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Time management for children

Time to schedule, words on blank board hold by a young girl in the outdoor.

Scheduling helps everyone to understand what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.

Weekly Agenda Page

 like to develop a weekly agenda page for each child in the family.  They have their own page posted on the refrigerator or bulletin board. 

Record all Weekly Activities – School, Home and Extra Curricular

At the beginning of each week, I record all their activities, music lessons, group activities, sports, etc.  I also record their special activities at school so they remember to bring library looks, physical education clothing, and musical instruments.  It also includes any chores that they have to do around the house.  If you prepare it on the computer, many things don’t change from week to week.

Record Additional Activities for the Week – Test, Projects, Parties

The children will add to the page, tests and projects that have been assigned at school.  Before they can play, watch TV or have screen time they have to complete everything on their list.  If you start this habit for them when they are young, it teaches them how to organize their time.  You will be helping to instill in them a habit that will last them a life time.

   

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Library books Physical education Class trip   violin
Practice piano Girl Guides Collect garbage Skating  Birthday Party at Susie’s
Set table Empty dishwasher


Paper or an App

I like paper because I can see everyone’s week at a glace without switching between screens and accounts.  But if you enjoy technology because you can access information from anywhere at anytime try Choice Works for scheduling with your children’s activities.  It allows you to select activities and list them by picture for non reading children or in words. 

A Students Guide to Effective Time Management

Thanks to Amy and Peyton for sending me this article for young adults entering college and university. This article has many helpful tips to help you be successful at school : A Students Guide to Effective Time Management 

Time management is about finding a system that works for you and your children to make life easier.  Please leave a comment about agendas, systems and apps that you use. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Twitter – @julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

Top 10 productivity time killers

Carolyn Shannon is my guest blogger today.  Her business Venting Creatively helps people to find creative ways to shine a light on their life from a different view.  She runs a monthly  networking group called BEE Niagara and publishes a magazine call Women of Worth magazine.

Being productive leaves time for the things that are important to you

Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Everyday countless hours are wasted away due to non-productive activities. Time is money, so when distractions and procrastination sets in profitability will decline. A survey conducted by OfficeTime.net has revealed 10 of the biggest time killers. The main offenders that reduce of our productivity are:

1. Emails

2. Surfing the net

3. Watching TV

4. Procrastination

5. Meetings

6. Non-business conversations

7. Commuting & travel time

8. Social networking

9. Cell Phones & texting

10. Dealing with red tape

Types of Time Wasting

There are many factors that lead to procrastination. There are a few broad categories that most time wasting falls into.

1. Indecision.

Perfectionists will often struggle with indecision. Some things may never become perfect, and putting too much focus on perfection will mean too much time spent on one job. Splitting the work into smaller tasks is one way to deal with it more effectively.

2. Avoidance.

A fear of being judged can be the main cause of procrastination. It could be fear of failure or even success. Neither of these are something to be ashamed of. Success should be celebrated, and failure is the best way or learning. Think less about what others may think and more on trying your best at the task on hand.

3. Thrill Seeking.

This is when procrastination is justified because the worker likes the thrill of an approaching deadline. If this is the case it is best to move deadlines closer and set personal targets. This still gets you the thrill of working against the clock, while reducing procrastination.

How to Put an End to Time Killers

The first step to battling time killers is to understand and appreciate the amount of time that is being wasted. What is the value of all that lost time? Time wasters will directly affect your career advancement opportunities and reduce the amount of income you could have received.Tracking where your time is spent will allow for efficient time management. Don’t just rely on your memory to remember what you did during the day. Use a system so that you have a written record that can be looked over and analyzed. This could be as simple as creating a timetable on a piece of paper, or utilizing a computer program or app to record your daily activities. Cutting down on time killers is a good start, but there are other strategies that should be used to effectively manage your time:

1. Define your purpose.

You need to know exactly what you want when starting on a task. Without a definite purpose you will lose focus.

2. Smart goal setting.

Choose realistic and specific goals and targets. It should be measurable so you know when it has been completed.

3. Plan on a regular basis.

As factors change, you plan should be adjusted to reflect the reality of the situation.

To truly beat time killers you need to work on your mindset & stick to your plan for the long-term.

Which type of Time Waster Are You?

1. Thrill Seekers

They feel they can procrastinate, as they enjoy the feeling of working against a deadline

Tip: constantly set and adjust deadlines so that you still get the adrenaline rush but are using your time more effectively than procrastinating

2. Avoiders

They prefer to procrastinate as a means to avoid being judged. Whether it is a success or a failure

Tip: Success is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Failure is a way to learn and improve. Focus on doing the best job you can and not on what others think.

3. Indecisive people

They are often perfectionists but procrastinate to shift responsibility from themselves

Tip: Not everything has to be perfect so try to take small risks and use your intuition. Mistakes may mean you learn something new. Try to split the task up into more manageable parts.

Need help setting new patterns and mindsets this year contact me.  I can work with you in person or virtually to help you become more productive and have time for the things that are important to you. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – @julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

 

Preparing for the holidays

Here are some tips for holiday planning to make a H A P P Y month.

Holiday Decorating

You maybe feeling overwhelmed or disorganized by the quantity of items on display in your house.  Try putting the non-seasonal items away to reduce the number of items on display.

Keep decorations simple

Decorate with flowers

Think about decorating with fewer items but larger size items.  This means there are fewer items to pack and unpack which will reduces the amount of time you need to prepare your home.

Take advantage of using linens to cover tables or end table and pillows to decorate couches.  They may be less bulky to store and cover a larger area making your home seem completely decorated while taking less time to get the job done.

Use items that self destruct so you don’t need to pack them away, flowers, paper towels, tissue boxes all give your house a festival spirit but don’t need to be packed away and stored.

When you go through your decorations part with the ones you know longer need early in the month so thrift store have an opportunity to sell them and so they don’t need to store them until next year.  Some stores don’t take holiday décor in January and then you will be stuck storing them for another year.

 Accept Help

Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed and when people offer to do things say yes.  We all love to help people so let people feel good about themselves by allowing them to help you.

If people volunteer to bring food to a party accept gratefully.  Allow people to help clean up dishes on their way out the door.  In fact be ready for it.  Have a place to put cutlery to soak.  Have out a container for compost.  Put glasses or coffee mugs directly into the dishwasher.

Planning is important

Use a to do list. Divide your to do list into to pick up, to e-mail, to call, to buy then you can plan your day and route to get things done and not be driving back and forth all over town.  The trick here is to actually look at the list and use it not just make it.

Keep your plans from year to year, record your menu, grocery list quantities, time lines.  Each year you can reuse, revise and update the plan

 People and relationships are the reason for the season

Some people like to send cards in December.  I keep my cards and addresses and stamps all together.  When I am going somewhere where I will be waiting I pick up the supplies and take them along and write my cards.  I have done it at hockey rinks, doctor’s offices, bus stations and on car trips.  I usually leave replies to someone who has sent me a longer letter until January.

Use your spare moments to write cards

If you want to automate the card sending operation there is a company called send out cards.

Gift giving maybe an area where you are developing a system. Have you thought about Clutter free gift giving?

Consider the idea of a gift that self destructs.  See my post on Clutter Free Gift Giving

Yes You Can

Yes you can 

Being organized is more about an attitude then how something looks.  It is not about having the perfect home, party or gift it is doing the best you can with   the time and resources that you have. The only way to get better at organizing is to practice. It is a skill that can be learned and with practice it becomes easier and     easier.

Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Organize your clutter free gift giving list

There are many considerations when trying to purchase the perfect present. Sometimes the person has everything.  Some people may feel that they have enough stuff and they don’t want to have to decide how to store more items. Some people feel that they need to keep everything they are given whether they need it or like it or can use it. They are afraid of hurting the giver’s feelings.  It may feel like an impossible mission.  Consider the idea of a gift that self destructs

Give tickets to an event

Sporting, theatre, art gallery exhibit, musical event.  Give them tickets so it won’t be a gift card that they file or lose.  Most performances will allow tickets to be exchanged for a different date. Try giving tickets to a Toronto Rock Lacrosse game.  It is an experience, reasonably prices and you get to see the Air Canada Center. You can support your local community by purchasing tickets to a little theatre production, hockey tickets.  Give them the gift of entertainment.

Rent a sports venue

It can be an hour of ice time, indoor soccer, indoor tennis and indoor golf.  This type of gift usually gets people together to socialize and be active.  It is a gift of physical and emotional health.

Lessons

You can give lessons to a person.  Art lessons, wine tasting, golfing, scuba diving, music, craft, beading, the ideas are limitless.  It can be one lesson or a group of lessons. Give the gift of a new experience.

Food

Give a gift of a meal, prepared by you for them on a mutually agreed date.  You may want to give them a batch of muffins every month or whatever their favourite food is.  People enjoy receiving homemade Christmas cookies or a fruit plate.  You can go on line and search COOKIES in a Jar.  The recipient of the cookie mix adds water or milk and bakes the cookies. Give the gift of sharing your time with others.

A service

Someone may enjoy being relieved of performing a tedious job.  Arrange for a cleaning service, professional organizer, snow removal, lawn care.  Give them the gift of time for themselves.

Professional Organizing Services

Charities

There are many charities that can benefits from donations.  Select a charity and make a donation in the name of the person.    Look at one aspect of the person’s life and try to find a charity that represents their interests. Give them the gift of generosity.

Give the gift of Fun

One year a group of us rented a hot tub for a week and shared the use of it. Another year I bought rocket kits for everyone, we built the kits and shot off the rockets

Here are a few gifts that are clutter free, personal and thoughtful but the ideas are endless.

 Join my  Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

4 organizing tips to improve your entrance way

Controlling the clutter at the entrance to your home can be a huge challenge.

Colorful clothing on coat hooks

Vary the height of hook and shelves

1. Place hooks low enough that everyone can hang up his or her own coats, sweaters, and jackets.

2. Establish a space that can be reached without help for each person’s backpack or gym bag.  This could be a shelf, cupboard or hook.

Mount shelves at different heights for each person in the household.

Mount shelves at different heights for each person in the household.

Designate a place for footwear

3. Have enough space near the entrance for shoes that are used regularly.  Buy stackable shoe racks and use vertical space efficiently.  Footwear worn occasionally should be stored elsewhere and brought out as needed.

Use vertical space to prevent footwear form sprawling all over the entry way

Use vertical space to prevent footwear from sprawling all over the entry way

Use a shoe organizer to store your hats,gloves,sunscreen 

4. Have a place for seasonal hats, gloves and scarves.  A hanging shoe organizer is ideal for this purpose.  Put regularly-worn hats, scarves and pairs of gloves into the pockets, where you can easily see each item and quickly select what you need.   Storing hats, mitts and scarves directly with a jacket also helps to keep everything together.

 

Use a shoe organzer to hold hats in the closet

Use a shoe organizer to hold hats in the closet

What is the biggest problem in your front entrance way? Let me know, I might have a solution for you.

Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

Organize your desk to make the impression you are a leader

Do you want your desk to say you are a leader, hard worker, creative? Could your desk say that you are messy, boring, behind the times? Let your workspace be your business card.  You may have a physical office or a portable office, organize it to suit your needs so you can work efficiently, show your clients that you are knowledgeable and a leader in your field.

This mobile work station can help to keep your work organized

Technology

Use technology that helps you accomplish your business.  Having state of the art technology that you don’t understand and can’t use competently  or having outdated technology will give  your clients the wrong  impression .  Purchase the technology that is right for you and  your budget. Don’t fall into the trap of buying technology that is more powerful than you need to make a “good” impression. Clients may feel like your  are showing off. Show your clients that you are knowledgeable, prepared appropriately and ready to lead them through the task at hand.

Desk Photo /  Screen Saver

Use a photo that lets your clients learn something new about you. Make yourself memorable to your clients. Make sure it is in good taste, you want to make a professional impression on your potential clients.  Be authentic not boring. An interesting screen saver on your laptop will have the same effect.   

Business Cards

Have them close at hand so you can give them out at the appropriate time.  You don’t want people to take them because they feel obligated, you want them to have them because they are interested in you.  Make sure your business card is professionally designed.  If you want to show you are a leader don’t use the free sites.  Make sure they are readable, scanable, classic and interesting.   Good supplies show that you value quality and  do quality work.

Piles on Your Desk / Piles of Paper in your Bag

This relates to your organizing style.  Too many piles gives the impression you are behind in your work and may not able to help your clients in a timely manner.  The perfect office will make some clients feel uncomfortable because they will feel like they are not good enough to work with you.  Determine how you function best, piles, filing cabinets, trays, desktoppers.  Remember to keep loose papers neatly piled or stored in the way that works best for you. Lead by example, if you are prepared to work then others follow your work ethic making it easier to accomplish the job on time.

Lighting

When you enter your office is it dark and stark or bright and light? What does that say about you?  I don’t care, I don’t notice details or  I am open and I want you to be comfortable.  Adding lighting to your office can make the space more inviting, interesting and make it easier for clients to read information.  If you are dealing with an older population eyesight can be declining. Good lighting makes it easier for them to engage with the information.  The more ways you show your clients you understand their needs the more likely they are to trust that you are an expert.

Books

Keep up with popular books in your industry, even if you don’t find them interesting.   Your clients may ask you about them.  You want to be able to make a  comment that helps them to understand the value in the book or article. You can also display a few books to show your clients that you have diverse interests in intriguing  topics.  It shows them that you like to expand your knowledge.  Leaders develop many skills not just the ones directly related to their business. Skills and knowledge learned from others make you a better leader.

Pictures on the Wall

Displaying your certification and education reassures clients of your expertise.  But a wall full of outdated certificates may not give the best impression.  Have a couple that show your current accomplishments. You want your clients to know you value education and keeping current is important.

Try to Avoid

  1. Leaving your unfinished lunch on display
  2. Having your desk cluttered with staplers, pens, tape dispenser, post it notes, etc.  Keep them in your desk drawer or in a box.  Have your desk say that your a leader and expert.
  3. Silly objects, you are trying to show your clients that you are a leader not the funny one.

Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space   or follow me on Twitter @julieorganizer

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

 

 

8 Ways to sell your stuff before your move

More and more people are downsizing before moving. They may be moving to a smaller place. They may have decided to have a more minimalist  lifestyle. They maybe moving a great distance and choose not to take their stuff with them but furnish their accommodation when they know what they need. Selling your stuff is one way to fund your move.

My guest blogger is Liz Wolf a freelance writer  who wrote this article for SpareFoot.com

You’re preparing to move and it’s time to declutter. Don’t just trash the stuff you don’t need when you can make some decent money selling it.

In fact, 77 percent of people said they’ve tried to sell belongings before a move, according to a new survey released by SpareFoot.com.

While there are many ways to sell your stuff, it turns out that 78 percent of tech-savvy millennials go online to sell their items, compared with 52 percent of the general public who have ever tried to sell something online. (You can download the full survey results here.)

“I think there’s a technology gap,” said Liana George, owner of Houston area-based By George Organizing Solutions. “That’s how my daughter in college got rid of a lot of stuff, like her bed and bedding, when she moved back home. Millennials are much more digital. That’s how they think.”

Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, there are plenty of ways to unload your extra stuff for cash. Here are the most popular ways people sell their items:

Mature couple putting up sign for Yard Sale

1. Garage Sales

Garage and yard sales actually beat out all other methods with 50 percent of movers saying they’ve hosted a sale, according to SpareFoot.

Research group Statistics Brain reports that garage sales nationally generate a whopping $4.22 million in weekly revenue.

“I’m not surprised because sometimes it’s all people know,” said Donna Smallin Kuper, professional organizer and author of How to De-clutter and Make Money Now. They don’t know that there are other options that are actually much better, that will net more from their sales and be faster. People who have garage sales all complain that they only got pennies on a dollar. Well, that’s because it was a garage sale!”

“I feel garage sales are too time-consuming for small profit unless you have an entire house to get rid of,” added Ellen Limes, owner of Organized by L in Columbus, Ohio. “We do more donating just to get rid of it.”

While garage sales are a ton of work – and “shoppers” can be stingy with their dollars – you do get to pocket all of the proceeds and there are tips for a successful sale.

However, Hazel Thornton, owner of Organized for Life in Albuquerque, NM has a word of advice: “I tell clients, ‘If you do have a garage sale, promise me that whatever doesn’t sell goes straight to donation,’” she said.

2. Word of Mouth

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they have sold items just by word of mouth among friends and family.

“Start by letting your family know and ask them to tell their connections,” advised Julie Stobbe, owner of Mind Over Clutter in Ontario, Canada. “Next send the information to friends and co-workers and groups you might belong to. If you’re dealing with people you know, they’re more likely to show up and buy the item than when you’re dealing with the public.”

An ideal way to sell furniture or appliances is ask the new homebuyer or neighbors if they’re interested.

3. Craigslist

Thirty-two percent of movers have tried selling stuff on Craigslist.com.

More than 60 million people use this free site each month in the U.S. alone. Craiglist is good for selling larger items like home appliances, bicycles, furniture and yard equipment.

young women shopping through tablet on Ebay

4.  eBay

Looking to reach a bigger audience? Twenty-four percent of movers try eBay to lighten their loads.

eBay is a big e-commerce player with 25 million sellers worldwide. High-end clothing, collectibles and smaller electronics are popular items.

However, some might find eBay’s large, competitive marketplace rather intimidating. Also, eBay charges sellers for listing on the site, whether items sell or not, and takes a commission on the sale.

“Twenty-four percent is surprising, because I find that eBay is a little bit complicated, and there’s so much competition with professional sellers,” Smallin Kuper said. “There are easier ways.”

5. Facebook

Twenty-one percent try hawking their stuff on the popular social networking site. People spend a heckuva lot of time on Facebook, so why not use it to sell your belongings?

Consider offering your Facebook friends the first opportunity to buy your stuff by creating a photo album and labeling it “Online Garage/Yard Sale.”

“We have several Facebook groups just for selling in our master-planned community,” George said. “It’s easier to know somebody three blocks over has something and I can go get it… We do porch pickup where we just leave things on the porch and people put the money under the mat.”

“I sold a washer/dryer to a friend’s son and a bear rug to a friend in California,” Smallin Kuper added.

Or expand your reach and find a Facebook “Yard Sales Group” in your area.  Groups can be very large and many are private, so you must join before you can sell.

 6. Consignment Stores

Just 15 percent of movers try their luck with consignment stores to make some extra money. Consignment stores work well for high-end clothing, purses, home décor and furniture.

“They’re a great way to sell stuff, because people are already going there looking for those items,” Smallin Kuper said. “You split the sale with the seller, but you don’t have to do anything but show up.”

Of course, these shops are picky in what they accept.

“That’s a good thing because they know what sells,” Smallin Kuper added. “If you take it to them and they say, ‘Uhh, we really don’t want these clothes.’ Great. Now you know just donate them. You have to put your ego aside when you go to consignment stores.”

7. Amazon

Fourteen percent of movers try to sell their excess goods on Amazon.com.

Amazon offers a large marketplace like eBay, but it’s less expensive to use . You can list on Amazon for free and then it’s $.99 cents per item sold on top of the commission for the sale if you have the basic, individual seller’s account. Books, DVDs and video games are best-selling items.

“It’s such an easy way to sell stuff especially books, but anything that Amazon sells, you can sell,” Smallin Kuper said. “…You’re listed along with other used items and if you want your item to sell fast, just drop the price a little bit and boom! You’ve just sold something and all you have to do is ship it.”

8. Free Apps

Four percent of movers report using other methods to sell their stuff. There are lot of new entrants looking to help people sell their stuff via a variety of marketplaces, mostly in the form of free smartphone apps. Some of the services include: Letgo, OfferUp, VarageSale, Close5 and Decluttr.

You can find this blog post at SpareFoot

What was your most successful way of selling your items before moving?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Use colour coding to organize your office space

Visual people find organizing to be more effective using different colours to represent different categories.  Other people find having too many colours to be visual clutter and distracting.  Colour can be used to motivate, grab your attention or calm your work space. My guest blogger Jessica Pyykkonen from Quill.com explains how to use colour to organize your workspace with this  infographic.

Color code your way to an organized workspace with office productsInfographic by Quill

Color code your way to an organized workspace with office productsWhen the workspace becomes chaotic, color may offer a solution. Adapting a color-coded system will organize your office and make it easier to track and access information. Read about the psychological properties of colors, plus strategies to organize by color.
Color code your way to an organized workspace with office products
  1. Psychological properties of colors

    Before applying a color-coded system to the office, learn the meaning behind popular colors to help dictate which hues to use and when.

    • Red: Associated with energy and power, red is an intense color. Since it quickly grabs the eye, use it to alert coworkers of something urgent.
    • Orange: Less aggressive than red, orange is still an eye-catching, dominating color. A hue closer to the shade of gold can mean luxury, wisdom, or wealth. Use it to label new or long-term projects that focus on the future or improving your business.
    • Yellow: Also a great attention grabber, yellow signifies happiness, hope, and positivity and is commonly used for important items that cannot be ignored. Use for production tasks or to communicate new ideas.
    • Green: A symbol of growth and fertility, green symbolizes stability and healing power. Use it for financial tasks and environmental initiatives.
    • Blue: As a calming color, blue represents loyalty, intelligence, and focus. It’s also a trusting color. Use it for brainstorming, presenting, and networking.
    • Purple: A combination of blue and red, purple is a creative color that symbolizes royalty and luxury. It’s great for creative tasks.
    • Pink: A playful color, pink is full of compassion. It’s a loving, intimate, and feminine color. Save it for personal labels and special occasions.
    • White: Associated with purity, white signifies success and perfection. Use it to signify simplicity and cleanliness.
    • Black: A formal color, black can be prestigious or authoritative. Use it to make other colors stand out and for formal events.
  2. Organizing files by color

    When it’s necessary to save every piece of paper that touches your desk, it can be easy to misplace important information in a pile of white. To file papers you may need to reference later, create a color-coded system with folders.

    Divide documents into categories—invoices, tax documents, office guidelines, etc.—and choose a color to represent each category. Use folders or tabs in each designated color to organize the categories. For file cabinets, choose an assortment of colored hanging folders, which are sturdy enough to hold most documents.

    When passing documents between teams, it’s a good idea to assign colors to departments or tasks. Colored file folders help distinguish which documents need to head to the HR department or be reviewed by the financial team. If using plain manila folders, stick colored labels or tabs on each folder.

    Multiple projects can be assigned a color and organized in three-ring binders. Maintain the color-coded system inside the binder to separate budget and creative documents.

    If it’s time to archive documents, use storage bins in the color-coded system to quickly identify what is inside.

  3. Color code your calendar

    A calendar filled with back-to-back meetings can be overwhelming and ineffective. Ease the stress by assigning colors to events—both work and personal—to get a better understanding of your day-to-day activities. Visualizing the events can help control how much time you allocate to each activity or project.

    To categorize meetings, choose colors based on their psychological properties. Most calendar apps allow users to assign colors, but if you prefer traditional day planners, use sticky notes or colored pencils to categorize.

    • Red: Wednesday 11 a.m.—”Final Spreadsheet due”
    • Blue: Tuesday 3 p.m. — “Brainstorm Session w/ PR”
    • Green: Thursday 10 a.m. — “Budget Meeting”
    • Yellow: Tuesday 9 a.m. — “Credit Card Bill Due”Wednesday 1 p.m. — “Order File Folders”
    • Purple: Monday 2 p.m. — “Present Sales Pitch”Thursday 1 p.m. — “Review Mock-Ups”
    • Pink: Friday 5 p.m. — “Happy Hour”
  4. Take notes in color

    Writing notes on paper is a great concept—until those notes get lost among other notes and are never read again. Take the color-coded calendar a step further by using the same colored pen to take notes. Color coding can also stimulate different parts of your brain and allow you to see connections previously overlooked.

    In a budget meeting? Use a green pen to jot down notes. If a creative idea comes to mind that you don’t want to forget to bring up during a weekly brainstorm, use purple. When you flip back through your note pages, the system will allow you to quickly find what you’re looking for. But avoid too much color—if everything is highlighted, it’s difficult to tell what takes priority.

  5. Color code your inbox

    If hundreds of unread emails leave you overwhelmed, assign colors to senders or subjects to quickly identify what needs attention. Many email systems have settings to adjust how emails are displayed in your inbox. Assign automatic colors to specific people, such as your manager, so those emails will stand out.

    Messages can also be coded by subject line. If you’re working on a specific project, assigning that project name a color will separate it from everyday emails.

Conclusion

Color coding is meant to make your work life easier. Assign colors before you start a new project and limit the amount to avoid confusion. You shouldn’t have to spend time deciphering your color code!

How do you use colour coding to keep yourself organized?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week

Information below from Fire Prevention Canada: Working with the private and public sectors to achieve fire safety through education. Fire Prevention Canada is a non-profit organization which depends on sponsors and volunteers to help keep Canada fire-safe.

This year’s national theme is “Have Two Ways Out.©” Fire Prevention Week is recognized every October during the full week – Sunday through Saturday – that October 7th falls on. Despite the fact that fewer fire losses are reported in Canada, still, on average, eight Canadians die from fire every week. Most of these fires are preventable and caused by careless behaviour. That is why it is critical to educate Canadians and incite them to act. During this week, fire departments across the nation will promote public awareness of the dangers of fire and the ways we can protect ourselves from fire.

Did you know that modern homes burn much faster?

Research over three decades has shown that modern homes may be making house fires more deadly than ever before.

Newer homes and furnishings are made with more synthetics which make fires ignite and burn faster. They also release more toxic gases when burned. Most fire victims die from smoke or toxic gases and not from actual burns. Deadly conditions are reached much more quickly now than in the 1970s when more natural materials were used in home and furnishings.

Over 30 years ago, an important study conducted tests in actual homes with sizes and floor plans, furniture and items, and smoke alarms on the market. That report concluded smoke alarms generally provided the necessary escape time for different fire types and locations. This research led to the popular use of smoke alarms in residential settings

A more recent 2005 study found a troubling difference with the previous investigation. The amount of safe escape time was consistently shorter and the fire growth rates were faster. It is thought that synthetic materials currently found in homes contributed to this change. The study concluded that because fires could be more aggressive, the time needed to escape home fires has been reduced from approximately 17 minutes to as little as three minutes.

This gives less time for occupants to escape a fire and is shorter than the seven minute response time target for fire services. This disparity can mean the difference between life and death.

With this in mind, this is just a gentle reminder that it’s everyone’s responsibility for fire safety. Your line of defence is as follows:

  • The prevention of fires in the first place;
  • the detection of smoke and fire with working smoke alarms as a second line of defence; and
  • Evacuation to safety by having a well-rehearsed fire escape plan as the third and most important action are all important notes .
  • For more information on fire prevention tips for you and your family, please visit www.fiprecan.ca

Need help organizing a plan in your home, contact Mind over Clutter to help with streamling your processes and developing home routines.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

How do you store your batteries?

Here is a great video on how to store batteries safely to prevent a fire in your home.

Batteries can be recycled in many locations.  Share in the comments where you recycle your batteries. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area