Posts Tagged ‘Purging’

I don’t think I have ever had the technique of  “getting rid of something old to make room for something new” work this quickly, ever.  And this time instead of it happening to a client, it happened to me – yeah! (more…)


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What’s that, you say, someone found a theme for 2011 in yoga class? You’ve got to be kidding me. Shouldn’t that happen at a party with a few glasses of champagne? (more…)

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At this time of year I always start to get into what I like to call ‘Clean Up and Get Organized for the New Year’ mode in my business.  Somehow, I always look forward to this process. For me it involves several steps which many of you may find it helpful to consider.

  1. Purging Paper & Electronic Information – like many of you I accumulate a lot of paper and electronic information throughout the year, some of which I never use. There’s no better feeling than going through all the paper files and shredding a bunch, going through my ‘My Documents’ folder and either archiving or deleting a bunch of files and finally going through all my email folders from this year and either archiving or deleting a bunch of that information.  Somehow this process always seems to shift the energy around a bit and make room for new and exciting projects each new year.
  2. Getting Ready for Canada Revenue – I have to say that all of us small business owners certainly do have to be well organized on the financial records side of our business in case our friends at CRA come calling.  I firmly believe that if I’m well organized and keep good records there is less likelihood that will happen but if it does I’ll be well prepared. I can pull any piece of   information they may require on a moment’s notice including invoices, expense receipts, HST returns, my calendar with all appointments,  monthly financial statements and the all important Automobile Mileage Log (to purchase yours go to http://www.janetheorganizer.com/productsforsale_automileagelog.html)  for the past 7 years.  The two things that they love to audit us home-based businesses for are ‘office-use-of-home’ expenses and ‘vehicle expenses’, so be sure to have those records in tip top shape and easily accessible.  In addition, HST audits are quite common so being able to produce your records in a timely fashion can make this process almost painless.
  3. Creating A New Budget – I always like to challenge myself to ‘stretch goals’ on the revenue side and then see how little I can get away with spending on the expense side while still growing the business.  This year I’m thinking about a few new budget items such as a Smartphone (yeah, yeah, I know I’m so behind on that one), a part-time Personal Assistant (too exciting), and maybe even my dream of a Training Video.  Having a monthly budget and reviewing it twice per month is one of the key success factors to any business, large or small.
  4. Annual Planning – in addition to creating a new budget, I schedule a yearly annual planning session for 1 or 2 days with my mastermind group(s) to brainstorm ideas for the next year or so.  This will involve both my personal and professional life and is a chance for some free thinking with no limitations.  A chance to review outstanding projects and think of new ones.  A chance to dream big and share those dreams with others.  And finally the time to put it all in writing, decide my priorities for the next year, and make a committment to others in my mastermind group to work on those priorities or, if I don’t, to have a good reason for changing them.

Whew, aren’t you exhausted just thinking about all this? Now we all have to go and book time in our calendar over the holiday season to get working on #1 to #3.  In my business #4 will be happening in two phases, one in January and the other in March.  However, you may decide to do something completely different like attend a workshop or hire someone to help you through the process.  Remember the adage, “Poor Prior Planning leads to P… Poor Performance”.

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I’ll let the reporter from Metro take this one.  Here’s a link to today’s article ‘Procrastination has its place in cleaning post-Christmas clutter’

Rosalie Maggio, author of The Art of Organizing Anything, says, “So don’t deal with it. Take Santa and the lights down, stuff things under the bed and make your house livable. Then forget about it until February.”

This approach could lead to overwhelm I would think. Imagine if you just kept procrastinating and shoving things where you couldn’t see them?  What would happen?  Would it work for you?  Or would you get to the point where every nook and cranny is full and then the clutter is so voluminous that you have no idea where to start? Or maybe you simply wouldn’t be able to find anything anymore – yikes!

Then again, on the positive side perhaps it will lead to more business for Professional Organizers?

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Every year between Christmas and the New Year I get the urge to go through everything in my home and my office and get rid of anything that I no longer use or that is no longer meaningful to me. 

During that process I begin to look ahead and decide what I want to focus on for the next year.  I don’t know about you but the purging is the easy part, figuring out how I want to spend my time and what I want to pursue is the hard part.

Last year it appears that I was a bit overly ambitous.  As I look at the neatly typed, multi-colored paper I created last January there appear to be 5 focus activities and 7 focus areas that are all supposed to relate back to my annual theme.

Whatever I do decide to focus on in 2010, I guarantee the lists will be much shorter.  I’m thinking 3 focus activities and 3 to 5 related focus areas and a shorter annual theme.

Getting my life for the next year down to those few things isn’t easy for me.  So many ideas, so little time.

I have booked a trip to Toronto to spend a couple of days with a few other Professional Organizers for our first annual retreat.  After a 1/2 day at the spa, we hope to actually spend the next day helping each other figure out what to focus on in 2010. Can’t wait!

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I’m starting to think about the projects I will be working on over the holiday season to get myself ready for the new year.  As I unwind (with a treatment at the spa on December 23rd), and enjoy the company of friends and family, my thoughts turn to plans for 2010.

Every year between Christmas and the New Year, I go through all the paper files in my office, throw away what I don’t need and remind myself of the information I do have that I had forgotten about.  I also take a look through each of the main folders in My Documents and in my e-mail folders again looking for files I can delete and those that need to be moved to the appropriate folder.

During the holiday season try taking the time to dig through all the drawers and cabinets in your office, clear you computer files, clean house,  and take control of your environment.  Have fun and you’ll be well prepared for 2010.

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This if the first of a three-part series on designing and organizing your home office.

Let’s talk about everyone’s worst nightmare – paper, paper, paper – where does it all come from and what to do with it?  For most of the busy professionals I work with this is the most challenging part of keeping their home organized.  Can you relate?

Piles of paper going up the stairs and down the stairs . . . information on vacation plans still piled high on the dining room table along with unopened mail, bills waiting to be paid . . . and then there are the magazines.  Let me count the ways that I love my decorating magazines!  How difficult it is when the pile gets so high that it starts to fall over and I have to purge.

Aaah yes, purge, that nasty word.  Call it as you will – edit, cull, delete – it all means the same thing – before you can design and set up a functional home office, you’re best to get rid of all the excess. 

Keep your long-term vision in mind as you slog through the piles of paper, the mounds of old discs and stacks of newsletters that you mean to read one day.

Where do I begin, you ask?  Well, that depends, I answer.  If you are looking for instant gratification to keep you motivated, the best place to begin is with the visible surfaces. If you are not as worried about keeping motivated, you may decide to start with your filing cabinet if it is stuffed to the brim and can’t possibly hold another piece of paper.

Take one box, file or pile at a time and start with each piece of paper or item and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How old is this – is it recent enough to be useful?
  2. Does this require action?
  3. Can I really identify a specific use for it?
  4. Is it difficult to obtain this again if ‘someday I might need it’
  5. When was the last time I used this?
  6. Are there tax or legal reasons why I must keep this?
  7. If you still feel that knot in your stomach – ask yourself: What is the worst possible thing that will happen if I toss this?

 As you set aside your daily organizing time also be aware that you will need 10 or 15 minutes every day to deal with incoming.  Follow a system by separating items into ‘Action’ or ‘File’ or send them straight to the file known as the recycling bin!

 As you open mail, discard the envelope immediately and place the item either in an action folder or file away in your new filing system.  Designate a place for unread magazines and newsletters such as an attractive basket or magazine box. 

 I wish you good luck and much purging and look forward to the next phase, which is designing and setting up your home office space.

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