Rushing from work to networking events, pilates, Whole Foods and home (not to mention managing your children’s schedules and traveling for business) is often a surefire recipe to feel overwhelmed. If after going through the list below, you find yourself “guilty as charged,” allow this to serve as a friendly reminder to organize what is most important in your office and at home. Managing your time will also provide you with the energy and tools necessary to develop more efficient systems…a great way to feel less stressed and more in control.
- You have asked a good friend or family member for his or her new address more than a couple of times. Your intentions are good but you never seem to transfer the information from a restaurant napkin to your contact list.
This would be a good time to input all contact information into your smartphone and then sync to your computer. Hopefully you have a few telephone numbers on your recent call log and in text messages so you won’t have to follow up with too many random phone calls or texts to people who would expect you know this information by heart. If you kept the holiday cards you received in December, refer to the return addresses on those envelopes before requesting this information from others.
- You haven’t sent your holiday thank you notes yet (or worse, haven’t sent a handwritten note in the past 6 months).
The longer you wait, the less likely you are to send out your courteous thank you correspondence. Ask yourself what is preventing you from getting those notes into your mailbox? Is it lack of beautiful stationery? Or stamps? Or motivation? Whatever it is, get moving, get it over with and move on with your next task.
- You routinely run late to business meetings and coworkers purposely tell you to arrive 15 minutes earlier than everyone else.
Earning a reputation amongst your clients and colleagues as always running behind will inevitably stifle your career advancement. A respected professional is true to her word and it’s up to you to skip the excuses and do whatever it takes to not only be on time but a few minutes early. Need some motivation? Refer to my time management tips here.
- You lose your car keys and cell phone at least three times a day.
Guilty! I have been known to look for my cell phone by calling my cell phone, using my cell phone in my hand. It happens to the best of us! But, if you do find yourself at a loss for your keys or phone on a daily basis, it may be time to make a few simple tweaks in your routine. Place a designated tray or bowl on your counter or entryway table and get in the habit of always putting your items in the same place each time.
- You find you must update your password(s) each time to want to buy an app or log in to a social media site.
Nothing is more frustrating than wasting precious “guessing” at what your Apple password is, or getting locked out of Twitter for too many login attempts. Instead of relying on sticky notes or using the same password everywhere, it may be time to take a look at Keeper or a similar service. Opt for a service that works just as well on your laptop as it does your smartphone and remember to choose a more secure password (one that includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters).
- Your iPad powers down in the middle of a presentation and/or your iPad is never charged.
We all know at least one person who is always looking for an empty plug to charge their device, usually at an inopportune time like in a crowded café or during a business lunch, needing to sit somewhere close to a plug. If this person is you, consider an upgrade to a dedicated valet charger for all of your gadgets. It’s as easy as plugging everything in before you turn in for the night. The trick here is remembering to collect your technology and then connecting to your devices.
- You have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear the morning of your big presentation.
If you pull out 10 pair of slacks before finding the one you want to wear, what is wrong with the first 10? The answer is probably that a hem is out, one is stained, four don’t fit properly and the other four are out of style. Save yourself some time and energy and go through your closet and sew on loose buttons, hem pants that are too long, take soiled shirts to the dry cleaners and donate clothes that are too small. Chances are you aren’t going to get back into them and by that time, if you do, they will be outdated. Clear your closet and unclutter your mind.
- You have a desk (or purse) full of pens but can’t find one that writes.
Empty out your office drawer, one by one, and take inventory of what is in your desk. Clean out the empty rolls of tape, foil wrappers from eaten holiday candy, half used candles, pens that have no ink and lipstick that isn’t your color. Replace your inventory with pens, sharpened pencils, a new roll of tape, bright and colorful paperclips, a clear gloss and some great smelling hand cream (not too strong). The next time someone needs a pen to sign a contract you won’t have to borrow your colleague’s fine point.
- You are a magazine hoarder.
You have a collection of magazines under your bed, in plastic bins in your attic, in the backseat of your car, on every empty space in your house, and way too many by the bathroom toilet. Keeping favorite magazines is fun and looking through them from time to time is a special treat…until they start taking over your house and you are one television show away from becoming a hoarder! Go through and save the magazines that are special to you and give the rest away to your local Alzheimer’s Day Center or Nursing facility. Everyone will benefit from your generosity.
- You keep a basket of shoes by the door.
Keeping a decorative or industrial container by the door to collect wet and muddy shoes is a great idea. Until, the basket overflows onto the floor and people are tripping over the excess. A good rule of thumb is to have everyone take their shoes to their perspective rooms at the end of the day to start fresh the next morning. It keeps your house intact in the event you receive an unexpected visit from the producer of Hoarders.
Good luck and happy organizing,