Archive for Get Organized – Page 2

Do You Use An Alarm Clock In Your Business?

I have been playing around with using more and more alarm’s as reminders in several areas of my life – including my business.

The idea developed from a podcast from Gretchin Rubin, the author of  The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, where they talked about useing an alarm clock to go to bed, as well as to wake up in the morning. The overall goal was to improve your sleep patterns and overall happiness in life. I liked the idea and did start setting an alarm to go to bed at night – and guess what – I have been having the most amazing sleep of my life. It really worked for me. I’ll admit, I don’t always go to bed when the alarm goes off, but it reminds my every night, so I feel in control. I can go to bed or stay up a little longer, or even a lot longer.

The word control can be off-putting to some people, but the overall sensation is less chaos. I don’t suddenly realize it’s already midnight and I should have gone to bed hours ago. I tend to get lost in books and movies and loose track of time :). I’m making the decision about my actions, but my alarm reminds not to forget to make that conscious decision.

Okay so now that I’m sleeping better, I think there must be more I can do with this alarm system. But don’t go overboard, an alarm going off every 10 minutes all day every day will not make you productive or happy.

I have used the alarm system so I don’t spend too much time sitting behind my computer. When I sit down to write and concetrate on the task at hand I can write for 45 minutes tops and then the words become gibberish. I tend to stray way off topic, so I set my alarm for 30 minutes and whether I’m done or not, I stop and get up or at least switch tasks. I’m pretty sure back in school they used to teach us that 20 minutes was ideal study time and then you needed a break – guess they were right.

I also use an alarm to remind me to go back and finish the task I interuppted if I didn’t finish what I was working on. So if I’m working on a blog post and the alarm goes off signalling my 30 minutes is up and I’m not done, I set an alarm for 1-2 hours later to remind me to go back and finish what I started.

This can be accomplished using reminders, but I like the added benefit of the snooze button. I can use the snooze if I need a little bit more time, or if I don’t turn the alarm off, it goes into snooze mode and reminds me again. This has made all the difference in my keeping track off all the things I want to accomplish in a day.

take some time to discover old fashioned tag

I have been using alarms when I put in a load of laundry to remind me to go change loads. I set the alarm to remind me to give the dog his pills. I have found lots of wonderful ways to use alarms in my life and in my business, so I encourage you, if this ideal appeals to you at all, give it a try. Start small and if it feels comfortable and you feel that you are improving your efficiency add more. Don’t start off by using too many alarms, you will get overwhelmed and you not even remember why you set each alarm.

Let me know if you like this system and how it works for you in the comments below.

My Ideal Day Update

As you know I hate to-do lists, and much prefer An Ideal Day List.

binders labeled task and list

So I have been using this system for a few months now, and I still love it.  I am having a conflict about the fact that the app I’m using on my phone is called ToDoList – I may have to create my own app :).

But, I still work best with a reminder list of some kind.  I like to be able to look at a list to think about what all needs to get done and decide what I should work on next.

Some people don’t like the idea of having a less than ideal day so this tip doesn’t work for them, but if it appeals to you, I encourage you to give it a try.  And if you like the concept, tweak it to make it work for you.

I have put some priority markers for some items, such as simply placing a star next to an item on my list or sometimes I put it in my calendar to create a reminder for me.  It depends on the task and the importance of it being done.

Last week I was trying to get some work done here in my office and the priority items for that day were being thwarted by some technical problems that were beyond my control.  I had to be patient – some days I am better at this than others.

So, I turned to me list and found other tasks I was able to complete while I waited for the technological demons to depart.  It made me so happy to quickly see the other things I wanted to get done that day.  I accomplished several items and later I was able to make some progress on my initial priority project, but not as much as I had intended.

I didn’t get frustrated and quit, I readjusted and found I was very accomplished.  It felt like an ideal day, even though I didn’t actually knock everything off my list.

My point is that you need to find your small wins – celebrate those victories – and keep using what is working for you and ditch what isn’t working you and your business and your life.

If you feel like your business is out of control you may want to sign up for my free gift to you “5 Quick Fixes for Your Out of Control Business”

What Organized Really Means To Me

Too many people I talk to have this idea that to be organized you have to have everything put away in a pristine white space with labels on everything.  This is crap.

This is someone else’s vision.  You need to figure out what organized really looks like for you.  If you love color, this is a good place to start.  If you hate labels, don’t use them.

Use color if you like color.

I believe, and I teach, that being organized is being able to find what you are looking for, when you are looking for it.  If you can’t find the tools you use to run your business, then you won’t keep your customers happy for very long.  And your business is going to feel like such a drag, if you always feel behind.

Now don’t get me wrong some people thrive on stress, or at least believe they do.  If you do then you should organize your business to create productive stress, rather than let stress build up on you unexpectedly.

Personally, I like to have things labeled and so I have a label maker and use it all the time.  I like to have my business books close at hand, so I have a bookcase in my office for specifically for those selected titles.   I keep a spiral notebook next to my computer so that I can jot down ideas or any kind of notes easily.

What I really want for you is to make sure that you aren’t trying to reach someone else’s idea of being organized.  I worked with a woman several years ago that always had piles of paper all over her desk, but she could put her hands on almost anything you asked without hesitation.  Now when people looked at her desk they assumed she wasn’t organized, but I say she was – it just didn’t look “normal.”

So chaos can be okay if you can really find what you are looking for.  Just make sure you aren’t allowing a mess that isn’t productive for you.

There used to be a TV show on HGTV called “Mission: Organization” that had people come in and get people whose houses had become cluttered and get them organized.  Now they weren’t focusing on the home office, but they did sometimes do the office area.  I loved to see the before and after, but I really liked the 3 month follow up to see if they had kept up the clutter free lifestyle.  The people that did the best were the ones that continued to tweak the changes to suit their family, and they had lasting results.

So my best advice is to find what works for you and keep tweaking the areas that aren’t working for you.

I would love for you to share your experience in the comments below.