Monday, April 11, 2011

Organization Update-To Do Lists

I have officially completed the 30 Day Challenge by Chalene Johnson.  This is a tool I would definitely recommend if you would like to become more productive and organized.  It is especially useful if you have a "big" goal and don't know exactly how to get there.  She gives a number of tools to use that I have begun to use or refine.

Written List of Goals 
 Like many of you, I had a general idea of goals for my personal life, but I was not writing them down in a consistent manner.  Chalene suggests listing your goal and wriitng a new list every week, without referring to your old list.  This way you can tell which of them are consistent week to week.  Often you may have one "Push Goal" that, if successful, will help you accomplish your other goals.  Or your "Push Goal" may just be your most important one.  My "Push Goal" for the next 12 months, is to successfully homeschool Katte.  We will officially start in August, but I have a lot to do between now and then to get ready.

Brainstorm Tasks to Accomplish your Goals
  Tasks that I need to do in order to accomplish my goal will often go across my mind. For my homeschooling goal, one task is to register for a official accountability group, which is something mandated by state law.  this is not something I can do immediately, however, because I still need to do some investigation.  Chalene suggested that you brainstorm and make a written list of all the tasks you can think of that you will need to do to accomplish your goal.  Writing these down, frees your brain from constantly sifting through these items.  Anytime I think of another task, I review my brainstorm list and add the task to the list, if not already there.

To Do Lists
 I was already a list maker, but the 30 Day challenge has helped me further improve this productivity skill.  Chalene encourages you to include one or more tasks a day on your to do list from the tasks that need to be done to accomplish your big goal.  Referring to your written goals when making your To Do lists, encourages you to really think about what your are doing and reflect whether each particular activity is in harmony with your goals or not.  She had quite a few techniques for color coding yours tasks, and using your phone or computer to streamline your to do lists.  I have a blackberry which is tied in to both my work and home e-mails and my Outlook calendar.  I have started logging my tasks in the Outlook "tasks" section, which is also on my blackberry.  That way it goes with me.  That is much better than multiple pieces of scrap paper and has streamlined this quite a bit.

If becoming more organized is of interest to you, I definitely recommend the 30 Day Challenge.  You can find at it at the link here.     Chalene will send you a daily e-mail with a short video.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Organization how to: Differences with Your Spouse

Now you may have figured out how to organize your mail, but perhaps your husband or wife is not fully on board.  How can you deal with this situation?  First, talk about this together.  Perhaps he will be willing to be more organized, but does not know how or maybe he would be happy for you to be responsible for one aspect.

Second, develop specific areas with container for your different stuff.  Have a box for mail for each person in the family.  Set aside a basket by your spouse's favorite chair and put his reading materials there.  If possible set aside separate desks for each person, or at least separate drawers.  Then each of you can be as organized as you like within your own space.

We currently have a number of small pieces of paper on this desk by our phone.  I had Doug go through to throw away what was not needed.  Then we logged the needed phone numbers, e-mails and other information in a notebook by the phone.  Instant organization!

This may take a while, but try to work on one small area or project at a time.

To help ensure marital harmony, don't throw anything away of your spouse's without asking permission first!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Organization How To: Managing Mail

Yesterday a friend of mine told me that she spent much of her day just organizing the mail that had accumulated during the week. She felt frustrated because it was covering their dining room table and she spent much of a Saturday figuring out what to do with it all. I told her I would be glad to help her set up some ways to manage it, and I thought it might be good to list those ideas here as well.

OPEN YOUR MAIL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE It is amazing how mail will seem to grow if not taken care of immediately. I get the mail from our box as soon as I get home from work. within the first five minutes of being home I generally open all mail. If the mail sits there for very long, then other things get piled on top of it or you may get distracted with other things.

THROW JUNK MAIL AWAY IMMEDIATELY The City of Aiken has a curbside recycling program, so I put all junk mail and envelopes into the recycle bin immediately. The advertising circulars, unwanted catalogs, and other items, should not not even be opened if possible. Throw it away immediately in a recyle bin or the trash can. We also have a shredder, so I shred unwanted credit card junk mail before tossing it.

CATEGORIZE YOUR MAIL AND PLACE IN THAT AREA Other than junk mail, we receive bills, magazines, financial statements, catalogs, and the occasional, but welcome, personal card or letter. In most cases you won't be able to pay bills or read magazines immediately, so these will tend to stay in the same location that you open them, such as my friend's dining room table. Instead, you need to designate a separate place for each type of mail that you receive and immediately put it in that place until you have time to deal with it. I pay most bills online, so I have a file folder beside my desk where I place the bills until I am ready to pay them. I have a place in our den where I put the magazines I read and another place for my husband's magazines. Most catalogs go into the recycle bin, but I have a basket where I store the few I save. We also have a file folder for the financial statements and a basket for each person's personal mail.

It probably takes five minutes per day to do this and now our mail stacks are under control. But you say, I am overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. First determine your main categories of mail. Then figure out where to keep them and what sort of container for each type to use. Then start sorting. The first day or two it will take you longer, but soon it should be easy. If your spouse is not as organized, just volunteer for the mail job yourself and give him or her their own basket. That way, their stack should be minimal.

Happy organizing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Topics on this Blog

There are a number of interests that I have and I will write about. These include Simplicity/minimalism, Organization, Personal Finances, Conservation and Healthy Eating. There are numerous blogs that discuss these issues, but not many of them have a distinctively Christian worldview. As I discuss these areas, I will strive to make sure that these are discussed in light of the Gospel.

For example, often people discuss conservation as if Earth is god and that "saving the planet" is the highest good. As Christian's we are to be about God's mission of evangelizing and "saving people". As part of God's creation mandate to us we are to be good stewards of the world and its physical resources, but not at the expense of people.

Monday, March 7, 2011

30 day Challenge Push Goal

This is precious picture of Katte with "Baby" when she was about 3 1/2. rhw don't stay little for long!

I have had a goal to write on this blog on a regular basis for probably a year and a half. And I have not been successful so far in keeping it:-(

Hopefully this is a new leaf I have turning over! My friend Mila introduced me to a web site the 30 Day Challenge by Chalene Johnson. Here is link to her web site. This is a method to get you motivated and in the habit of accomplishing whatever goal or goals that you set for your life. I am on day five and so far it is good. she has you first start by listing your priorities for your life. then the next day you are to list ten specific goals that you have. I will have to re-set this list once a week for four weeks without looking at the previous list. The theory is that your REAL goals will show over time. Then you are to set a "Push Goal", which is the one that will enable many of the others to be accomplished if you achieve this one.

My "Push Goal" is to write on this blog at least 3 days per week. Some of my other goals include to use my God-given skills for His glory, to help other people, and to grow and maintain relationships with others. I think accomplishing the blogging will help with all of these.
It should also be a good journal of my relationship with God and others.

I have notes for quite a few posts, so stay tuned!