Now, where did I put that?
The average American spends 40 minutes a day trying to find something that is misplaced. That’s almost 5 hours a week that could be better spent on other priorities. The top offenders in the “where is it?” category are wallet, car keys, purse and mobile phone. So, how do you create an organizing solution so that you never waste that time again? First, create a “home” for an item. My wallet, when not in my pocket, “lives” on my bedroom bureau. In the house, my purse hangs on a hook in the mudroom. I hang my car keys on the key rack in the mudroom when I enter the house. I carry my mobile phone in my pocket or in the house, it lives on the “charging shelf” in the kitchen. By creating a routine and a system, we have a go-to spot for our things, resulting in much less lost time searching for lost items. But what if I forgot to hang up my keys or my wallet fell out of my pocket, then what?
Ooops, there it is…
Have you ever tried to walk out of the house only to find that your wallet or keys is not where they should be? Or misplace your cellphone in the house and you can’t call it because it’s dead or on silent? While I’m generally not a “product person”, I recently found a product that I recommend to everyone. Tile is a small electronic piece that you can add to your keychain (the Tile Mate) and slip into a wallet, purse or adhere to many electronics (Tile Slim). Once you download the Tile app to your smart phone, you can “ring” the Tile to find the missing item. If the cellphone is the item you’ve misplaced, you can use a computer or any other Tile. Out of earshot? The Tile will show up on a map, showing you exactly where the item is.
Losing keys or a wallet and scrambling around to find our missing items is stressful and time-consuming. Creating a “home” for your items is a great Plan A and Tile is a great Plan B+.
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.