Hellen Buttigieg

Article Summary:

Organize your life with these ten simple tips including laundry, your thoughts, and even relaxation.

Organize Your Life: Tips from a Professional Organizer

Powerful Inspirations
Poems, photos and posters can't inspire you when they're collecting dust in the basement or buried under to-do lists on your bulletin board. If you are keeping items because you are moved by them, then put them where you can see them. Rather than overwhelming a space with too much artwork or other inspirational items, consider rotating items on a regular basis.

Why Buy When You Can Rent or Borrow?
The next time you need something, rather than automatically driving to the store to purchase it, take a moment to consider a less-expensive, clutter-free alternative. Try a rental store, a library, or ask friends/family to borrow the item. That way, you don't have to store it forever. Acquiring and clinging is a habit that can be broken.

Plan Your Days Around Your Values
Write down your top ten values and rank them by number. If you need help getting started, a quick on-line search will pull up lists of values. From your values, determine your mission or purpose. Mission statements answer the question `why?' and usually start with the word `to'. For example, one of my values is health, so a mission statement that would stem from that is `To eat more healthily'. Once a mission statement is crafted, the goal becomes clear. The goal answers the question `what?' and usually begins with a verb. In my case, it would be `Plan meals in advance and schedule time for shopping and cooking'. Put your goals in writing and share them with others. When your goals are driven by your values, you are more likely to achieve them and create the life you truly want.

Let Go of Brain Clutter
If you are having difficulty focusing, it could be that other things are competing for space in your brain. Brains are like computers; if the memory is too full, they work a lot slower. A good way to free up RAM in our brain is to download on a piece of paper all of the things our mind is trying to hold on to. A 'to-do' or 'don't forget' list allows us to let go of the thoughts that are competing for our attention and concentrate on the task at hand.

Make Your Day More Productive
If there's a project you've been procrastinating about and have fallen behind with, consider devoting just 10 minutes to it first thing every morning, before something else distracts you. This will allow you to concentrate better and make you more productive throughout the day because it will relieve those feelings of guilt that tend to preoccupy our minds when we are putting something off.

Set Mini-Goals for Success
When setting organizing goals, be sure to make them attainable. Break up the task into baby steps to increase your success. For example, rather than set out to organize the entire bedroom in one sitting, make it your goal to organize one dresser or even just one drawer at a time. If a goal can be reached easily, the sense of gratification you feel will keep you motivated to continue. Celebrate with a mini-reward after each mini-goal is reached and enjoy a big reward once the entire job is complete.

Why waste time filling out forms?
Every time kids go on a field trip, their parents are asked to fill out a permission slip and emergency medical form for each child. Doctors, dentist, and emergency contact addresses and phone numbers have to be looked up and transferred onto the forms, which can be time-consuming. Save time by doing it once and photocopying several to have on hand when you need them.

Is your family over-scheduled?
If you feel you're spending too much time driving your children all over the city for their extracurricular activities, consider limiting each child to only one after-school activity at a time. If you choose to have them involved in more activities, consider car-pooling or hiring a university student or retiree to do the dropping off and picking up. Another option is to encourage activities where the teacher will come to your home i.e. piano or guitar lessons.

Streamline laundry chores.
Are you forever behind in doing the laundry? Teach your pre-teen or teenager how to do their own laundry. Post directions in the laundry room that they can refer to if you aren't home. It's a life skill they'll need when they graduate and move out anyway. If your kids aren't old enough to do their own laundry yet, purchase clothing that they can get more than one wearing out of before laundering. Unless they've been playing in the sandbox, chances are the dark pants they wore today are clean enough to wear again tomorrow. Set an example and save time and energy as well: don't automatically put clothes in the wash unless they are dirty.

Time spent relaxing is not time wasted.
Make the time and give yourself permission to enjoy several agenda-free days. Leave your e-mail and cell phone behind and delight in some simple pleasures without interruption. This is especially crucial if you are self-employed and your boss is a tyrant! We can't get very far in life on an empty fuel tank; we have to get off the busy highway once in awhile to refill it.

Hellen Buttigieg, CPOŽ, is an award-winning Certified Professional OrganizerŽ, life coach, Gemini - Nominated TV Host and President of We Organize U. For free tips on organizing your home, your office and your life, visit www.WeOrganizeU.com and sign up for her newsletter, emailed to you monthly. To contact Hellen or for information on hiring a We Organize U organizing specialist, call 905-829-2219 or e-mail info@WeOrganizeU.com.

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