Monday, February 22, 2010

Won't You Join Me?

to my new web address here..

I would be so grateful if you would change me in your reader too....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Organize Your Schedule

When I was pregnant with my first child I was very nervous. I really did not have much experience with babies and there was so much stuff to know. Fortunately I had my mom close to me and talked to her on a daily basis. We were talking about baby bottles and feeding. I was getting so confused on how to feed, when to feed, how much to feed, and everything else associated with feeding. It was then that I admitted I was scared. Scared of messing up which I feared would then hurt my baby.

My mom was so good. She reassured me over and over and said what I was feeling was normal and she went through it too. She told me that everything I would need to know would come to me naturally. However I did remember one piece of advice she did give me. She told me "the best thing you can do is get organized." Now I was already a fairly neat and organized person anyway. But I still took the advice and realized that in order to keep my life in order I was going to have to ramp up the organization skills.

And that's how my organizing obsession started.

I have been with children for 17 years and I am still honing my skills to this day. I am always trying to think of ways to better organize my home, my life, my day to day activities. After all, with 4 kids things can quickly get out of hand if you are not on top of them constantly.

One of the areas that I have found that has been the most difficult to keep organized is my personal and job schedule. I cannot let that get away from me because if I do, things quickly spiral out of control. I forget appointments and key activities, meals get missed, and I start to lose things.

Over the years I have used many types of calendars and lists to keep my whole life straight and have finally created one that has stuck with me over the past year.

You can access it here.

It's really simple to use and I think it covers just about everything I need to do and remember over the next week. I usually fill it right as the weekend starts for the upcoming week. It takes a few minutes for me to bring up my work calendar and home calendar. Everything I need to remember and every place I need to be is right here to remind me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paper Clutter

I don't know about you but a ton of mail and paperwork always flows through my house. If I don't have a system set up to handle it all, I can quickly become buried. But I am not perfect and sometimes have found myself buried. It is then that I reinforce my current systems and clean out.

The key to being free of paper clutter is to address it as soon as it enters the door of your home. For me that would be in the form of mail, kids backpacks, and email. Yes, email is a new form of paper clutter without being physical paper.

Here are a few ways I have set myself up to be as proactive as possible with this issue.


Sort through the mail over the garbage can.
Throw any junk mail away immediately. Shred if necessary.
Open up all bills and put them in the bill pile.
Throw the catalogs away (you can usually find them online).
Magazines that you truly want to read go into the read pile.
All other paperwork that you keep should be filed in an filing cabinet.

If there is not a place to put your particular piece of mail that you don't want to discard then find a place for it. The key to paper organization is finding a place to appropriately house your paper materials. The other key is knowing what you need to throw out.

Kids paperwork

I have four kids so I can quickly collect artwork, schoolwork, and other general paperwork from the school. I have set up a system to handle all of this paper that is fairly quick and simple.

I keep a folder for each child for artwork and schoolwork that I want to keep. This folder goes into the same filing cabinet as all of my other house papers. It's easy to keep it all in one spot. The easier the better. However the downside is that these folders can fill up quickly. To combat this, I purge these folders every so often. I have found that I tend to keep many of the papers that my child brings home from school but when I go back to look at these papers a certain time later I tend to discard more easily. The long term keepers are kept in a permanent airtight container that I keep in the attic for memory keeping.

To recap:

1. Papers come home from school. Some is kept and some is discarded.
2. Kept papers are filed in the child's folder in the filing cabinet.
3. After a few months, the folder is reviewed. More papers are purged.
4. The kept papers get moved to a permanent container in the attic.


It's almost everyone's personal experience that email can quickly get out of control if you don't set up a system to handle it as it comes in.

This is why I really love email programs such as Microsoft Outlook. Outlook (and other similar programs) is great for many reasons. One of those is the ease with which one can create and save emails to various folders and subfolders. Create logical folders so that your emails can be stored and retrieved easily. As soon as you get an email that needs to be filed, file it!

I love Outlook because I can create a "rule". Rules are good because you can have an action taken on an email right before it hits your inbox. You can have that email filed, deleted, or something else automatically for you. This is good if you get repetitive emails.

Unsubscribe to lists you don't want to be on. This happens to me all of the time when I register for something and you give them your email address. Almost all of the time (unless you uncheck those default boxes) you will get placed on someone's email list for all kinds of ads and promotions. Most of them allow you to unsubscribe. Take the time to do this up front will help you on the back end.

Taking care of your paper clutter is about setting up systems that work and addressing the paper right away.