Reduce your stress the easy way

Do you feel like you’ve got a million things swirling through your brain? Do you need a few more hours in the day to get it all done? Ever wished for a personal assistant…or 5? If you have the budget to hire assistants you can stop reading now because this just won’t apply to you. Everyone else, here’s how you can be your own personal assistant or, if you want to be fancy, aide de camp.Continue reading

5 things you can do in 5 minutes to get organized

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Welcome to a new series here on the Neatsmart blog: 5 things you can do in 5 minutes to get organized. If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years of helping people to get organized, getting started is the hardest part. It feels like a Herculean and Sisyphean task times two to tackle that closet or extra bedroom that somehow got filled up with stuff throughout the years. However, if you can wrestle with one mini, micro, super small project and get it done, the ripple effect will help you in getting the big projects done further down the line.

So Mondays are going to be devoted to 5 organization tasks you can get done in 5 minutes. I’m not saying you can get all of them done in 5 minutes but each one should take less than 5 minutes. Just don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for a job well done. 🙂

So here is your list for this week. Go, get organized!

  1. Empty the dishwasher. If you don’t have one, put away the clean dishes and clean out the sink.
  2. Clean out your car while you are pumping gas. Throw away the trash and shake out the floor mats. Bonus points for cleaning the windshield.
  3. Sort through today’s mail and throw away anything that’s junk into the recycle bin. From now on, do not let junk mail in your home.
  4. Clean out your wallet/ purse. Throw away the trash, file receipts where they need to go, take out anything that doesn’t belong there. Your back will thank you.
  5. Hang up any clothes in your closet that need it. Toss anything dirty into the hamper.

See, don’t you feel better already?

Happy organizing!

Go Forth and Prosper

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So I recently wrote about how to get more accomplished in the day by completing tasks in 1 or 2 minutes with this post but here is an article on with 101 Useful Things You Can Do  in 15 Minutes or Less. Granted, not all 101 items on the list will apply to you but it’s amazing to think of what you can do in 15 minutes if you just do it. Sometimes it’s the avoidance of another, more daunting task that encourages this sudden surge in productivity but at least you are getting something done and marking it off your list. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, WRITE IT DOWN! Start a list of things you’d like to do such as….

  • a list of places you’d like to go on vacation
  • house projects you’d like to accomplish this year
  • books you’d like to read (someday)
  • movies you’d like to see
  • recipes you’d like to try
  • restaurants you’d like to visit

These are all pretty “fun” things to do and they are all about YOU. You deserve to invest in yourself. Whenever you have 5, 10, or 15 minutes free you can go back to this list and start thinking about what you really want to accomplish and if you are on a path to achieve any of that. Mark things off the list or add to it. This is a list that helps spur your creativity and will encourage goal setting. If you set goals, you’ll achieve goals. Achieving goals leads to feeling a sense of accomplishment which leads to your future success, which drives you to achieve more of your dreams. And it all starts with you, a pen, and a piece of paper.

Happy organizing!

Multi-tasking that works!

IMG_0611People who say they are successful multi-taskers are liars. That’s a pretty bold statement from someone who has yet to make the acquaintance of every self-proclaimed multi-tasker but I believe and there is research to back me up that the brain and body can not perform multiple functions well simultaneously. The emphasis is on the word “well.” Yes, you can walk and chew gum, talk on the phone and fold laundry, read a magazine and pet the dog at the same time but these are not activities that require the same active brain function.

However, my version of multitasking is to use those precious, usually wasted, minutes of the day for maximum advantage. This one is my favorite: emptying the dishwasher while waiting for water to boil or something to heat up in the microwave. Ask me to empty the dishwasher and my mind assumes this task will take hours, cause massive muscle fatigue, and leave me drained for the rest of the day. Clearly, I hate emptying the dishwasher. But when it is broken down into a 2 minute time frame, it is much more manageable. Usually I’m not finished in the allotted time but I’ve gotten so close to completion that I don’t mind finishing it.

Think of the little tasks you hate doing, the ones that add up over time to become both Herculean and Sisyphean: folding laundry, going through mail, ironing clothes, taking out the trash, making grocery lists for efficient shopping trips, sweeping or vacuuming the floor, making the bed, and so forth. Individually, these don’t seem like major tasks but when you don’t do them over time they create serious problems. Now try to find a minute or two in the day while waiting for or doing something else that can make the task more bearable. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Fold laundry while talking to a friend on the phone.
  2. Go through mail, at least get rid of the junk, on the walk back from the mailbox. Don’t let junk mail enter your home!
  3. Iron some clothes while watching a TV show or movie.
  4. Take out the trash during a commercial break. Commercial breaks while watching a show or game are perfect time fillers. You’ve got 2-3 minutes to get some major things done and you’ve got a built in reward when you return
  5. Make your smart grocery list while waiting for water to boil. I live with an iced tea drinker so this is a fairly common occurence.
  6. Sweep the floor for the duration of one song.  Vacuuming is a little harder because you can’t hear anything while it’s on but starting with one room and seeing the great results is perfect motivation to keep going.
  7. Make the bed during a radio commercial or while you are brushing your teeth. I usually walk around while brushing anyway and it doesn’t hurt to brush longer….just don’t spill. 🙂

So the trick is to find those small pockets of time available during your day to get annoying tasks done. You’ll amaze yourself at what you can get done in 60 seconds and with that momentum you can accomplish so much more. This technique is great with kids, too. You can do anything for a minute or two, especially if you make it a challenge for yourself or them.

What tasks can you get done in one minute? Three minute commercial break? I’d love to hear your ideas or comments below.

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