I’ll just check Facebook//Instagram/Pinterest for a minute…
Social media, in all of its manifestations, is a daily part of our lives. For anyone in marketing, sales or communications, it is a necessary evil. For the rest of us, social media can be a fun distraction, a communication tool and definitely a “time suck” which drains our time and productivity. Have you ever said “I’ll just check Facebook for 5 minutes” and you look up from the screen and an hour has gone by without your even noticing? Social media, for all its useful applications, is absolutely a rabbit hole that we all tend to fall into. In the workplace, the stakes and costs are even higher. Studies have shown a 13% loss in productivity in the workplace due to social media use which costs the economy billions each year. So how do I keep social media from being a time and productivity suck?
Put yourself on a social media “diet”
The Greek poet Hesiod urged “moderation in all things”. For all of us, social media must be limited if you want to remain productive and on schedule. Too much of anything is not healthy so put yourself on a “diet” of social media. Set a timer on your phone and when the timer goes off, get off social media. If you are truly on social media for work, write some bullet points on what you are doing and stick to your outline. Resist the temptation to click on interesting links or check out what others are doing and saying online. Like resisting cupcakes is good for your waistline, resisting checking out our friends’ feeds is good for your productivity.
Turn off social media notifications on your phone to keep from logging on all the time. Like Pavlov’s dog, we hear that little “ding” and think this is something we must check out immediately. Instead, set a time each day to go through your social media feeds and engage online. A couple of hours is not going to make a difference in liking a friend’s photo.
In the words of the amazing Aretha Franklin, “Respect Yourself!” But what does that mean for anyone struggling with disorganization?
Your home and financial health reflect your inner life and your inner health. How content you are. How fulfilled you are. How loving and loved you are. Your home is the outward expression of what you value, what you enjoy and what is important to you. Similarly, how you spend money and manage it mirrors how you value and respect yourself and your loved ones.
Getting organized can help you make better choices in your spending and your everyday life…Aretha would be proud!
Why clutter is adding to your stress.
No one should feel stressed when she opens the door to her home. Is your home providing you with a place of peace and calm, of focus and motivation? Or is it a major source of stress and anxiety in your life? Clutter in your home translates to more stress and this leads to our life being out of balance. One way I like to describe clutter is “deferred decisions”. I don’t know what to do with something, so I just put it down to “deal with it later”, hence clutter. Being surrounded by clutter does not make us feel peace, the effect is just the opposite.
How do I eliminate the clutter and bring more space and more peace into my home?
Do you want your home to offer you some measure of nourishment and calm? A good place to start is with making decisions about your stuff. When we don’t face the decisions we need to make, we use distractions to keep from having to make the tough choices. Are you over-shopping to insulate yourself? Using food as a reward or a way to “calm” yourself when things are too chaotic? Finding multiple excuses to not be in the home? These behaviors lead to more stuff in the home and an unbalanced and unhealthy lifestyle which compounds the stress we are already feeling.
Your home should be the place where you escape all negative forces in the world. How you live in that home – eat, breathe, sleep and connect with loved ones – should be the antidote to stress, not the cause. Now is the time to make a change that will positively impact your life. Don’t let any more time go by – eliminate the clutter and bring more space and peace into your home.
This “thing” is not working – now what?
Can you put your hands on the manual and receipt for your non-working refrigerator in less than 5 minutes? Found the manual? Great. Is it still under warranty and when and where did I purchase this anyway? Product manuals and invoices/receipts for all our many items can be overwhelming. I recommend using an alpha file for organizing most purchase information. When you buy a new item (appliance, furniture, pricey clothing item), place the manual with the attached receipt in the alpha file. As an added step, write on the front of the manual the purchase place and date for easy reference. Most manuals and product information can be downloaded as a PDF online if you prefer. But I do recommend holding onto the original receipt. Yes, lots of folks like to keep these receipts in email format but a hard copy is always easier to retrieve in a hurry. So, should all product manuals and invoices go in an alpha file?
Creating an “Electronics Manual Box”
If you counted all of the major product purchases you’ve made over the past year, would technology items be a majority? For most of us, our homes are filled with smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, Kindles and readers – each with its own manual and receipt. Unlike an appliance or piece of furniture for which we rarely need the manual or purchase information, repair and upgrade to electronics is constant. To manage this process, keep those receipts and manuals separate. Use a clear box with a lid and put this in an out of the way but easy to find space – think under the bed. No one wants to be frantically searching for purchase docs and receipts when their phone is dead or computer crashes.
When you purchase a replacement item – like a new washing machine – be sure to discard the old manual. In your electronics box, mark product boxes and receipts with simple notes – “Lisa’s iPhone6 purchased Sept 2017”. When you need to have an item repaired, you don’t need to be searching through a pile of manuals and receipts for the right one.
What, exactly, is this charger for??
Have you ever picked up a cord or charger and thought “what the heck is this cord for?” The speed of technology has increased dramatically in just a few years. As a result, we’ve upgraded our tablets, computers and phones so many times that we are left with a jumble of cords and wires we can’t identify and are terrified to throw out “just in case”. So what’s a first good step to organizing your technology jumble? Start by labeling your current technology. Using a label maker or masking tape, create a label. Use simple names like “Lisa’s iPhone”, “Conor’s Kindle”, “Brett’s MAC” – you get the idea…Don’t be afraid to over tag – it’s better to have more tags than not. As an added step to managing and organizing your technology tangle, create a “technology box”. Store spare cables and plugs, extra headphones, a travel technology kit – whatever you need most frequently. And keep the box in one spot in the house or office. This will eliminate the hunt for an extra charging cord or new headphones when needed. Now, what about the mystery cords lurking in desks, drawers and baskets all over the house?
Step one – gather all the cords, chargers, techno-stuff together. Be sure to check kids’ rooms too – technology will migrate there as your kids get older. Don’t forget all the learning and educational toys your child once used. The Leap Frogs, learning tablets and the like might not be in current use but are likely still hanging around and the cords might be separated from the device. Then one by one, try to figure out which device the cord goes with. Hint – check the battery plug. The plug will often have the manufacturer’s name on it. Do your best to figure out what goes with what but don’t obsess. If you haven’t missed it recently, it’s unlikely you’ll miss it in the future.
DON’T throw those unneeded and mystery cords and chargers in the trash – techno trash is a real problem. Take them to Best Buy or Staples and drop them off for proper recycling.
Why, exactly, am I keeping this??
Do you have a box, bin or closet full of memorabilia that you just don’t know what to do with? Congratulations. You are like most people with “stuff” they just don’t know what to do with. So what is memorabilia exactly? Webster’s Dictionary defines memorabilia as “things that are remarkable and worthy of remembrance”. Pull out that box and open that closet – is everything in there “remarkable and worthy of remembrance?” Ask the question today “why, exactly, am I keeping this?” Does the item still pass the litmus test? Good, keep it. If not, let it go. It helps to define a certain amount of space, i.e. a bin, box or even a closet, for that memorabilia. If the space is full, you need to review the items and purge what no longer passes muster. So if you’ve decided that this item is important enough to keep and use valuable storage space to keep it, why is it hiding?
The right way to display memorabilia
Memorabilia can take many forms – photos, documents, books, clothes, personal items – the list is endless. Photos and documents are actually the easiest to store – see my blog post on that important topic. Once you are ready to display and share your photos, check out some of the many options available. But other memorabilia is definitely harder to manage because of its size and shape. For clothes, think about repurposing that wedding dress into a christening dress or pillows. The reality is that your daughter is unlikely to wear your wedding dress but if you feel that you just can’t get rid of it, at the very least have it professionally cleaned and preserved and then find an out of the way place to store it. Did you save dozens of your child’s Little League T-shirts? Guilty on that one! A t-shirt blanket is a wonderful reuse of those items and is a perfect complement to any dorm room.
Memorabilia is an item “worthy of remembrance”. Does it still have the same significance today? If so, determine the best way to display it.