Don’t Be a Slob: Organization, Part 1

(As previously see on the HelaWrite blog.)

It’s the last quarter of the year, and most of us can’t even remember the great resolutions we made at the beginning of the year. Though you may know how I feel about resolutions (I prefer setting goals instead), being in a mind-frame of wanting to change habits is a good thing. Why? Because this post is about changing the habit of being messy (or a clutter-bug). 

Spring isn’t the only time to clean out your attic (etc.), so don’t put off a good thing until later. NOW is the time to make a change, specifically with your office.

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Let’s get physical. And by physical, I mean: Let’s explore some ways to physically de-clutter your work life, step-by-step.

     1. Make a list of essentials.

  • What/how many office supplies do you need? Do you need 15 Sharpies, or 5?
  • Do you need a new chair or desk? Is it time to say goodbye to furniture on the cusp of death?
  • Do you need a smaller/larger bookshelf? Do you even need one at all?

     2. Make the switch to digital filing.

  • Trust me: you do NOT need a ginormous, physical file in this day and age. Scanners and even cameras on our smartphones have made life so much easier. Scan and upload important documents, then shred the physical copy. Make sure you have 2-3 backups!
  • Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive are some great places to use for digital storage.

3. Speaking of digital filing: Purge old files.

  • I try to purge my files at least 2-3 times per year. It makes a huge difference, since I only keep a small file container.
  • You should keep your tax returns and old pay stubs for at least 3-7 years, depending on how you filed. (I personally keep all my records for 7 years, just in case.) After that, shred them.
  • Archive prior years’ files (that are still important) by either making them digital OR physically file them in a secondary storage container. I keep both my current and archived storage containers up-to-date.
  • Shred junk. You know what I’m talking about: Those old papers you thought were super important (like those notes from college Statistics that you swore you’d need 10 years later) and recycle them, or shred them if they contain sensitive and private information.
  • Shred old bank/account statements and credit/insurance/school/etc. cards. Statements from years prior can now be downloaded in seconds from most financial institutions, so stop hoarding them!

      4. Make your space presentable.

  • Sure, some of us thrive in chaos and we like a little “creative clutter.” But what about all those times you couldn’t find your favorite container of glitter paper clips? Or that time you spilled your third cup of coffee all over your client’s contract? Find what works for you, but don’t be a slob and keep things tidy.
  • Make your space your own. Make it a functioning, feng shui space in which you actually like to work. Chances are, you’ll increase your productivity.

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     5. Donate anything useable that you don’t need.

  • I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

     6. Update your resources.

  • Do you have important reference books that are out of date? Donate/sell your old ones and buy the latest edition as needed.
  • Make sure your reference charts are up-to-date as well. An example that comes to mind is a chart/poster that serves as a quick reference for formatting (i.e. MLA, Chicago/Turabian, APA, etc.).

Tomorrow, we’ll look at digital organizing–FUN! Be sure to come back for that topic.

Are there other organizing/purging tips you have that I didn’t cover in this post? Feel free to leave a comment!

Don’t Make a Resolution; Set Some Goals

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

I’m not a big fan of making resolutions, but I am a big fan of setting goals. And a new year is the perfect time to do so. Resolutions are typically outcome based, whereas goals can help us change behavior and habits in order to reach them. Thus, goals can help to create better behavior. (Plus, barely anyone keeps a resolution anyway.)

First World Probs Resolutions 

There are, of course, many ways to set goals, but keeping it simple is a good idea. In my attempt to keep things simple while also trying to be clever, I’ve come up with an easy way to set healthy and achievable goals—both for individuals and businesses: The HELA Way. (I hope that at least elicited a chuckle.)

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Here’s how I break down The HELA Way:

 

  • Health
  • Education
  • Love
  • Actualization (Spirit & Self)

 

It’s been a habit of mine, every new year, to set 4-5 achievable goals, by using wisdom literature as my guide. The categories in which I develop goals are universal: physical, knowledge, relationships, and spiritual/self-growth. Keeping to this particular pattern has helped me to reach my goals just about every year. Plus, I am constantly reassessing and measuring my progress.

 

Here’s an explanation of what The HELA Way means, and how you can apply it in your own life:

 

H is for HEALTH. If you don’t have your health, you can have everything else in the world and still be miserable. Health truly is everything. What goal can you set for your health in 2014? What do you currently do for your physical well-being that can simply be improved upon?

 

For example, if you work out twice a week, see if you can add one more day to your regimen. One more day a week adds up to 52 more days of working out during the year. Or perhaps you don’t work out but know you need to move your body more. What would it look like for you to start walking for 10 minutes a day, 2 times a week?

 

Physical well-being is crucial to being creative and productive, but you don’t need to be a body builder to achieve good health. Again, keep it simple and build upon new habits.

 

E is for EDUCATION. Improving our minds should always be a priority, and there are many ways to do so. Do you read every day? I’m not talking about emails, either. I’m talking about reading a short article that is relevant to your field. Whether you’re a writer, marketing director, or construction contractor, you should be reading something each day—or at least each week—that will teach you something new about your field. It doesn’t have to be someone’s dissertation; it can be something short and sweet like a blog post. 🙂

 

L is for LOVE. “All you need is love”—and a host of other things. Ha. But seriously, having love in our lives is a grand and necessary thing. Having love in our lives is mostly provided through building good relationships with others. In 2014, choose at least ONE relationship that is important to you, and assess some areas, which you can work on to improve it. Remember: it’s not about you, but about how you can give to others—even if you sometimes may not receive anything in return.

 

Click HERE and HERE to read articles on the importance of love in our lives.

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A is for ACTUALIZATION—spirit and self. I personally believe that we should all have something outside of ourselves in order to find harmony in our lives. For me, it’s my spiritual beliefs that keep me grounded. For you, it may be something else. But we cannot look to ourselves for all the answers. It just doesn’t work. What kind of spiritual goal can you set for this year?

 

Self-actualization is the other part of the acronym, and by this term, I simply mean self-improvement. I do not personally believe that we will ever “arrive” in this life, which is why it is incredibly important to do self-checks—and often. What is one goal you can set for yourself this year; one goal that will help shape you into a better person?

 

The goal can be something as simple as getting into the habit of rejecting negative thoughts—a goal that is actually harder than it sounds, but is worth doing. Think of something simple but effective. Something that you’ll be proud of at the end of the year.

 

Other Goals to Consider

 

Many of my clients are writers, and I encourage them to set writing goals. Perhaps it’s a daily word goal, or finishing a novel they’ve been working on for the past two years.

 

For business owners, The HELA Way goal-setting guide can also be useful. LOVE can have to do with customer/client engagement goals. EDUCATION can be for owners and their employees—improving everyone’s knowledge about a service or product, etc. You get the idea.

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Goals are not just “things” to be set up in January and then revisited December 31st. Setting daily, monthly, and quarterly goals is ALWAYS a good thing! Happy goal setting and Happy New Year!

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