In February, Mark Patinkin from the Providence Journal called me to organize his office. He featured me in his column along with a picture of his disorganized desk. Most people who saw the picture couldn’t believe what their eyes were seeing.  When I see a disorganized desk, I don’t think how bad it is, I think, how I can make this person more efficient and productive and set up working organized systems that will keep them organized.

I run into people all the time that say they want to hire me, but are embarrassed for me to see their space. If you are embarrassed to have me come in, I wonder how you feel when potential clients,
co-workers, or managers see your office. Please understand that I see disorganization every day and do not judge. 

Every disorganized office that I go into, I find the same patterns. Read on to see if you can relate. This is what I find in disorganized offices:

*No organized systems in place.
*Attempts at organization that have failed.
*Piles of paper that usually get thrown out after we go through them.
*Organizing supplies i.e., filing trays, vertical trays not being utilized in an efficient manner.
*Files in drawers that aren’t hanging, they are just thrown in the drawer.
*Expired medication.
*Expired food.
*Money. Checks and cash.
*Tons of writing utensils. Most of them don’t work.
*Empty file drawers.
*Cluttered file drawers.
*No drawer organizers being utilized.
*Office supplies stored in all different areas.
*Duplicate files stored in all different areas in the office.
*Files and binders that have not been gone through in years. Most get thrown out.
*Too much work material on the desk.
*Too many chatzkies on the desk.
*Bulletin boards full of cluttered memos.
*Papers taped to the wall.
*Bookshelves full of books or binders that are no longer being utilized.
*Credit card receipts and bank receipts in all different places in the office.
*Take out menus in all different drawers.
*Binders not labeled.
*Space not being maximized.
*Time management skills need some tweaking.
*Dirty, dusty desks.
*No systems for business cards.

Can you relate? If so, you are in need of  organization. You will be more efficient, more productive, less stressed, have more energy and people will have more confidence in you. Once you get organized your time management skills will improve because you are able to see clearer once the clutter has been removed. When you are finished organizing your office, you will be motivated, energized, and ready to tackle another project. It will feel like you have been cleansed and have a brand new office. You will be excited to go into work the next day. Yes, really!

Organize! Energize!

This is the last blog in the 4 week series of planning and prepping to lose weight.

First week: Planning and preping your meals.
Second week: Scheduling workouts ahead of time.
Third week: The power of purging your closets.
Today we will discuss keeping an organized exericse bag on hand at all times. Never say you can't workout again because you forgot your bag.

Here are 6 tips:

1.    Find a great bag that will hold everything that you are going to store in it.
2.    Make a list of everything you utilize for the gym; Sneakers, deodorant, shampoo, towels, water, combination lock, makeup bag, hair brushes/accessories, magazine, music, change of clothes, etc.
3.    Purchase trial size items to store in your bag so you don't have to take them in and out of your bag everytime. The trials size items will always stay in your bag.
4.    Round up all of the above and purchase small accessory bags to contain your makeup and items for your hair. Each category should have its own bag within the gym bag.
5.    Either keep this bag in your trunk at all times or keep the bag in an area in your home where you can just grab and go. Leave a bag at work too if you would like.
6.    Keeping the bag in your trunk will allow you to be ready at a moment's notice. If you decide it's a nice day and you want to take a walk after work or you decide you want to take an exercise class after work. You will never have an excuse not to exercise. You can never say you left your clothes at home.

You'll never rush and be late to a class again because you are racing around trying to gather everything. You'll never get to the gym and say you forgot your music, elastic for your hair, or towel.

This is just one more piece of the puzzle in your weight loss journey. When you apply everything that was disucssed in the past few blogs, you will reach your weight loss goals in no time by having organized systems in place. Following all this information will make the process so much easier for you.

If you would like to hear more about this entire process, please join me Saturday, March 23
from 1-2pm at Weight Watchers in Warwick, RI (Trader Joe's Plaza). See more information in the Events section here on the website.

Organize! Energize!

The past couple of weeks, I have  discussed ways that being organized will help with weight loss. How can purging your closet of certain items help with the weight loss process? Read on...

This spring when you change over your closets, think about the big, baggy clothes you are hanging onto. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why am I hanging onto clothes that are too big?
2. Do I really want to fit in them again?
3. How did I feel when I wore them?
4. Do I want to be that weight again?
5. When was the last time I wore these clothes?

These clothes are holding you back from reaching your weight loss goals. They are a reminder of what you used to be. Get rid of them, cleanse yourself and start fresh this season! Too many of you are hanging on to clothes that are too big and taking up room in your closet that could be used to house new clothes for the new you!

Organize! Energize!

Last Sunday on my Facebook page, I discussed how you can plan and prepare meals for the week ahead and lose weight in the process. Pictures and captions are shown below. Today I will be discussing how you can prepare and schedule your workouts ahead of time. By following these steps, or tweaking them to work for you, you will save money, have more free time AND lose weight. 

I will be discussing this also during my presentation at Weight Watchers on March 23. (More info in the events tab.)

So, it's the beginning of March. How many of you schedule exercise into your calendar? If not, why not? Take out your calendar and let's go! Figure out what nights or days you are free, what type of exercise you will be doing (yes, walking counts) and for what length of time.

Mark down your exercise on the calendar just as you would an appointment. Do this for the entire month. Even if it's for 10-20 minutes, jot it down. Now, we all have those weeks when we just don't feel like exercising or another appointment takes precedence. The great thing about planning ahead is if you can't exercise on Wednesdsay, you know you have another appointment to exercise on Friday. 

Planning ahead and scheduling exercise is going to help you in your weight loss journey. I am challenging everybody to schedule their workouts for the entire month. You won't have to think about when you are working out, and you won't have to worry about it for the rest of the  month, it's already scheduled, saving you time and losing weight!

Don't forget about planning and prepping  your meals for the week ahead. Now you can schedule your workouts for the month also. Up next week: How purging your closet can help in the weight loss process.

Do you utilize file trays in your office or at home? Is it helping with your organization and productivity? Are you utilizing it correctly or does it just sit there and collect piles of papers?

Every disorganized office that I have worked with has one of these trays on their desk. There is a pile of unorganized random papers in the tray. What is the point of using a tray? The piles will sit just as well on the desk. Maybe it's a mental thing. People think that if the pile of paper is in the tray, it just looks more presentable because it's in a tray. Wrong! Take the paper out of the tray and get rid of the tray. It can be used in a more productive and efficient way.

Tackle the paper in the tray. I bet you don't even know what half of the stuff pertains to in the tray. You may have been looking for something and forgot it was in the tray. You might have a really important paper in the tray that you were supposed to tackle. Maybe it was following up with an important client or maybe you missed an important meeting that would have generated business for you. Maybe it was a project you were going to start working on, but never got around to it. Are you the type that feels that you don't know where to put the paper when you receive it, so you just continue to ad to the pile because it's there?

So, how do you tackle this pile? First step: Take the pile out of the tray. Second step: Take the tray off your desk and don't put it back unless you have a new system and a new way to use the tray. Third: Start with the top paper, and figure out what it is and start making category piles. You may find you are shredding or throwing out most of it. So if you are throwing it out now, did you really need it back when you put it in the pile? When you are done categorizing, now you can set up your filing systems based on what you have in front of you. 

So how do you utilize these trays? Only store them on your desk if you use the items in them everyday. If not, get the tray off your desk.
1.    Utilize to hold labeled manilla folders that you grab everyday. Write on the label so it's facing you in the tray.
2.    Utilize to hold important binders or important notebooks that you grab everyday.

Think about if this tray is really the right tray for what you are storing. There are so many great office organizing products out there. Choose the one that is best going to fit what you need to hold and is going to be the most efficient and productive product for you.

Don't use them for a drop spot for papers that you have no idea what to do with. It will become a breeding ground for paper and will create more work for you months down the road when you need to dig through it.

If you are hiring me to help you with your office organization, please do not try to hide the tray under the desk. I promise you, I will be looking for it!

Organize! Energize!

Do you have a home with limited storage, cabinet, and closet space? Are you utilizing that space the best way you can? Some people think they need to add an addition onto their home or feel that they should move to a bigger home. Wait, slow down, re-evaluate your space and re-organize.

Here are 7 tips to get creative with your space.
1. If you have been following my blogs, you know the first thing I am going to say. Yes, take everything out of the space you want to organize. You can't get a clear vision of the space if there is clutter in the way.
2. Organizing is like a puzzle. If you have a challenging space, you have to utilize every inch of space, and use it well.
3. Look at empty wall space, under cabinets, under the bed, basement, tops of closets, etc as a way to store items. You really have to get creative. We have a very tiny kitchen and I don't like to clutter counter tops. I didn't want to store my microwave on the counter. We had empty wall space and behind it was a closet. I had my husband cut out a square in the wall and now the microwave sits nicely in that area. I'm not saying you have to cut through walls, but you really have to have a vision outside of the box.
4. Contain items and keep like items together. When items are contained, it allows for better use of space.
5. Do you really need everything that is stored in the area you are organizing? Can you shift items to another area in the home?
6. Bring in a professional organizer to help with the process. Bringing in an organizer who is not in your home everyday will have a different vision than what you look at every day.
7. There are so many great and unique organizing products out there today. Figure out what type of containers you need before you head to the store. Choose the one that will best allow you to maximize the space you have.

People who have small spaces tend to envy people with large spaces. I find that people who have lots of space are not utilizing it correctly. People feel because the space is there they have to fill it. Areas get utilized as drop zones and items get thrown into cabinets with no organization. Organize your large spaces and you will have even more space than you think you have.

You will save money by not having to add that addition on to your home just because you ran out of room to store your belongings.

Organize! Energize!

Well, tax season is upon us. Some may cringe knowing they have to get everything together. It's time to search the home or office for important documents, receipts, etc.  How many of you have been charged an extra fee by your accountant for being disorganized or not being prepared for your appointment?

If you are having a difficult time gathering all your information, make a plan for next year starting now. We are two months in 2013, start getting organized now for next tax season.

Here are 5 tips to follow:
1.    Most important step. Create a folder or small organizing container (depending on how much tax information you have) for the tax year 2013. Keep it in your filing cabinet or wherever you store your important documents that you refer to throughout the year. If you have tons of documents and use a bin, do not throw the documents into the bin, it will defeat the purposing of maintaining organizaiton. Keep sorted by category in the bin.
2.    File monthly receipts in a pouch or file. When your credit card statement arrives, match up the receipts and file with your credit card statements. Do you have electronic statements? Keep monthly receipts stored in labeled envelopes.
3.    Donations. Keep track of donations throughout the year, whether it be keeping the proof of donation in a file or store them in your 2013 tax folder if you don't need to refer to them again.
4.    Important documents. If you don't need to refer to them throughout the year, keep any important documents for tax purposes filed in your 2013 folder.
5.    Banking information. Keep any banking information organized. Keep your statements and receipts together.

Basically, in a nutshell, as you receive documents throughout the year, keep them organized, labeled, and filed. This is going to keep you organized throughout the year.

As the end of 2013 draws near, refer to your 2013 tax folder. Go through and gather all the information in the folder. Relax and know that everything for the year is in one place. You won't get stressed because you know all the information is in one area, organized and contained.

Following these steps and maintaining organization throughout the year is going to save you time, money, and reduce your stress.

Organize! Energize!

For  many of us, staying on top of our email can be an overwhelming experience.  Tackle this once and for all and start fresh this week. If you have too many emails that are just sitting there, it's time to clean house. Plan to spend some time, depending on how many emails you have, and declutter your mail box. Do it now, and set up a plan and procedure going forward to manage your emails.

Here are 6 tips to help you manage your emails.

1.   Set up folders for the contacts who email you most frequently. Set up subject folders to store important information relating to a certain topic. When you have worked on the email, immediately send to that folder. If you have trips planned in the future, store all that information in a folder. Know that you can grab that information when your trip gets closer. Follow this also for other events that are planned in the near future. Get them out of your inbox.
2.   Delete any junk mail. Touch it once and delete. Going forward, if it isn't useful to you, delete immediately.
3.    Unsubscribe to emails that you consistenly receive that you no longer want to clog up your mailbox and are of no use to you.
4.    If it's an email that needs to be handled right away but you can't handle it at that time, print it out and attach to your to-do list. People will say it's a waste of paper, but how many times did you forget to handle an important email because it was still sitting on your desktop? If it's important and you don't want to forget it, print it out.
5.   Utilize the flagging options. Color code for urgency and follow-up purposes.
How often you check your emails is your preference. Everybody has different schedules. Whatever you decide, make it efficient and productive for you.

Think about how you function with your emails now. Is it working for you? If not, it's time to develop a new system and make the system work for you. Many of you may already use the steps above, but you may feel you need some tweaking. Hopefully, this blog will help motivate you to tackle your emails and start fresh with a new system.

Organize! Energize!

How long does it take for you to find a brush or makeup? Is your blush mixed in with your eyeshadows? Are your lipsticks mixed in with your facial cleanser? Do you waste time searching for items? Maybe it's time to organize your makeup.

Follow these 5 simple steps to get organized.

1. If you have been following my blogs, you know the first step is to always take EVERYTHING out of the area you are organizing. Get all your makeup, brushes and cleansers and  bring them over to a table.
2. Start itemizing and categorizing. Put all your brushes together. Itemize your blushes, eyeshadows, lipsticks, and cleansers. Keep eveything in categories on the table.
3. Throw out any old makeup or brushes .
4. Look at what you have and now purchase containers to match what you have. Measure your drawers and try to maximize and make the most of your space. The biggest mistake people make is purchasing containers before they actually know what they have. Now that you can see everything you own, make a list of containers you would like to purchase that will best fit your products.
5. Once you have purchased your containers and have put the makeup and brushes in them, sit back and know you will be able to find everything quickly and won't waste time searching for items.

Re-visit and re-organize your make-up every 6 months. A great reminder would be to do it when the seasons change.

Organize! Energize!

It is winter in Rhode Island and many people are escaping to warmer climates.  Time to take out the summer clothes and start packing. Packing can be stress free for you and
your family if you prepare and plan ahead. Start planning about 2 weeks before you go on your trip.

Here are 8 tips to help with the process.

1. Start a couple of weeks before by making a list and categorizing the list. Make a list for each family member. Have categories like toiletries, bathing suits, underwear, clothes, socks, shoes, outfits, hair and makeup products, accessories, etc. Keep passports, tickets, and any information
about the trip with your list in one designated spot in your home. 
2. Next to each category write in what you need to pack, for  instance, under toiletries write everything you need to pack from your toothbrush to hand wipes. Next category may be bathing suits, jot down how many bathing suits you need to bring and which ones, and then continue with the list. Plan ALL of your outfits. List everything, because that item that you think you will remember and don't write down is the item you are going to forget to pack.

3. Make a separate list of all the toiletries, magazines, etc.  you need to buy and purchase them a week ahead.

4. Once the packing list is complete, keep the list handy so you can jot down any items you may have forgotten.

5. A few days before, not the night before, refer to your list and pull everything from your list, except the items you use on a daily basis. 

6. Keep toiletries, magazines, phone chargers, and anything important in your carry-on bag. As I get samples of products throughout the year I keep them in a spot in my closet. When it is time for a trip, I grab the samples and bring them along with my trial size products. They take up less room and usually use them entirely while on the trip. You will have more room on the way home for other things you may have purchased when you were on your trip.

7. A couple of nights before fold everything so it is as small as possible. Utilize space between your shoes, roll small items and put into your shoes or in the spaces between your shoes. Utilize EVERY inch of the suitcase. 
 8. The night before be sure everything is packed except what you need that morning to get ready. After using those items, store them into your carry-on. Put all information you need for your trip with your luggage.

File your packing list and use it as a guide for future trips. Follow these tips or tweak them to make them work for you.  The morning of the trip you won't be rushing around trying to find things you forgot to pack. You can relax that morning knowing you are all prepared for you trip! 


Organize! Energize!