff all over the place, they think all it's going to take is some fancy storage system they have in the home improvement store and everything will be fine.

A few shelves here and a few more drawers there... and presto!

Everything is organized.

But it's usually not the case.

I used to have clients call me up because all they wanted was a "system" for their closet or garage.

But when I get to their home, I realize the problem is much deeper and extremely common.

TO MUCH STUFF!

And usually, adding storage only masks a bigger problem.

See, some people think just by putting in storage they can keep more stuff, when in fact all that's happening is you're moving things around, making you think you are more organized, but in reality you still have the same amount of clutter ... it's just a little neater.

Which brings me to the point of "putting the cart before the horse."

Before you even think about storage, you have to do a real, honest assessment of the things you own.

I can almost guarantee you can get rid of some things.

Clothes, books, tools, boxes of who-knows-what, spare parts, junk...junk...junk.

So before you even think about spending money on storage systems - whether it's cheap metal shelving or high-end fancy shelving units, start with the horse.

The clutter.

Get rid of things you don't need. Clear off the counters. Empty the drawers.

Have a yard sale and clear some space.

Then, you can work on the cart.

Organizing for the holidays

Take some of the stress out of the holidays by getting organized now. The key to holiday organizing is to start early, take baby steps, and make lists (i. e. gifts, budget, meals, cards, etc.). Now is also the time to go through clothes, toys, and other household items to make room for the presents soon to come.

Greeting cards can almost cause as much stress as shopping. Plan to complete your cards over a week or two. Gather all your letter-writing materials before you start, and keep them in one place until you finish. If you like to send a general update along with a personalized note, write that first. Then add a personal touch to a couple cards a day, and you will be finished in no time.

Before you ever step foot in a store, have everyone make gift lists (including stores). This way you can give to others what they want instead of something that will become clutter to them. Plus, you have one less decision to make. Make shopping easier by setting a deadline so you can enjoy the holiday season. The earlier you start and finish your shopping, the shorter the lines and better the selection. When you can, shop odd hours for a less hectic experience; avoid malls and post offices on the weekends if possible. Shop online when applicable. If you do not know what to get someone for a holiday present, think consumable; a consumable gift will probably not go to waste or add to the clutter. You can even have everyone contribute to a group meal or activity, or you can set up a Secret Santa exchange. When it comes time for wrapping, create a separate space with all necessary supplies so you can wrap easily and quickly, if necessary. For extra-large gifts, use a paper, holiday tablecloth for wrapping paper.

Do not overwhelm yourself by cleaning the house from top to bottom; concentrate on the public areas. Guests will appreciate your hard work and still be able to enjoy your company. If you tend to decorate similarly from year to year, take a picture of your decorations to speed the process next year. Prepare for unexpected guests; keep an inventory of quick food items such as cheese and crackers, tea and coffee, frozen cookies, etc. For your planned gatherings, allow enough time for cleaning, cooking, and decorating by counting back from the time of your party. Keep meals simple or ask guests to bring a dish to reduce your preparation time and stress. Delegate or ask for help with some of these activities; it will take a little of the stress off you and may even turn several of the chores in to fun.

Once all the festivities have passed, the idea of cleaning up and taking down the decorations may invite some of that stress back into your life. Stop it in its tracks – have an informal “undecorating” party. Most chores take less time and are more fun when you have friendly company and a couple extra hands. When it comes to Christmas decorations and supplies, use appropriately sized storage containers that are sturdy and label, label, label! A couple extra minutes at the end of this season could save hours when it is time to decorate next year. This is also a good time to update your card list while everything is fresh in your memory. If it turns out you forgot someone this year, you can always send a New Year’s card.

Just remember, the holidays are about friends, family, and fun. Take the stress out of holiday preparations and enjoy the good times by preparing early, asking for help, and keeping it simple.

Who has time to get organized

High gas prices, wedding presents, graduation parties, July 4th picnics, activities, vacations. Who has the time or money to organize? YOU DO! Organizing does not have to take forever or cost money. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

How much time do you have to organize? A half a day or whole day or a week would be great, but most of us are not that lucky. If you want to get organized as quickly as possible, it is worth setting aside a large chunk of time to achieve that stress relief. To get twice as much done in the same amount of time, enlist a friend, family member, or professional organizer (bonus: experience, ideas, answers). If that much time is not a possibility (at least at the moment), then utilize pockets of time. Do you watch TV, watch commercials, ride the bus, wait at the doctor’s office, take car trips, wash the laundry, arrive early for meetings, lie awake at night, etc.? If so, take a reading file with you, sort a drawer, go through your magazines and catalogs, clean out the refrigerator, go through your CDs or videos, sift through your closet, clean off a shelf, go through a pile, empty a box, go through your shoes or purses, sort your computer or email files, pick out your favorite recipes in a cookbook, sort some of your pictures or compile one album, go through a file, or find something else small to organize that is quick and will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Not enough money for a custom closet system, garage system, pantry, etc.? Go shopping, in your house. Do you have wood scraps from previous projects? Use three pieces to create a free-standing shelf to better utilize wasted shelf space. Are your hair accessories a jumble? Use a ribbon, old belt, or something similar that hangs to clip your barrettes and keep them separated. You can even use an extra hanger to separate ribbons. Do you have random screw and nails? They make great hooks for light weight items. Are there empty baskets, containers, or shoe boxes? These can function as low-cost pull-out drawers. Would you like to find something in the junk drawer? Create drawer dividers with card board, wood, empty plastic containers, checkboxes, etc. .

If I missed the area that is frustrating you the most, email or call for some creative ideas. If you would like quick, easy organizing solutions, let us help you. Consultations are always free. If you want your organizing finished yesterday, contact us for an extra set of hands, focus, and a wealth of ideas and solutions. For your free consultation, questions, comments, speaking and training needs, tips, or gift certificates please contact Jessica at [email protected] com or 319-504-6689. Let me help you make every day like “a day at the beach”.

Reduce stress with spring cleaning and organizing

How many years have you started spring cleaning only to be discouraged by the sheer amount of stuff or distracted by the beautiful weather? Would you like to complete spring cleaning this year, before summer? Then it is time to tackle those big, deep organizing projects such as the basement, garage, and maybe some closets, drawers, or cabinets. Whether you start with the basement or garage, begin in one corner and work your way around the room. Let go of the items you honestly will never use again by asking yourself those tough questions: when did I last use this? when do I think I will use it again? do I like this? If you catch yourself answering maybe to most of these questions, you might want to organize with a friend, family member, or professional organizer who will keep you focused and help you decide “yes” or “no”. Once your remove everything that does not belong (donate, trash, goes elsewhere), you may have all the storage space you need. If not, take measurements of your space and the items you want to store, and go shopping (maybe even in other rooms of your house). If it is difficult to figure out which organizing product works best in your situation, ask the person at the store, do some research on the web, consult a professional organizer, or use another knowledgeable resource. Now, what about those closets, drawers, and cabinets? Once you sort and purge what does not belong, you will probably be amazed at how much space you have. If you need some tips on how to best organize what remains, flip through a magazine, sketch a diagram of the space, enlist a professional organizer, etc. . No matter what you decide to organize, ask for help, make it fun, reward yourself, and maintain the organization. If you do not know where to start, do yourself a favor and schedule a free consultation. In the long run you will save time and money and be more relaxed. Sometimes you need another perspective, someone to keep you focused, or a little bit of expertise.

The best times to sift through your stuff

What are the best times in your life when it’s sensible to clean house and get rid of stuff you don’t use? Take advantage of these opportunities to clean out your home and downsize your belongings.

When you move from one house to another is the best time to get rid of things you no longer need. Why move stuff you haven’t used from one place to another where you won’t use it either? Think kitchen gadgets and closets as your best place to start.

Do you have a wok but can’t remember the last time you cooked anything stir-fried? If you rarely entertain, do you really need all those wine glasses and extra sets of dishes? How many plastic containers are in the cupboard and how many do you really use on a weekly basis? Get rid of the sizes you never use. Spend a little time to consider how much of your stuff you really use and make up your mind to let go of what is just taking up space.

Of course, when I say here to get rid of something, I mean donate it - don’t throw it away unless it doesn’t work or it’s broken. There are plenty of charitable organizations happy to have your stuff as long as it’s usable.

Look at your linen closet - how many of those sets of sheets to you really use? If you have towels that have lost their fluff, out they go. Old makeup and medical supplies should be tossed, especially if it’s now past the expiration date.

If there is stuff in the basement or garage still in boxes from the last move, it’s safe to say you won’t use it again. Test your courage by just tossing the boxes without even looking in them. If you can’t manage this without your palms starting to sweat, then check to make sure there wasn’t a hidden treasure in one of them.

When your kids grow up and move out, it’s time to clean out the stuff they didn’t take with them. Don’t feel you should keep your kids’ room as a shrine to them. While I understand you want to keep your memories, you don’t need to keep sports equipment from high school or every trophy they ever won. If it’s not important enough for your kids to take with them to their new place, you shouldn’t hold onto it either. Offer them the chance to keep what they want, but set a deadline for them to move out their things.

If you’ve always wanted a reading room or a place to work on your crafts, now you’ll have it. Or, make this into the fancy room your guests will be thrilled to spend the night in. Redecorate, renovate and make that room your own!

At some point as you get older, you may decide your house is too much to keep up and you’ll move to a smaller place such as a condo. Now you will absolutely need to decide what to get rid of since storage space will be limited. Once again, your kitchen and closets are the best areas that can be downsized. At this point, your lifestyle may also change - you may dine out more often than at home, causing you to need less kitchen gizmos. Consider your new routine and decide what you will no longer need.

Take advantage of these major life events to sift through your stuff, get rid of what you will no longer need in your new life, and donate it to someone else who could use it to start their new life.

How to end clutter and make home organization easier

I've spoken to quite a few people over the years who say they have very nice clothes they love but the don't wear them anymore.

But my question is this: If you value something so much...then don't you think you should be wearing it?

The reality is we are a society who likes to accumulate and, dating back to the Great Depression, we tend to keep everything we believe has monetary value when, in reality, it really doesn't.

For example, a pretty dress or a nice suit you bought ten years ago went for what can be considered a lot of money.

And the problem is you haven't touched it in nine years because, as most clothes do, it went out of style.

Could it come back in style someday? Maybe. Styles do often return.

But this is not a reason to hold onto things you don't use..."just in case."

You feel like, because you spent "good" money on it, you are throwing money away. But ask yourself this... is it putting money in your pocket sitting there in the back of your closet with dust on the shoulders?

Is it giving you anything? Do you benefit at all from keeping outdated outfits?

Now ask yourself one more question... will you gain anything by getting rid of it and donating it to charity?

Of course you will!

The benefits?

More space to be able to keep the clothes you are going to wear (we only wear 50% of the clothes we own, by the way.)

I might even suggest buying a new outfit for every three to five you get rid of.

The purpose?

Because new clothes make people feel good. I don't recommend buying new clothes for the sake of buying new clothes and throwing away your money. But you've got to admit putting on a new pair of pants that make us look better is a nice, uplifting feeling.

The thing is the items taking up space, yes, you paid for them.

But by keeping something you no longer wear or use you are not getting anything in return but more clutter and a lack of storage space you could be using for something else.

Here is something you should do right now with items (they don't have to be clothes) you are holding onto because you paid good money for them.

1. Go find ten items you own for one reason and one reason only... because you paid for it.

2. Grab a piece of paper and make three columns.

3. Write the items you are having trouble getting rid of in the left column. In the middle column, write "why I am keeping this item" and in the third column write "what will I gain by getting rid of this item."

My guess is you will have a lot more in the right column than you will in the middle.

Be specific with both.

If you can honestly fill up the middle column with more reasons of why you should keep it, and they are good, legitimate reasons, then maybe you shouldn't get rid of it.

But I'm willing to bet that won't be the case.

Simple rules of home organization

Let's be honest.

Nobody likes rules.

But the thing is, if you're serious about home organization, then there are some specific rules you'll want to follow.

You'll see how much easier organization will be by taking the following simple steps...

Home Organizing Rule #1:

"Touch it Once!"

This is a form of procrastination and it causes piles because something is being put off until later. It could be a little laziness, but more often it's due to lack of time.

The thing is, this rule will save you time.

For everything you put off until later, you're touching it twice when it should be just once. You (or someone you live with) is procrastinating and putting things off until later.

Why?

To save a couple of seconds today, you're wasting five minutes tomorrow.

For example...

You come home, throw the shirt on the bed because you're going to hang it up or throw it in the laundry basket later.

Or you shove it on a shelf in the closet and will hang it later.

No good.

This is two steps when it should be one. Common sense? Of course.

But few practice this simple rule of home organizing.

Touch it once. The coffee cup goes in the dishwasher, not on the counter and into the dishwasher later.

The mail coming in the house should be dealt with immediately...not added to a pile where you touch it more than once for no reason at all other than procrastination.

Home Organizing Rule #2:

Keep things together that belong together.

Sweaters with sweaters. Shirts with shirts. One shelf for snacks and a shelf for cans.

Take a look around a fancy clothing store.

They're designed to help you (the customer) find exactly what you need.

Wouldn't it be nice to find whatever it is you're looking for in a matter of seconds?

Same goes for a grocery store. If these shelves weren't organized, these stores would go broke because nobody would be able to find a thing.

Home Organizing Rule #3 - Organize ONLY one space at a time.

Work on one small space at a time in set increments and try and do it every single day. It might only be for fifteen or twenty minutes, but the key is to get something organized everyday and make it consistent.

If you try and tackle too much at once, you won't get done because of an already hectic schedule. Incomplete tasks are discouraging and you might just give up.

The smaller the task, the easier to complete

And the better you'll feel.

Often organizing something as small as a junk drawer or even your wallet can give you the boost in motivation to "step it up" into a bigger project.

If you have to do the junk drawer over a two day period, big deal?

Take two days to do it.

Getting it done is the key.

One small step at a time.

The organized tool box

Are you always digging around for the right tool? Hammers abound, but why are the flat-edge screwdrivers always missing? Wouldn’t it be great to have everything in an easy-to-find space? Here are some steps and tips to get you on your way.

Step 1: Inventory.

First, start by gathering all your tools. Make a list of the locations where you found your tools. Garage, kitchen, basement, car, truck? Lay them all out on a bedsheet or blanket. Sort them by type to get an idea of how many different kinds of tools you have.

Next, examine each tool and decide what to keep.

• Is it a duplicate? If so, how many of this tool do I need?

• Have I ever used it? Some tools passed down thru the family should be kept for sentimental reasons, but others that you’ve never used can surely go.

• Is it broken? If it isn’t usable and can’t be repaired then discard it.

• Have I replaced it with a multi-purpose tool that does the job more efficiently?

• Does a neighbor have a better version that I usually borrow?

Toss out the broken tools, sell the good ones on eBay, get a tax break by donating to a local charitable organization, have a “yard sale for men” or help a favorite college grad begin their first tool box. Only keep the tools you are sure to use in the future.

Step 2: Make a Plan.

Using your list of locations from step 1, think about how and where you use your tools. You may decide to centralize your tools in the garage or basement. Begin sorting your tool collection into groups according to their desired location. This will help you to determine the storage space requirements for each area.

Step 3: Choose your Tool Storage System.

The internet is a great tool for finding the latest tool storage solutions. Portable tool boxes are great for on-the-go types to keep in their car or truck. Behind-the-wheel tool boxes for pickup trucks are a great way to take advantage of unused truck bed space. If you have a ton of small parts, you may consider some plastic storage cabinets with sliding drawers. Pegboards work nicely in the garage or basement workspace to keep tools handy and off the countertops. Maybe you need some new shelving to store larger-sized tools.

Step 4: Implement your new Tool Storage System.

If you’ve ordered a new tool box or some other item, then when it arrives begin to place your tools in order. Once you’ve got everything in its place, remember to always take the extra time to put items away when they are done being used. If you’ve added a pegboard, consider drawing an outline around each tool as it hangs on the pegboard to make it easier to know where to return the tool.

Get motivated—you’ll be glad you did. Once you’re organized, maybe you’ll even have space to buy some new tools!

Making life easier with nlp chunking

You know, in psychology there is a rule, especially within the NLP circles that I work in and the literature that I read, it is quite a famous rule; 7 plus or minus 2 – this is the notion that the conscious mind can only keep track of between 5 and 9 discrete pieces of information at one time. Your unconscious can literally keep track of billions and billions of things at the same time aparently (clever thing that it is!), while your conscious mind is more one step at a time and it has a fairly narrow focus. WHatever the truth of this, it is a useful way to expereince your own thinking.

Here are a couple of things that you can do to test the extent of your conscious mind: Without writing them down, blurt out now, straight away without thought;

- As many brands of cars as you can.

- As many film titles as you can.

- As many pop groups as you can.

Many people run out of steam when they get to ten, usuallly because of the 7+-2 rule. The bottom line is, when the conscious mind is presented with more than 9 pieces of information, it gets overloaded. So before you send me a very clever email telling me off for pointing out the limits of the conscious mind, would you like to know how you can use this to your advantage? Of course you would.

When you bear the 7+-2 rule in mind, you can start to organise things so that you work with your conscious mind, playing to its strengths. For instance, if you have a to-do list.

Many people that I have encountered have a daily to-do list with 20 or more items on it. This is a recipe for total overwhelm (at which point they often resort to looking for the easiest or funnest thing on the list to do.) The following ideas can help you get a handle on your to-do list really fast, especially if that list has things that are important for your goals and achievements and sense of well-being.

Firstly, scan through the list, looking for items that can be grouped together into categories.

For example, here is a load of the stuff on my list for this week:

Write Adam Up.

Bank cheques.

Finish writing chapter for new book

Prepare for client therapy sessions.

Finish project on public speaking.

Finish marketing material for new courses.

FInish listening to current educational Audio set.

Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.

Write up script for new audio title.

Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients.

Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio.

Write up blurb for my new Audio release.

Write new web-page copy.

Review new CD covers

Meet PR people

Do proposal for new book for Publishers.

Read e-book

New course blurb

Meet with prospective business artner for new project.

Clear inbox.

Have a life. Have fun......

The first thing on the list is ‘Write Adam Up’ – for me, "Adam Up" is one of my products, so I write ‘Product’ beside it. Next is ‘Bank Cheques’ – that’s part of our cashflow system, so I write ‘Systems’ beside it. Pretty soon, every item on my list is in a category:

Write Adam Up.

Bank cheques.

Finish writing chapter for new book

Prepare for client therapy sessions.

Finish project on public speaking.

Finish marketing material for new courses.

Finish listening to current educational Audio set.

Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.

Write up script for new audio title: Products.

Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients: Systems.

Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio: Marketing.

Write up blurb for my new Audio release: Marketing.

Write new web-page copy: Marketing.

Review new CD covers: Systems

Meet PR people: People.

Do proposal for new book for Publishers: People.

Read e-book: Personal.

New course blurb: Marketing.

Meet with prospective business artner for new project: People.

Clear inbox: Personal.

Have a life. Have fun: Personal.

This is better! I have now gone from a list of 20 or so items (instant overwhelm) to a list of 6 categories which is well within even my 7+-2 limit.

- Products

- Systems

- Training

- Marketing

- People

- Personal

This is what we refer to as chunking in my professional field, and is one of the most effective ways of dealing with any large or complex set of tasks (or set of anything else). You may say “Great, but I’ve got 200 things on my to-do list”. It doesn’t matter – the same principles apply. If you go through your to-do list or your goals lists; just get it whittled down from 200 items to 20 categories, that is better, it is getting it more manageable – go through the 20 categories and see where they group together. Group together goals for your own development; being a non-smoker, growing in confidence, creating wealth, reducing weight etc. The key is to have no more than 9 categories at each level – this way your conscious mind can keep track of it.

Secondly, start to manage your to-do list by the high-level categories: You can use this in all sorts of areas to make things more manageable, for example:

- To-do lists.

- Goals you are working toward.

- The filing system on your computer.

- Your filing cabinet.

- Any project you’re doing.

One of the things this allows you to do is notice very quickly if there’s a specific area where you have not been taking much action lately – very useful for helping focus on what needs attention.

Organize files - both paper and computer

Tips to organize files in real-space

If you have a system that isn't working, it's probably because it is not the system outlined below. Simplicity of effectiveness is vital for a real-space filing system.

To organize files in real-space it should take no more than 1 minute to add so me thing new to your system and no more than 30 seconds to retrieve something.

Organize Files - Preparation:

Get a large sturdy metal filing cabinet.

Get box files and card files.

Get an electric label maker.

Chuck out hanging file guides.

Organize Files - Implementation:

1. Grab a card file as soon as you have paper work that you want to reference for later use.

2. Create a label with the electric label maker with a word/phrase that very obviously identifies what the

papers are about.

3. Put the labeled file in your filing cabinet in A to Z order.

Maintenance of Organized Files:

On computer start a file listing everything that's in your real-space filing cabinet from A to Z.

Keep your computer file updated by occasionally flicking through your filing cabinet (it will take less than 10

minutes) to check for items that are not on your computer file and adding anything new.

Consider that if you currently have trouble keeping on top of the way you organize files it's probably because the way you have been doing until now is not this simple strategy. The approach outlined above is purposely extremely simple. It really works to do it like this.

With that technique for how to organize files in real-space dealt with, we can now think about your way to organize files on your computer.

Tips to organize files on computer

Experience with clients has taught me that often someone has more clutter on computer than in their home or office.

The computer can be a source of great enjoyment and productivity if you organize files on it well. I realize that it doesn't take up any real space in your

home or office, which is probably why people let it get so bad, but I found that it effects my clients satisfaction and productivity immensely.

Sure there are plenty of manuals on using the computer but I discovered that there was no simple, straightforward explanation of keeping on top of where everything on computer is. So I created an approach that I show my clients and here is the basics of it.

Is it frustrating or even somewhat anxiety provoking sometimes to approach the computer? Such feelings are caused by thinking of the amount of time it will take to find what you want whilst half-thinking that it really shouldn't be so out of hand.

Well we're about to turn things around. Get into the habit of creating folders on your computer for various topics. Put everything relevant to each topic into the appropriate folder.

Create more folders within existing topic folders for sub-topics. E. g. You might create a folder called Health. In that you might have folders for Diet,

Exercise, Sleep.

Spend time on that process and you will finally feel that you can organize files on your computer very very well indeed.

Have a garage sale for charity

It’s that time of year again—Garage Sale Season! If you have started your spring cleaning and decided it is time to get rid of your excess stuff, having a garage sale is a great way to accomplish that. You can take it a step further and become part of the new grass roots movement taking off across the country, to raise funds for charity. It is called Garage Sales for Charity. org.

A very simple effortless way for millions of individuals who have a garage sale to raise funds for their favorite charity. If you plan on having a garage sale you don't need to do anything special or different, all you need to do is commit to donating a minimum of $50 or 10% or your sales to your favorite charity. Any charity--your local food shelf, church program, local shelter, national charity, wherever you feel it will do the most good. It is entirely up to you.

Garage Sales for Charity. org does not handle any of the funds donated. They simply act as a central resource for ideas and promotion. The simplicity of this plan is what makes it so appealing. Effortless fund raising for charities during the slow summer months when donations are down. There are no ulterior motives or agendas to promote. There are no million-dollar budgets behind this, no expensive TV commercials, and no celebrity endorsements. They are not affiliated with any organization, charity or political group.

One person, one garage sale can make a difference. This is grass roots at its best. The potential over the next several months is huge! A mere 100 people participating every week in every state would raise $1,000,000 a month for charities across the country. This is money local charities would have otherwise never seen, during the months they may need it the most. Charities can hop on board by including garagesalesforcharity. org web address in all their fund raising materials, giving the people who they count on the most, one more way to raise funds. Sell, donate, feel good! Saving the world one garage sale at a time.

Why should i organize

Do you walk in the house after a long day at work and just sigh at your cluttered house? Have you planned to organize one morning but do not know where to start or are just not in the mood? Are you caught in a vicious cycle: as soon as you organize one room another one has turned to chaos? Maybe you just need to prioritize, find motivation, and ask for help. Easier said than done J?

Prioritize As with most goals in life, you want to strive for progress and improvement, not perfection. Most of us do not have time to achieve perfection in everything we do and still live a happy, fulfilling life. When you set goals, make them achievable, attainable. When you make that progress, create a visual way to track it or remind yourself of all you have accomplished (i. e. stickers on a chart, a check list, a flower/penny/or other item to represent each task you have completed). Since we will never have more than 24 hours in a day, we may have to say “no” to some activities and tasks. As you list each goal, task, or activity, ask yourself if it is necessary, if it supports my ultimate goals, or if any other activity or person will be negatively affected if it does not happen. You may see your list shrink before your very eyes J. If you are not sure how to narrow your list, search the internet, ask a friend, or consult a professional organizer (we help with both the tangible and intangible).

Motivate Do you start the day with the best of intentions to declutter the “bathroom” only to loose your drive because it is “just not worth it”? What is worth it to you? What do you value? Why? These questions may not seem to have much to do with organizing, but they can be the key to your motivation. How much time do you spend on activities that relate to your values (i. e. spending time with family, exercising, eating healthy, etc.)? Most of us would probably answer “not enough”. Then why would you ever spend time on an activity not related to you values, such as organizing? The answer: organizing allows you to focus more on your values. Organizing means less time searching for the other shoe, fewer arguments over who last used the scissors and did not put them back, less time cleaning around the clutter . . . With less time wasted, you have more time to be with family, exercise, eat healthy, and pursue those life goals that really matter. The next time you wonder why you would ever make time to organize, remember that organizing can be a means to an end. If you find a task that seems pointless, ask yourself how that task can bring you closer to what means to the most to you. It is amazing how a change in attitude and knowing what is “in it for me” can motivate.

Ask For Help Even if most of your chores and daily tasks are “value added”, they are not always fun and often too much for one person. Solution: spread the responsibility among the whole household. What is boring to one person may be fun for another. One person’s weak spot may be another person’s strength. Some people have time in the morning to help everyone get ready for the day, and others have more time at night to help everyone get ready for bed. When you do ask for help, just remember to be specific or be prepared for “not exactly what you expected”. Letting others pick what they want and find their own way, within reason, may even make them more willing and productive.

If you are not sure how to prioritize, want some ideas to motivate, or are ready to ask for help, contact Organized For You! For your free consultation, questions, comments, speaking and training needs, tips, or gift certificates please contact Jessica at [email protected] com or 319-504-6689. Let me help you make every day like “a day at the beach”.

Clutter quickly grows with procrastination...and even kills

The most common problem most people have with getting rid of clutter and getting organized is not knowing how to begin or where to get started.

So it gets put off until...later.

Of course, the reasons are usually decent.

For one, there's a lot going on in our lives. We go in so many directions and there never seems to be enough time to get anything done.

And it's easier to put organizing off because you think it'll take up too much time right now.

The other priorities -- like eating and sleeping (minor things, right?) of course take first on the list.

But getting organized doesn't have to take a lot of time every single day.

And if you don't start getting organized, even just a little bit at a time, there are some very real negative affects that, well, could kill you.

A little drastic... I know.

But the affect clutter and disorganization has on your health is very, very real.

It adds stress to your already busy life.

It sucks away your energy and makes you tired.

In many people, it increases the symptoms of depression.

But enough of the negative stuff!

Here's how we can benefit from being organized and getting rid of clutter...

- More sleep.

- A better mood every day.

- Better relationships.

- Easier house management.

- Your bills get paid on time.

- More space.

- More time to do things you actually enjoy!

This is all very real stuff and getting organized should not be put on the back burner any longer.

But I know...it's still too easy to put it off for "later."

I will admit, the here and now makes it easier to pile things on the counter, on chairs and tables or toss things in closets and drawers.

It's too easy to put things down and ignore my simple and important rule of "touch it once."

Though, like I said earlier...clutter can be deadly.

No joke.

Back in January of this year a 62 year old woman from Washington was found dead under nearly six feet of dishes, boxes and "clutter" that apparantly collapsed on her.

A very sad, and very drastic story.

Take this poor woman's life back about thirty years. How many days went by when she procrastinated and said she would "get to it tomorrow."

Now I hope your situation is not as drastic but reality is reality. And unless you get things under control right away, you just don't know what a disorganized house can lead to.

At the very least I bet you're feeling stressed and a little frustrated with a real desire to simplify your life at home.

It's not a lot to ask, is it?

And we all know stress is not good.

But maybe your situation isn't so out-of-control, and you just want to get rid of clutter and get your things in order.

Or you need to manage papers better because once in a while you forget to pay a bill that was sitting somewhere in a pile (because you don't have a real system for your bills -- which you need.)

No big deal, right?

After all, what's a $5 payment here or a $35 late fee there?

It adds up.

So how 'bout you take a step towards ending clutter in your home and getting organized...before it kills you?

Choosing a professional organizer

Professional Organizer's are becoming increasingly popular, for a very good reason.

The past decade has seen life become increasingly sophisticated yet far less labor intensive for most of us. If you want to get and stay ahead, make use of professional organizer services, or what I call 'efficiency services'.

We outsource more and more tasks in our home to other companies just as if our home life was a business. A few of the efficiency services that you probably use include: Delivery services, car wash, launderette, various home maintenance, etc.

Now more of us can afford for those chores to be taken care of by others, what is there left for us to do? How can we use our money to maximize the opportunity of our time? That is where professional organizers come in.

Imagine what a professional organizer working for you could do for you personal organization. Everything comes from organization. As a professional organizer I consult with many people to organize everything in their life, organize goals, organize home, organize time, etc. I have chosen three core tips to help you choose a professional organizer that is suitable for you personally.

This may seem strange but I believe the skill of listening is one of the most important that a good professional organizer can have. If the professional organizer can not fully and completely listen to everything you are about and where you are coming from they will never be able to take you to a level of personal organization that satisfies you.

Choosing a professional organizer can be a cause for anxiety itself, which defeats the point of organization services. So here are some key insider tips from a professional organizer, on how you can choose a good professional organizer for your own style and way of doing things.

Make a list of 10 or so professional organizers by doing a search online or in a phone directory. Contact them by phone or email and let them know you are contacting 9 others to find one suitable for you. This lets them know they can not 'hard sell' you.

Take a look at their website, read some of their articles, and read their reply email or hear them out by phone. Tell them you still have the others to contact before making your decision. A good professional organizer will approve of your organized approach.

On your check list you need to score them on 'How good they listen to you and hear you out'. 'How interesting and thoughtful they're products and articles are'. 'How they're email response made you feel about them'.

Those three factors alone will give you enough to be able to at least make a short list and might allow you to choose a professional organizer in no time at all.

In modern life I believe time becomes so precious to the potential of opportunities and experiences life has to offer. Using a professional organizer will allow you to maximize the life opportunities you can take advantage of.

On-the-go tips

Whether you're spending time at the office or are constantly on the move, there are some ways to make life easier while on-the-go. Try these tips:

• Stay organized. Use a calendar to write down all your engagements, addresses and phone numbers. Keeping all the information in one place can keep you from wasting time looking for it later.

• Find your time wasters. Keep track of the ways you waste time for one week. Do you spend 10 minutes finding your keys? If so, make a key hook by your door-and use it.

• Make the most of your trips. Knock a few items off your list on the way to work or at lunch, freeing up some night and weekend time.

• Finish what you start. When you work on a project from start to finish, it's one less item on the to-do list.

• Readjust priorities. Since you can't really do it all, re-evaluate which activities really need your time and focus.

• Look for grab and go snacks to give you a lift. Kraft To Go! snacks, which come in two cheese and cracker varieties, are a great source of calcium. They fit in your purse, briefcase or bag, and are great for women on-the-go who are looking for a wholesome, grab-and-go snack.

Addiction to clutter

Clutter is a big problem for many people. At a lecture that I gave, I asked for a show of hands regarding how many people had problems with clutter and disorganization. I was surprised to find that at least half the people raised their hands.

One of my clients told me that she was trying to help her sister get back on her feet after her sister had been laid up with an illness and lost her job. Her sister’s house had always been a mess, and had become so filled with clutter that there was no place to walk or sit. My client, Rebecca, offered to buy her sister a car if she would clean up her house. Rebecca even offered to help her sister clean up the house. Rebecca was shocked when her sister refused the offer, even though she desperately needed the car. He sister was unwilling to get rid of the clutter.

Why? Why was the “stuff” so important to her?

Underneath all addictions lies fear - of emptiness, helplessness, loneliness and aloneness. Addictions are a way to feel safe from feeling these difficult and painful feelings, and an addiction to clutter is no exception. It’s all about having a sense of control over feeling safe. Clutter, like all addictions, provides a momentary feeling of comfort. However, as with any addiction, the clutterer needs more and more clutter to maintain the illusion of safety and comfort.

When my mother died and my son was cleaning out her house, he discovered huge amounts of clutter. While my mother’s house always looked neat and clean, the cupboards and drawers were filled with clutter. My son told me he found 6 broken hair dryers in one cabinet. Why would my mother want to keep six broken hair dryers?

My mother grew up during the depression and always had a fear of not having enough. No matter how much she accumulated materially, she never felt that she had enough. The six hair dryers made her feel safe from her fear, even if they didn’t work.

Carrie has trouble throwing things away, especially magazines with “important’ information in them. She subscribes to many magazines but, being the mother of three small children, doesn’t often have the time to read them. So the magazines pile up and pile up. Carrie hopes at some point to have the time to read them, but that time never seems to come. When asked why she won’t throw them out, her answer is, “Because there might be something important in them and I don’t want to miss it.” Carrie fears missing out on some important piece of information – information that may give her the peace she is seeking. It makes her feel safer and in control to have all the magazines around her with their important information, even if she never gets to read them.

When we don’t feel safe on the inner level, then we try to make ourselves feel safe on the outer level, and clutter is one way of doing that. Whether it’s things, such as hair dryers, or information, such as in magazines and newspapers, clutterers do not trust that they will have what they need. In addition, clutterers may be resistant people who see messiness and clutter as a way of not being controlled by someone who wants them to be neat.

HEALING THE ADDICTION TO CLUTTER

Clutter is created and maintained by a wounded, frightened part of oneself, the wounded self – the part that operates from the illusion of having control over people, events, and outcomes. As long as this wounded self is in charge of the decisions, the clutterer will continue to accumulate clutter as a way to provide comfort and the illusion of control over feeling safe, or continue to be messy as a way to resist being controlled.

Healing occurs when the individual does the inner work necessary to develop a strong, loving adult self. A loving adult is the aspect of us that opens to and connects with a spiritual source of wisdom, strength, and love. A loving adult is capable of taking loving action in our own behalf. The loving adult operates from truth rather than from the false beliefs of the wounded self, and knows that the comfort and safety that clutter seems to provide is an illusion – that no matter how much clutter accumulates, the clutterer still feels afraid. The loving Adult knows that safety and integrity do not lie in resistance. Only a loving adult who is tuned in to the guidance provided by a spiritual source and capable of taking loving action in one’s own behalf can create a sense of inner safety.

Practicing the six steps of Inner Bonding that we teach develops this powerful loving adult.

Organize the thoughts in your head

: Everybody knows that the way we think determines the outcome. If your thoughts are like “I can’t write more articles then I do already”, you probable won’t succeed. If you change your thoughts into “I will write more articles then I already do”, you will achieve that goal. Perhaps it’s only one article more then expected, but you did more then you wanted. If you believe in yourself you will succeed at the end. But before you reach that end you have to organize the thoughts in your head. There are two main thoughts, negative and positive. For every negative one you can find an opposite more positive thought. For example if you take a half filled glass with water you can think this glass is half empty. This is a more negative thought. If you approach it with the thought of this glass is half full then you think positive. There hasn’t been a change with the amount of water. Just your thinking changed. It takes time and effort to make those changes. At first you are on the level of unawareness incompetence. We act without thinking. If we want changes to be made we have to learn to use those positive affirmations. We now are one step higher called the awareness of incompetence. At this point you know that you have to learn and use in order to change. When we use them for a while and we see results we reach the level of aware competence. We now use the tools in a perfect way. We see results but to achieve the highest level we need to keep on the good work.. At this state when an opportunity appears we think in possibilities instead of problems. This is the state of mind we want to have consistently. Sure you have less positive thoughts sometimes but rapidly you make that change into a positive thought. Thinking positive has become a natural behavior Keep up the good work and start today. Remember only you can make a difference. www. powerfulllifesecrets. com
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