Keeping Ourselves Organized Keeps Us From Sweating the Small Stuff

Here are some helpful tips that I’ve tried to follow to maintain order in my life.  We all have those times when we get off track, but the important thing is to get back on.  So I hope if you struggle with any of these issues that you’ll find this post helpful.  This is not a comprehensive list…well maybe not completely.

#1 rule…Keep a small notebook with you at all times.

This is so you can jot down things that you think of, make notes, new ideas, remembered appointments, etc.  I often will hear something someone says that I quickly think I’d  like to write down.  Have a small notebook in your purse or pocket, it is a winner and will keep you ahead of the game.

Each aspect of our lives needs organization.

Home:

  • Throw out anything you haven’t used in the last 12 months.
  • Have a designated place for deliveries/mail, coats, purses, etc.
  • Decide what to keep or not keep and shred anything with personal info on it.
  • Clean out frig once a week to be sure everything in it is not old or expired.
  • Clean home once a week focusing on a different area for deep cleaning each time.
  • Clean house from top to bottom floor and room from ceiling first to floor.
  • Place items in proximity based on use, on counters, in drawers, closets, etc.
  • Take pictures of outfits with accessories and keep pics in closet.  This will save time putting things together in morning.  Update once per month.

Car:

Necessary items to have and where to place them…

  • Handbook for the car – glovebox
  • Insurance documentation – glovebox
  • Registration and list of important #’s like Insurance agent.
  • Maintenance receipts – glovebox
  • Cell phone car charger – glovebox
  • Flash light – glovebox
  • Wet wipesglove box
  • Emergency and First Aid Kit – trunk
  • Blanket in winter – trunk
  • weather radio – trunk
  • Ice scraper – trunk
  • Navigational Tool
  • Umbrella – seat pocket
  • Rosary and prayer book – console of car
  • State Highway Map – side door pocket
  • lint brush or roller tape – side door pocket
  • Expandable file folder between 2 front seats and keep it for papers and documents while traveling.
  • Keep a handled sack folded in the expandable file folder to carry things from car to house or office.  Always empty trash and take anything you are finished with into your house or office after the last trip.
  • Vacuum car out regularly and wash once a week.

Online:

  • Prioritize what your goals are for being online and be sure to include in your daily to do list.  It may be research for work, keeping up with friends, blogging, etc.  Know what you want to do and then set parameters.  Otherwise you can be easily drawn into spending hours instead of minutes.
  • That which is strictly social, have a goal and organize friend lists in social media so you are focusing in on relationships that are important.
  • If blogging have a regular time to do such and a time limit.

Office:

  • Review/create “To Do” list each day.
  • Meetings – Every meeting  has a designated chairperson who  creates an agenda.  Each should also have a goal for the meeting and a set time limit.  The Chair uses outlook to invite attendees and then sending those attending the agenda and allow a short window to get their input on such.
  • Keep things on desk in proximity based on use.
  • Organize cords.
  • Place files in drawer or cabinet that doesn’t cause you to have to move away from desk to get to if they are used regularly.  They can be placed further away if used less often.
  • Store those items or files that you haven’t looked at in more than 2 years.
  • Phone calls – organize calls into vendors, constituents, stakeholders and staff.  Give vendors a specific time of day you will take their calls and anything not pressing, give staff a specific time of day also.
  • Only check email 3 times per day.
  • prioritize tasks and work from most pressing to the least.
  • Plan an annual calendar working backwards from major events to organize key tasks for each that also need to be on calendar.  Transfer annual events in December of each year.
  • Review the calendar in staff meeting with your department or afterwards each week to get updates/changes, etc.
  • Organize your office for optimum efficiency and create an environment that helps you stay focused.
  • Delegate anything that doesn’t require your judgement.
  • If possible dictate letters while in car driving.  Have a list of correspondence on to do list and keep with you if traveling.  Typing your own letters – which is a trend now, is a time vacuum.  Fingers on computer keys is less efficient than dictation if you have someone else (assistant) who can type it.
  • At the end of the day have desk in order to begin the next day.

Time:

  • Make Lists and set a time limit for tasks.
  • Use a Timer to get all tasks done.
  • Time analysis tools are good for a couple of weeks to track what you are spending your time on and how much.

Calendar:

  • Keep a daily calendar on smart phone or hardcopy and keep it with you.  This is the one that holds everything.
  • Keep a calendar at home on wall and encourage family members to have their own calendar too.
  • Keep a wall calendar at work as well.
  • Have an annual calendar at the office also.

Exercise:

  • Set a specific time of day and stick to it don’t let anything invade that time even if traveling.  You can always walk if nothing else.
  • Keep exercise gear in a specific place so you don’t waste time looking for this or that.
  • If you want to join gym find the one closest to home (my preference since my time is in morning).

Diet:

  • Fix food for week on weekends and heat up through out the week. (3 main entres, 2 sides and a bread).  Home cooked food is more wholesome and generally better for you.
  • Take vitamins with supplements every morning with breakfast.  Keep pill organizer full and in specific place in kitchen.
  • Plan menu based on your dietary needs once per week and then create grocery list.
  • Keep a standard list and just check off what you need.
  • If traveling, take key items in a cooler like yogurt, Melba toast, tuna, dressing if trying to stick to a restrictive diet.  Also, get a hotel room with a mini frig and microwave if possible. I did this during a period I was on a diet.  I took my own items for snacks and necessary things to add to salads.  Also, made sure I had water with me all the time.
  • Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep and try to go to bed same time every night.
  • The night before prepare lunch for next day that you want to take to work.
  • In the morning have a specific spot to place your lunch, phone, purse, etc. that needs to go out the door with you.  Put that in its launch spot after you have had breakfast and heading out for exercise.

Finances:

  • Have one place that bills are placed when they arrive in mail.
  • Designate who in home is responsible for managing bills (everyone helps though).
  • Keep a list of current regular bills/payments/due dates in a lock box with the unpaid bills.
  • Have a specific time(s) during month when these are paid.
  • Have a prepared budget and meet with family about it as needed.
  • Have a long-term,  short-term plan and a “Disaster Plan.”
  • Safety Deposit Box for important papers/items with one key to those with responsibility for such if something happens to you.
  • Every new years day, update the letter to those responsible, outlining necessary points/items/bills/special requests/concerns and replace the previous letter that is in the box presently.

My Purse: It should weigh no more than 3 pounds tops.

  • Small notebook and accordian organizer for receipts.
  • Keys (car, home, etc., but not keys that you don’t use regularly)
  • Tissues
  • Medicine – if have to take in an emergency especially. I get Migraines so I always have that medicine available.
  • Pocket book – only have 1 or 2 major credit cards, less than 5 pictures and cash. (clean out coins often.  This adds to the weight). Photocopy cards that are in pocketbook and keep the copy at home in case stolen or lost.
  • pocket umbrella
  • lipstick
  • phone
  • Rosary and LIFE Runner Prayer Card
  • If it doesn’t fit in a pocket, then put it in another kind of small organizer.  Don’t leave anything loose.

Home Filing:

  • Action Files – Papers that need a response from you in some way. Some categories to divide them in are to read, to file, or to respond.  These are the files that remain out where they are easily accessible.
  • Reference Files

Financial 

  • Bank Accounts – checking, savings, money market
  • Credit Card Accounts – make a separate folder for each one
  • Mortgage Information
  • Loans – include any second mortages or home equity loans, or car loans
  • Investments or brokerage accounts – keep a separate one for each one
  • Budget or Financial Planning

 Insurance 

  • Homeowners or Rental Property Insurance
  • Auto – keep a separate file for each car
  • Other Vehicles – such as campers, boats, motorcycles, ATV 
  • Life
  • Health

Property

  • Home Improvement Receipts – any large investments such as new roofs, water heater, siding for example that have warranties need to have receipts to get payment if a claim is made. 

Furniture

  • Appliances – stove, refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, dishwasher, microwave
  • Office Items – computer and related items , fax machine, copier, phone. 

Employment 

  • resume – keep copies handy if needed
  • Employee Benefit Package Information –
  • Paycheck receipts and other documentation

Certificates

  •  Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Estate, Power of Attorney, Copy of Will, etc.  (also keep in safe deposit box).

Household

  • Electrical
  • Water/Sewer
  • Trash/Recycling
  • Cable
  • Computer Service
  • Telephone
  • Cell phone
  • Security

 Medical Information

  •  Insurance Forms
  • Medical History
  • Dental
  • Doctor/Dentist Names and Locations/Directions  

Tax Records 

Keep a file of all tax receipts needed to file your income tax for the year. Some subcategories are as follows:

  • Income Pay Stubs
  • Medical Out of Pocket Expenses
  • Childcare Expenses – Daycare, Preschool, After School Care
  • Charitable Donations
  • Interest and Dividend Statements
  • Mortgage interest Statements

Organization keeps stress levels down and things running smoothly.  I did my best dieting and running when I am organized in all other aspects of my life.  We all get out of sync with one thing or another now and then – or with everything.  When faced with those times, give yourself 2 weeks to re-organize/re-group.  Then begin again.

 

 

 

 

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