Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Organizing for a New School Year

It's time to begin that new school year. It is always an exciting time and so full of potential. To make the start of this year as smooth as possible, set up some organizational plans now.

Check on needed school supplies
  • Study the school supply list and see what you already have
  • While in the process of buying supplies, put them in a container for each child and write their names on supplies as appropriate
  • Load up the backpack with the supplies with your student and assign pockets in the pack for different supplies
Set up a study zone
  • Find a consistent location that works best for your student
  • Put together a basket or container of all items your student will need in order to complete assignments
  • Keep a calendar nearby to track projects and school events
  • Determine a home for the backpack in this zone
Incorporate school papers into your communication center
  • Have a school folder for all papers that need action - such as a signature or an event
  • Add to your contact folder all necessary school contacts for the year
Have a family meeting to set up new routines
  • Develop checklists for daily and weekly chores
  • Determine best time of day to do homework, chores, laying out clothes to wear, packing lunch, and packing up the backpack
  • Set up a family calendar for everyone to log in any event  - school or otherwise
Now go out for a special treat and celebrate new beginnings!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Every Professional Organizer Should Hire a Peer

I am a Professional Organizer and I have hired other Professional Organizers quite a few times. I'm not referring to the times I have hired others for sub contract work; but actually hiring them to help me with projects in my own home or office. I have hired Laura Ray (http://organizeatlanta.com/) to help me declutter my inbox. I have hired Tami Puckett (http://www.mindfulredesign.com/) to use her redesign skills to implement the suggestions of my Feng Shui consultant, Jenna Boyd.

Each time I use their expertise, I learn from them. I also get a reminder lesson on what it feels like to be the client. How hard it is to listen to their advice without taking things personally! How hard it is to embrace their suggestions without making excuses!

Right now I am using Tami Puckett to help me stage my home. What patience she has! How difficult I can be!

Tami remarks that she feels the painting and surround in my tiny breakfast room needs to be removed and the wall repainted. I disagree. I think it is a lovely piece and really shows how the room can be utilized. Next session, Tami revisits her proposal. I am beginning to acknowledge that not everyone would love it and they just might wonder how hard it would be to remove and repaint. We also discuss the paint color in my living room. "A soft off-white," Tami says. "But I love this green. Green is the sign of health!" Tami replies, "It's not your house anymore. Off-white is better."

Ouch! It's not my house anymore. She is so right. It turns out that as we work through the changes I am seeing that. I am also very much aware of how my clients often feel. Working with Tami on this project has been very therapeutic. I am ready to say "Good-by" to the house. I'm getting pretty excited about finding a new house and making it a home.

Oh, and the wall painting and surround will come down next week.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Concentrate On Your "Done" List

So often at the end of the day we wonder, "What went wrong?" We had our "to do" list. We even blocked out the time we were going to do each task. But, at the end of the day we can plainly see that quite a bit of it did not happen. We may feel bad about this.

This is where we need to take a hard look at out "done list."

I have advocated for quite some time that after we make our "to do" list we should pick out the big 3 and be really happy if we accomplish or at least start on those 3. So, on my list for today I would have chosen:
  • Work with client
  • email clients
  • outline presentation
However, yesterday my son asked for help getting a computer and I didn't think that would take very long. Today would be my best day to do it so that became #4.

Now, I always like to get my blog out on Tuesday so that might be a #5 but I know this is not crucial as I can work on it later in the week.

Other small tasks I work in when I have the time between the big 3 or 4.

But, as we know, life happens. I had a phone call from a social worker who wanted me to consider working with a hoarder. This became a very long call. My trip with my son took longer than I anticipated. Another client called and wanted me to locate a computer she had given me to recycle - she wanted it back to check on something. There were other important emails to handle besides the client follow-up emails.

The outline of my presentation and my follow up emails to clients did not happen. But, I did a lot today that moved my business forward. This is my today's "done list." This is where I should make my focus. I feel good about today as I reflect on all that I did get done. I think I'll stop work a little early and read a book as my reward.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Drowning in Free Stuff

Free is great! Yes? Well, sometimes - maybe. But what if we didn't discriminate? What if we got as much free stuff as we could and we held on to all of it because someday it would come in handy and we wouldn't have to buy it?

What are some of the free things that come into our life and where do they come from?

Dentists - free toothpaste, floss, and a toothbrush at a minimum
Doctors - free samples of drugs for you to try
Make-up Sales - free samples if you buy so much of a product, small samples to try a new color of product
Newspaper - in the wrapper you might find samples of Advil or even cereal
Mail - free samples sent for marketing purposes
Credit cards - free items for opening an account - college students love those T-shirts
Charities - free items if you have ever given anything to them - calendars, pens, notepaper, calculators, and gift wrap
Health Fairs or Conferences - goodies handed out all over the place
Events - free mugs, water bottles, cozies, shirts, and more

I'm sure there are lots of other places but you get the idea.

Now, if you get something free and you try the product right away and make a decision about it - that can be good. If you get a free individual box of cereal and put it in your cupboard with the last 10 free boxes and think, "I'll save this for when I have a child guest or for an emergency," - this is not so good.

I have seen bags and bags of free stuff being held because the item is a good size to take when traveling. Some people could travel months at a time for the rest of their life on the stuff they have stashed away. I have opened kitchen cabinets and seen whole shelves devoted to water bottles. I have seen more pens that you could possibly use - and many of them don't even work well.

So, here is my challenge to you. Go through your cabinets and drawers. Put all like items together and see how much you actually have. Then think, "How much could I use in the next year?" Set those items aside and get rid of the rest. Look at how much space you have now open! Don't fret about the stuff you got rid of. You will have plenty of opportunities to get more.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Freedom

Summer is usually a time when our schedules shift. Sometimes this leaves us feeling like we have more time than we really do. Our expectations change. I love to have the freedom to be spontaneous but I also need to have routines to ground me.

Routines block out my times so that I can see when I can have the luxury of unscheduled fun. Leaving some empty blocks on my calendar can be very exciting. I keep in mind my personal energy levels and try to schedule difficult tasks when I am at my peak. Some afternoons and evenings are better times to leave open while it is usually work as usual in the mornings.

I have a bucket list of some things I would like to accomplish during the summer. I love to give a summer party. I like to have some times to have lunch dates with friends. Usually during the rest of the year, our work schedules prevent this. I like to take in some outdoor concerts. I enjoy going to the Botanical Gardens. I love just sitting on the deck with my sweetie. I enjoy a mini vacation or two. But I do still have to plan and schedule in order to feel great about doing these fun activities. Life and work does go on in the summer even if it is at a slightly different level.

I am looking forward to a wonderful summer with all the extra freedoms that some good planning allows. Pardon me while I go pack.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer