Going Paperless: Scanning

going paperless scanning

 

Scanners are a popular way to make paper disappear. With more affordable scanners, many homes and offices are purchasing these as an alternative for paper files.  You can scan paper, expenses, receipts, photos and more with a scanner.  It’s a great way to eliminate paper clutter and its easier to find information too!

 

Getting started

There are many options for scanning.  The apps GeniusScan and DocScan are available on you smartphone.  Fujitsu and Neat offer portable wand scanners and desk top scanners.  Multifunction machines are equipped with flat bed and feed scanners.  The most important part is to get started right away by hooking up and testing your equipment.  Many times I find equipment still in boxes years after purchase.  Just jump in!

 

Setting up

Getting a good system in place makes organizing easier.  Start setting up a consistent folder system before you scan  your first document.  Write out a list or create a mind map of the information to retrieve in your documents.  Like with paper files, more general folder names are best to start. Inside these folders you can create more specific files.

For home

  • Home and Auto
    • Auto Repair
    • Home Repair
  • Financial
    • Banking
    • Utilities and Monthly bills
    • Investment
    • Retirement
    • Life Insurance
  • Personal
    • Dad medical
    • Mom medical
    • Susie medical
    • Susie school
    • Johnny medical
    • Johnny school

For the office

  • Clients
  • Vendors
  • Administrative
    • Corporate formation
    • Permits and licenses
  • Financial
    • Banking
    • Expenses (by year)
      • Assets
      • Marketing
      • Office supplies

This is just a sample of categories to get you started.

Set up consistent naming of your documents.  Write out your options and decide on one naming convention.  You will be glad you took the time to create a plan for this.  Some examples include starting with the more general, to the more specific, and maybe with a date.

  • Utilities.Gas.1.14
  • Medical.Mom.14
  • Expenses.OfficeSupplies.14
  • Administrative.Incorporation

 

To be scanned spot

Not all paper needs to be scanned.   Using the triage method, go through your mail, kids’ papers, receipts and other papers to decide what will be scanned.  Establish a bin, folder, or tray for items to be scanned.  By designating this spot, you are creating a baby step to get started scanning.

 

Scanning routines

The best organizing revolves around good routines.  Now that you know what you want to scan, set aside time once a week or once a month to scan.  Mark your calendar to remind you of your “appointment”.   This is also a task that can be delegated to your high school student.

 

It’s important to have your computer backed up regularly.  You can use a cloud based service like Carbonite or an external hard drive. Either way, nightly back up is best.  You will be sure your documents are safe.

 

As fun as scanning is, try not to over do the fun!  It’s hard not to scan too much, but less is more!

 

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Best Family Apps for Home, Work, School and Life

best family apps

 

Our smart phones  and tablets can help us stay organized and be productive.  Some of the best family apps help us do things from deposit a check to find out when a flight arrives.  Many are free or cost a dollar or two.  Taking advantage of an app to expedite a task, get a task done more easily or even make a task more fun is a reason to find your family’s best family apps.

We all have our favorites for different reasons.  Here are a few of mine by category.

Family life

  • Your bank app – easy access to your accounts
  • Kindle or Nook app – reading while you wait
  • Evernote – task lists, client lists, family lists
  • Local TV station app –  weather, traffic and local news

 

Work life

  • Dropbox – access documents to review
  • Evernote – to read or review clipped articles
  • GeniusScan – scans a document and creates pdf files
  • Your bank app – make deposits and verify account amounts

 

 

Kids

  • Please add your favorites below!

For kids, I am a big believer in low level technology use. However, there are lots of awesome apps for learning too!

 

Seniors

 

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Organizing Photos

organizing photos

We love photos! We have them on our smart phones, cameras, online and in print.  It can be overwhelming after birthday party or family event to gather them together. Our photos are our way of capturing the magic of the moment.  Organizing photos means you will truly enjoy  them.

Allow time once a month or just after a family event to work with your photos. We jump back into life and don’t get the opportunity to reflect and enjoy our photos. It helps to set a time to work with these.

Start with a plan.  How will you group your photos? With paper photos, we group chronologically, by events like holidays, birthdays or trips, or by family member.  Keep in mind your family will be growing, like adding grandkids and partners.   Write out your plan and then create folders online to capture the photos as you consolidate them.

Begin consolidating.  Get all your digital photos together in one place. For me that’s on my computer.  I email them to myself from my smart phone, download from Facebook, and move them from my camera.  Keeping all your photos in one place makes it easy to know what you have.

Always backup your photos.  There are lots of ways to do this.  I use Carbonite to back up all the time. But I have high recommendations for Picasa, Dropbox, Smugmug and Shutterfly.  Each allows a certain amount of space with additional space for a fee.

Taking the next step is the fun part.  Decide what photos you want to print, create a digital photo album, or create a gift.   I keep framed pictures of grand kids throughout my home. I know the frame sizes so each season I print out an updated photo.  If you are just starting a photo grouping in a hallway or on a desk top, choose the frames first, then purchase the pictures.  My daughter in law does a birthday book for each child. The book consists of 5- 8 printed pictures from each birthday, placed in sequence in a photo album. The kids love looking through these each year.  Other options include digital scrapbooks from Shutterfly and even Walgreens.com.  For Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or birthdays, gifts like mouse pad, calendar or mug are wonderful ways to share photos.  Remember to give yourself plenty of time to choose the photos you want to share.

Have ideas on digital photos? I’d love to learn more!

Work at Home: Apps and More

  Work at Home

Our world is filled with organizing automation and technology.  Work at home requires effectiveness and efficiency. These apps can help you make a difference.

Below are a few of my favorite apps for making life easier and more organized.

Evernote~ Use this app to consolidate ideas, makes notes to remember things like books or websites, and help keep infomation easy to access.

CardStar~ Use this app to keep up with all those store loyalty cards.

MomMaps~ Families want to know places to go and activities to do and this app finds them for you.

OurGroceries~ The nightmare of grocery shopping made easier with a list that multiple people can access and shop.

ScanBizCards~ This app is a great way to eliminate all those biz cards floating around your house and keeps them in your phone.

Shoeboxed~ This app is an easy way to keep up with receipts, either for your home or office.

Mint.com~ This app and computer accessed program helps you gather data for budgeting, keep a record of what you are spending your money on and even suggests improvements.

Aboutone.com~Consolidate your calendar, contacts, health information and home inventory in one spot!

List type apps including Ziplist, Wunderlist, Things, Toodledo.  No need for a paper list to lose! These apps help you stay up on what you need to do, buy, and more!

What apps are your favorites?

Work at Home: Organizing your technology

Working from home is what we do! Whether it is a part time second income or an extension of what you do every day, we add on worktime through out the day.  Being organized to work at home makes a difference in productivity and efficiency.  To do both, we need great technology tools! Here are a few suggestions to make your work more successful.

  • Log Me In.  This is a service that logs you in to your base computer. Easy to use and free, you can do your work remotely on your base computer.
  • Dropbox.  This is a service that permits file sharing.  You create an account and save your files to Dropbox to use remotely, share with others while working on a project, or save as a backup for files in the cloud.
  • GoogleDrive.  This is one of the many free google products for you to use saving and sharing files.  It can be accessed by logging into google from anywhere.
  • Skype.  This free service is for free phone and video services between users.  Download it on your computer and choose the skype phone number to call and see others.
  • Task list.  There are many to choose from, including ziplist, toodle doo, wunderlist, and remember the milk.  A task list helps you prioritize and keep all your lists in one spot!
  • Evernote. This free app for computer and smart phone allows you to capture and organize notes, audio clips, photos, and more. 

What tech tools help you be more organized to work at home?

Plentiful Powerful Productivity= Success

productivity

 

Powerful productivity come when we create an environment that works with our strengths.  Improve your effectiveness and efficiency with these tips.

  • Your planner is the visual guide to your productivity.  Use it like a map, writing in what your destination is for your day, your week and longer.  When you write tasks and projects into your planner, you are making yourself accountable and breaking the job into smaller, manageable pieces.
  • Use paper management skills to go from overwhelmed to in control.  Break down the flood of paper by eliminating first what is junk and recycle this.  Create a command center where you drop recycling in and separate the paper into actions. Your command center should be at the spot where paper comes to you and you drop it in a pile. Create a fun and inviting command center using color!  Not sure what decisions to make about paper?  Be brutal and just keep what you absolutely need to work on, not maybe, someday projects.
  • Turn overwhelming email into 10 in your inbox by taking time three times a day to sort and clear email. Color code  your email and important email stands out.  Designate a power period to work on email that needs lengthy responses and relates to projects.  Your paper and email folders should be named the same to keep consistent and find what you need.
  • Add routines to your week to consolidate activities. Even grocery shopping is less stressful if you tack it on to an existing weekly activity.
  • Too much to do and too much on the brain? Use a notebook to capture your lists, dating the top of the list.  Then choose 3 – 7 tasks to do that day.
  • Use technology to help you increase your productivity.  Turn off alarms, email, texting and more when you really want to focus on a project.

What success tips do you have for plentiful productivity?

 

More ideas on powerful productivity here!

Get Organizing Month IKEA Event on January 19

YOU ARE INVITED!

Free Workshops at IKEA Houston offer Organization Tips for New Year

Reduce clutter with the help of National Association of Professional Organizers

 

January is officially “Get Organized Month!” To celebrate, IKEA Houston is partnering with National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and Houston-area vendors to host free organization workshops and offer donation drop-off locations to help you clear the clutter.

 

WHEN: Saturday, January 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: IKEA Houston (I-10 and Antoine)

WHAT: Enjoy complimentary one-hour workshops offering post-holiday organizing tips and win fun prizes while you watch! NAPO’s professional organizers and an IKEA Houston visual merchandiser and blogger will lead interactive demonstrations about creatively reducing clutter and utilizing storage spaces to the fullest.

 Workshop Schedule:

• 11:30 a.m.: “Junk Drawer Diaries” with Neitra Blair

• 12:30 p.m.: “The 5 S’s and You—Streamlining Your Space (and Life)” with Alynn Blakemore

• 1:30 p.m.: “From Piles to Smiles: Making Paper Disappear!” with Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap

• 2:30 p.m.: “Getting Organized with Technology” with Janice Simon

• 3:30 p.m.: Meet the Blogger; DIY workshop with Ashley Rose of SugarandCloth.com

• 4:30 p.m.: DIY Workshop with Genna Riggins, IKEA Visual Merchandiser

RSVP: Workshops are free, so sign up for as many as you’d like! To RSVP and learn more, visit www.inspiringlifeathome.com/getorganized. Please RSVP and use my name! I love that IKEA will know who is sending attendees their way!

 

Recycle, Shred and Donate:

Donate and recycle books, old furniture, computers and clothes and bring documents for FREE shredding! Friends of the Houston Public Library, Houston Computer Recycling, Houston Furniture Bank and Salvation Army will be onsite to available to collect books, computers, furniture and clothes, and Southern Shred will be on site to shred your personal documents.

 

Hope to see you there!

IKEA + NAPO

Organize Your Life Webinar Series

  

   

Save your sanity and get organized in 2013!

Is getting organized one of your New Year’s resolutions? Then Join me this January for 10 amazing webinars from a dream team of presenters for Get Organized month. These classes will help you focus, plan, and organize your time, space, and information.
http://theprofessionalorganizer.com/events/organize-your-life-webinar-series/ …. get a special facebook discount with code “fbdeal” for 10% off all classes.

Webinar classes include how to organize your time, your paper, your kids, your students, your technology, hoarding and more!

  • Classes offered share specific tools and techniques to impact your daily life. 
  • Nationally known professional organizers and productivity coaches available to you in your home by webinar.
  • Affordable solutions to learn about organizing and take that next step in your home or office. 

 Classes begin January 3 and run all through Get Organized Month 2013.  Take a step to make 2013  your most organized year yet!

10 Tips for Time Management at Work

So much to do and so little time to do it all! It is no wonder we feel drained, unproductive and overwhelmed at work.  Follow these 10 tips to make a difference in your efficiency and effectiveness at work. 

  • Choose a planner that works for you. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a Google calendar.  Having one place to consolidate dates makes it easy to keep up with activities, projects and tasks.
  • Use lists. Consolidate your list in one spot.  Making the list is the first step, prioritizing your activities is the next step.
  • Set your day’s priorities the night before.  When you come in to work and you know your focus, you get started right away.
  • Choose 3 Most Important Tasks and get these done early in the day.  Every day is filled with distractions and interruptions.  Getting the most important tasks done early helps you feel productive!
  • Establish times to work hard.  Have a power period in the morning and the afternoon.  These are times where you just work on one project. Turn off all distractions, including your cell phone, email, and post a note on the door for your colleagues, to keep this time sacred.
  • Keep your action items in a desktop sorter in files.  Finding papers you need to work on saves time and energy.
  • Delegate lower level tasks to an assistant.  Know what is worth your time and what is less important. Set up a process for your assistant to check back in with a time line and specific deliverables.
  • Take a break during the day to eat, walk a little and get refreshed.  You will work better with brain food. You may think you have too much to do, but a break will help you be more efficient.
  • Set specific times for email.  Do an email triage, with a quick scan and filing, and then consolidate projects and tasks on your list to work on during your power period.
  • Set a time to end your day.  It’s important to get out of your office and connect with others too. 

What are your tips for time management at work?

10 Tips for Student Time Management

Our students have a lot on their plates! There is homework, sports, homecoming, church and more! Time management is an important skill for them to develop early on to be sure they feel successful academically and personally. Follow these tips to help you do your best!

  • Write in your assignments in your planner in each class. Check your teachers’ websites to be sure you have all your assignments too.
  • Check your planner each afternoon, write in what you missed.
  • Review your out of school activities and write these in your planner.
  • Keep your papers in your homework folder that need action, keep your papers in your binder that are reference
  • Prioritize and plan the week out. What is most important to do on what day? Anticipate the next test.
  • Plan your week by working around existing activities. Wednesdays are especially busy!
  • Break big projects into baby steps. For example, flashcards written, study for short periods, review with someone.
  • Get started and work hard during homework time, from 6 – 9 pm. Take breaks when your concentration stops, but get back to work in 5 minutes.
  • Pack your backpack and your homework before bed.
  • Wind down and get in bed by 10 pm. A good night’s rest makes all the difference.