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Author: Adriane WeinbergDocument Management Organizing Paper Time Management Tips

The Truth About OHIO

While helping clients organize their papers, they express concern that they’re doing something wrong when handling them more than once. What they’re unknowingly asking about is the OHIO (Only Handle it Once) rule. 

Keep in mind, though, that OHIO is a guideline, not meant to always be applied. The intent is to Only Handle It Once, or as few times as necessary to completion.

Scenario 1 

  • While scanning the mail, you open an invitation with an RSVP to a neighborhood block party. You put the mail pile on the counter to deal with later. One touch.
  • A couple of days later, you notice the invitation in the growing pile of mail and move it to the to-do pile. Second touch.
  • Later, you think your spouse may want to go. You pick it up and put it on his desk. Third touch.
  • After work, he hands it back to RSVP. You put it back on the to-do pile. Fourth touch.
  • Your son is busy at college but maybe he’d like to see his friends. You pick it up to have the details ready, call him but get voicemail. It goes back on the to-do pile. Fifth touch.
  • He calls back. You pick it up again and give him the details. He’ll think about it. The paper goes back on the to-do pile. Sixth touch.
  • He texts back that he’d like to go. You pick up the invitation, RSVP for your family, then recycle it. Seventh touch.

Scenario 2: 

  • You get the invitation, text your husband and son with the details to see if they’d want to go. You put the invitation on the counter. One touch.
  • They both reply, you pick up the invitation, RSVP, note the date and time in the calendar, then recycle the paper. Second touch—and done.

We don’t stop to think about how many times we handle the same papers — and how much time we waste. A lot!

Here’s a favorite productivity tip from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. His Two-Minute Rule states that if it takes less than two minutes, do it now. That doesn’t mean two minutes exactly, but just a few minutes to complete quick tasks. Brilliant!

Contact a pro organizer if you want to learn how to get more done in less time.

© 2019 Adriane Weinberg. All rights reserved.

Author: Adriane WeinbergLists Productivity Time Management

Too Much to do? How to Get More Done in Less Time.

Why are some people able to get more done in less time? What’s their secret?

No secret. They’ve mastered how to manage their time.

What is Time Management?

Simply put, it means to effectively manage your time to do what needs to be done on time. Most people feel overscheduled, do not plan their time well, spend too much time on unimportant tasks and so on. It’s not a time issue; it’s an organizing issue. In most cases, proper time management is lacking.

“I definitely am going to take a course on time management…just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.”  ~ Louis Boone

To maximize productivity, you must know and apply effective time-management systems and tools that work for you. Here are some proven ways:

Organization

If you’re disorganized, you cannot maximize your productivity. Your first step is to get organized.

Eat That Frog

“The first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog.”  ~ Mark Twain

The “frog” is your toughest, most important task. Twain’s point was to get it done first each morning and the rest of the day should be easier.

Task Batching

This means scheduling time to do similar tasks. For example, reply to emails from 2:00-3:00. 

Active v. Productive

There’s a huge difference between busy and productive.

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”  ~ Alfred Montapert

I recommend watching this three-minute video, which nails it. It’s meant for older folks with ADHD but everybody can relate.

Multitasking

Forget it. According to Forbes.com, 98% of us don’t multitask well. We’re actually just shifting between tasks which takes our brain time to constantly refocus. Studies show multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. However, I say it works when one task is mindless and your focus is on the other one.

Procrastination

Delaying inhibits productivity. Be intentional, positive and focused on your objective.

To-Do List

Use one! It’s critical to note tasks in one place, on paper or your device, so you don’t forget.

To begin, implement one or two tips. Practice until they’re routine. Repeat. There’s no shortcut but, over time, you’ll accomplish more in less time. That means more time to spend at work, with family, to read a book, do yoga or on whatever you want! 

 © 2019 Adriane Weinberg. All rights reserved.

Author: Adriane WeinbergClutter Home Organizing

Conquering Clutter-Chaos Creates Calm

January is a time of beginnings – new year, new resolutions, new choices. Make 2018 YOUR year to conquer clutter chaos and gain control of your house!

I define clutter as anything that takes up space without serving any real purpose in your life. That simple statement helps my clients decide what to keep or let go. Clutter looks and feels different to everyone. It causes stress and a somewhat-to-completely-overwhelming, chaotic and sometimes unhealthy environment. It’s a daily negative reminder, conscious or unconscious, of tasks left undone.

Conquer the Clutter - here's how!

Over time, storage areas like closets, basements and garages become stuffed. Therefore, things that should be in storage areas overtake living spaces. There are personal costs like stress, time wasted searching for things and money wasted rebuying things you can’t find or forgot you have.

It’s time to reclaim your space. Start with decluttering.

  • Gather trash bags and label bins Elsewhere (for everything that doesn’t belong here), Donate, Recycle, Repair and Unsure (use sparingly).
  • Select a room.
  • Pick a corner to start.
  • Grab the first item, put it in the trash bag, the correct bin or leave it if it stays. Grab the next item and so on, without skipping around, until the entire room is decluttered.
  • Do not retrieve anything you removed! Take out the trash and recyclables, drop off donations, distribute Elsewhere bin items, repair what needs fixing and make decisions about Unsure bin items.
  • Select the next room and repeat until done.

Decluttering is just the first step before organizing takes place. To be organized, among other things you need a strategy as to where everything that remains will be placed, systems that work for you, organizing principles and new habits, all of which work with your situation, personality and preferences, and maintenance techniques.

Some people are held hostage by their stuff. They hold on to things long after they’ve outlived their usefulness due to sentimental reasons, packrat tendencies, monetary value, so-and-so gave it to them or “I might need it someday.” Unused things displace things that are used.

Some of my clients have 30-year-old wedding presents in dusty, never-opened boxes on basement shelves. I ask, “WIll you use it.” “No.” “Do you like it?” “No.” “Can you get rid of it?” “No.”

As an organizing consultant, I know it’s not about just getting rid of things. It’s about the person, not the stuff. Often there are underlying psychological reasons. I dig deeper to help my clients understand WHY they’re keeping unwanted stuff. I offer safe ways to let go without losing connections to things.

Once clutter is conquered, calm replaces chaos and your home reflects how you want to live. Sound amazing? It is! Contact a professional organizer if you’d like help.

Author: Adriane WeinbergClutter General Organizing Shopping

When is Enough Stuff Enough?

I had a life-changing epiphany. It was on May 27, 1978 in the wee hours following opening day of Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts. My then-boyfriend and I were there until the casino closed (pre-24-hour operation). We drove around Atlantic City, off the main roads. I was stunned to see truly deplorable living conditions. I felt guilty about all I had and didn’t fully appreciate.

My epiphany? I would never again complain about things I didn’t have – I had everything I needed and much of what I wanted.

I’ve kept that promise. In fact, a few years ago I stopped buying stuff I didn’t need and avoided shopping centers. Maybe it was due to organizing and downsizing other people’s stuff, sometimes massive amounts. Or because I didn’t want more stuff. Probably both, plus Pareto’s 80/20 Rule: We use 20% of our things 80% of the time.

I don’t mean to sound like a scrooge. If you’re OK with your amount of stuff, have enough space, can afford and enjoy buying new things, and your life is not negatively impacted, that’s great!

But if you feel as I do, walk around your house, take a mental inventory and ponder these questions before buying more things.

  • Will you use it and, if so, often enough to justify its purchase?
  • Can you afford it?
  • Do you have a specific place to put it?
  • Will you take proper care of it?
  • Do you/your kids need it or want it?
  • Are you comfortable with the example you’re setting for your kids?
  • Will your partner be OK with it?
  • Do you shop to pass time?
  • Are you trying to fill an emotional void?
  • Do you place too much importance on things?
  • Do your things control you and how you live?

Now when I shop for something new (who doesn’t like new things sometimes?), I focus on my goal and try to avoid aimless browsing – you know, how guys shop. I discovered it’s liberating being free from societal and marketing pressures to buy more, or the latest whatever, to be happy. You too can buck the gotta-have-more, gotta-have-it-now mentality with a change in perspective. You can do it yourself or with help from an organizing consultant.

I am truly happy with the many beautiful things I own. I have more than some and less than others. But I have more than enough. I’ll never own an Aston Martin and I’m OK with that!

Author: Adriane WeinbergFamily General Organizing Time Management

13 Surefire Tips to Avoid Back-to-School Drama

Back to schoolIs the morning of the first day of school a frenetic, crazy time at your house? How about the next few days? Whether your child is elementary- or high-school bound, it’s hard to get her up and moving in the morning and to bed at a reasonable time. Once she’s awake, then comes figuring out what to wear, a frantic search for the missing shoe because another pair isn’t acceptable, followed by general chaos that causes wasted time, drama and stress!

It doesn’t have to be this way. With some simple planning and organization, things can run smoothly. Whether your child is starting school for the first time or a returning student, these tips will ease the transition from summer to school.

  1. Create a schedule to complete any unfinished summer assignments.
  2. Review your child’s clothes and shoes, fill in as needed and donate what no longer fits.
  3. Do the same for school supplies.
  4. Schedule medical and dental appointments.
  5. Schedule a haircut.
  6. Start your child’s school routine one to two weeks ahead. Establish regular meal times and school bedtime. Set the alarm to wake up, dressed and fed on time.
  7. Start limiting TV watching and time on devices.
  8. Except for the very young ones, have your child lay out clothes the night before.
  9. Make lunch the evening before.
  10. Create a laminated ID card with your child’s name, address and phone number, parents’ names and contact info, and important medical and other information, and secure it in the backpack.
  11. Have a system for papers coming from and going to school. It can be as simple as two labeled folders: To Home and To School.
  12. Set up a dedicated spot for homework, ideally a desk with supplies within reach.
  13. For the first few days before school starts, add a half-hour to whatever time you think you’ll need for the morning routine. It’ll make the back-to-school transition much easier, especially for you!

Being organized makes life so much easier. As one of my favorite clients said upon completing his project, “Peace through organization.”

Author: Adriane WeinbergEmergencies Medical Organizing

Planning on Having an Accident?

Of course not, but…

You’re driving to the grocery store, a trip you’ve made a thousand times. Out of nowhere comes a car running the red light at the intersection you’re crossing – heading straight toward you! Crash!! You’re hurt, stunned and quite possibly in shock.

The police and ambulance arrive. First they ask questions about the accident, most of which you can answer. Then they ask about medications you take, allergies and an emergency contact’s phone number. Your mind goes blank. You are taken to the hospital but you’re unable to give the ER doctors any information that could help them treat you.

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone, especially as we’re getting into the busy travel season. What can you do?

Create an Emergency Card containing your critical information to keep with you at all times. Organize it in an easy-to-read format. My Emergency Card is set up in a multi-column format. I recommend it be typed using a plain font and printed on heavy paper or card stock.

However you organize your Emergency Card, start with Emergency Info For. Under that, put your full name and address.

Suggested column headings are:

  1. Emergency Contact with full name, address and phone number
  2. Date of birth
  3. Meds
  4. Vitamins
  5. Allergies
  6. Major illnesses/operations
  7. Primary doctor
  8. Hospital
  9. Pharmacy
  10. Blood type (if you don’t know, find out)

For 3-6, make a list. For 7-9, include full name, phone number and address.

Add any information you think is important.

Make the card small enough to keep in your wallet with your health insurance ID card, driver’s license and car registration. If you plan to be an organ donor, be sure it’s noted on your driver’s license or have a signed Organ Donor Card. Don’t keep the information in your phone if your phone is locked because it cannot be accessed. However, if your phone is unlocked, put the info in Contacts labeled ICE (in case of emergency). First-responders should know to go to your wallet or phone for this information.

Having an Emergency Card could be a life-saver.

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