How to Tackle Organizing your Photos

Organizing photos

 

When asked about what we must take with us in an emergency, we all say our photos!  Our photos are our most precious stuff.  We have them on our smart phones, cameras, social media online and in print.  It’s easy to over snap and not come back.  It can be overwhelming after a birthday party or family event to gather them together. Our photos are our way of capturing the magic of the moment.  Organizing your photos means you will truly enjoy them.

 

The best solution for organizing photos follows a routine that works well with your routine.  Allow time once a month or immediately 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.  Summer can be a great time to reminisce, review and organize your photos.

 

Start with a plan.

How will you group your photos? With paper or digital photos, we can 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. If you are working with paper photos, you can use photo boxes.  Make a plan and test it with sorting.  Remember, you can delete photos as you work to keep only the best photos.

 

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 with a cord.  There are many services that automate consolidating to get all your phots in one place such as GooglePhotos, Dropbox and AmazonPhotos.  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. Highest recommendations are for for GooglePhotos, Dropbox, Smugmug and Shutterfly.  Each allows a certain amount of space with additional space for a fee. Scanning is the way to back up your paper photos. There are options for you to scan yourself or services to delegate.

 

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.

 

Keep your most precious items safe with backing up and organizing digital and paper photos.

Spring Organizing Office Edition

 

Spring organizing office

 

Offices and office spaces continual to evolve as more of our work becomes digital.  There’s lot of digital decluttering to do as a result.  This Spring more your office forward to become more electronically  organized.

 

Edit first

All offices are busy and it’s a low priority to eliminate digital clutter.  Start a 15 minute daily edit of digital clutter.  Look first at email, then documents.  In multiple 15 minute time slots you can pare down what is not needed. Now assess your duplicate documents and drafts. You can add these to trash to clear space and clear up confusion of the final document.

 

Attend to your desk top

We’re talking computer desk top here!  Add documents into folders and eliminiate any extra icons. There’s clarity here now.  Add a beautiful and serene screen saver for you to see when you are disconnected.

 

Graphics organizing

If you are a social media maven, it’s your graphics that can also need refreshing.  Use a content driven organizing system.  Group your graphics and photos by topic in your pictures to easily access and use your items.

 

Unsubscribe to unwanted

You may have once wanted to learn about a topic, and now you are saturated with email subscriptions. Take 15 minutes to unsubscribe rather than delete your unwanted subscriptions.  Less incominng newsletters free up time.  If you don’t want to let go of these, or incoming coupons, create an additional email account to directly access this when wanted.

 

Update your passwords

We change our passwords, hoping to remember then each time.  Update your password keeper in order to easily log on.  Change passwords if it’s been a while for sensitive sites.  Now log in on all your devices so that you have access from your smart phone or tablet.

 

Control the cords

Technology advances quickly.  It’s time to recycle your older devices and cords. Gather these together with the cords to donate.  Label the remaining cords to know what goes together. Store the cords at point of use in a drawer if used frequently or in a box under a cabinet if not.

Now you and your office are ready for a productive Spring!

 

 

 

Still cluttered in there with paper?  Here’s where to get started!

 

 

9 Tips on How to Conquer Email

9 tips to organize email

 

Email has become one of the most demanding, stressful and overwhelming parts of our day.  There’s email streaming in at all times and a torrent like a flood.  Add to that, there’s many important tasks and documents imbedded in the stream. Email has moved from a way to share information to a heavy chore to dread.  Here’s 9 tips on how to conquer email and feel good at the end of the day.

 

Folder Organization

We have had email overload for a while.  It’s time to take charge of how it is organized.

To file or not to file?  That’s a great question!  While our technology gives us the opportunity to never file, do we file what we what to find most easily?  The search tools work for anyone who does not want to file at all.  However, if you want to file, here’s the easiest way to set up your folders.  Think big categories! For home these categories are Financial, People, and Home. For work these are the different categories of work you do. Most likely it is Clients, Vendors, Marketing and more. The reason to think big is that you can gather information into these general files and not spend too much time on filing.  It also gives you a specific home for specific information.  Write out your categories before you begin to be sure you have a category for all the topics in your email.

 

Email subject lines

Universally the first line we see in email is the subject line. Make it a good one!  Be specific and short. Email is intended to inform, not discuss.  The best subject lines are short and sweet and to the point.  If you recieve one that is not, reply with a more appropriate line to keep your email on target.  If you decide you want to file this email, you can email yourself with a new subject line too to keep it relevant.

 

Signature lines

Signature lines share your contact information.  There’s a lot to keeping in touch with your contacts and also sharing who you are and what you do.  There’s great ways to write these to help your contacts and you stay in touch. That’s also where you should begin in keeping connected.  Add the information from the signature line to your contacts. It will cross over to all your devices to use when you want to email or call.

 

Detach documents

Documents are intended to be detached from email and kept in your Documents folders.  This is the way to make work happen.  If you are working together on a document, google docs is the way to go!

 

Tasks on your task list

The big reason we keep reviewing our email and keep our inboxes full is that there are many tasks in our email.  Those tasks range from a one minute acknowledgement we received something to multi-step projects to important responses to a client.   Can you apply the 3 minute rule to an email? If it takes 3 minute or less, just do it during your email work time. If it takes more, add it to your task list for completion later.  Just this simple rule will clear out your tasks and your email.

 

The same applies to dates and calendaring as well.  Dates that come in email should be added to your calendar and your online calendar as a reminder as needed.  Email is not the place to leave your calendar dates to search.

 

Separate shopping with it’s own email address

What’s cluttering our inboxes the most? It’s our shopping offers! We are reluctant to let go of these offers since we might use them.  Set up a separate shopping email to keep these offers together and segregated.  It’s going to save a lot of deleting and time.

 

Work your email and routines that make email disappear

Email is just like snail mail. Would you run up and down to the mailbox every hour to get your mail? Keep your email routines sharp.  Check email 3 times a day.  That way you always keep it in check and keep up to date on your work.  Set aside a work time for those detached documents.  That is a power hour when you do important work without distraction.

 

Email etiquette

Our email gets so overwhelming, we leave it for long periods of time.  Email gets lost as we open it on a device and then it’s buried in already read email. Determine your own email etiquette to keep communication flowing. Perhaps you consider your “turn around time” 48 hours and letting other’s know this is good.  Know who to respond to rather than respond to all.  Email etiquette shows your own professionalism. Your email is a reflection of you.

 

Consider the information, consider the communication

If you are receiving 10 emails about the same topic, it’s time to pick up the phone.  Email is not the tool to use instead of a meeting or if you have a crucial conversation to hold. There are times that a one on one phone conversation is required.  Know when it’s time to pick up the phone instead of use email for communication.

 

Email can be conquered with organization.  Get started with organizing, then add these tips to your email routine.  There’s hope for email organization as you take small steps to conquer this.

 

Bonus tip: Organize your email with tech tools.

With unroll.me, your subscriptions are organized into a list for you to read but not interfere with your work. Using Mailstrom you can group related mail and act on it as a group.  If you use gmail, there’s Boomerang to help you respond to email.  Check out one of these tech tools to get through your email overload.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automated Tools for Home, Work and Life

Automated tools for home work and life

 

Without a doubt, technology has changed our home, work and life. The smart tools in our home include security, light bulbs, coffee makers and fans. In the last year, even more so has life changed with the popularity of Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home. It’s easy to automate and delegate some of the little things that can make life and work even easier. Here’s a list of the tools and tasks that can delight you as automated toolsfor home, work and life.

 

Tools to use

Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home are easy to use and cost about the same amount depending on which product you purchase.  Here’s the differences that you should look for.  Amazon Echo has more commands (Skills) while Google Home can best answer diverse questions.   Amazon Echo has more smart home commands to control such as smart light bulbs or security.

 

Commands to use

These devices can play music, tell you the time, give you this week’s weather and give you the traffice report.  There’s more though! Keep up your productivity with these commands.

Calendar

  • OK, Google, tell me about my day”
  • OK, Google, good morning.” (This includes a personalized greeting, info on weather, traffic, reminders, calendar entries, flight status and curated news stories.)
  • OK, Google, add my 9 am appointment to my calendar.
  • Ok, Google, remind me to purchase my airline tickets.

To-do lists

  • Alexa, create a to-do list
  • Alexa, I need to make a doctor appointment
  • Alexa, buy bathroom tissue
  • Alexa, reorder pens
  • Alexa, track my order

Reminders and timers

  • Alexa, set a repeating alarm for weekdays at 7 a.m.
  • Set a timer: “Alexa, timer” or “Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes.”
  • Create a named timer: “Alexa, set a pizza timer for 20 minutes.”
  • Set multiple timers: “Alexa, set a second timer for 5 minute

Self care

  • Alexa, ask Random Workout to pick a workout.
  • Alexa, ask Random Workout to pick an exercise.
  • Alexa open Sleep Sounds.
  • Alexa ask Sleep Sounds to play Thunderstorm.

What’s my most surprising task for Alexa? It’s remember things! We all want a fail safe spot to remember stuff.  Alexa can do that too!

You don’t have to be a big techie to enjoy the advantages of this small addition to your tech collection.  Adding these small devices can make a big difference for you as we add automated tools for home, work and life to our everyday spaces.

I am an Organizer Coach now!

I am an organizer coach

I have always valued education because furthering my skills makes a difference for my clients.  My clients are the reason I continue to learn new ways to help them let go, streamline and keep their intentions daily in their lives. Completing my Coach Approach training is one way for me to empower my clients with their home, work and life goals.  I am an Organizer Coach who works one on one with clients to empower your change and goals.

 

For the past year, and several years before, I have been taking classes via phone, working on skills in small groups, and completing a curriculum to become an Organizer Coach.  My classes and reading have included learning about modalities, using new tools to help my clients such as a values and needs assessment, and learning more about ADHD, depression and anxiety. Throughout the year I have coached or been coached in 3 different small groups to practice my skills and learn what it is like to be coached.

 

How do these new skills help you, my client?

  • Are you stuck and can’t get started? Coaching supports awareness, action and learning.  Your new awareness will lead you into action.  Getting started and finishing up are often holding back my clients until we work together.  Learning comes from perspectives at your success.  Overall, coaching supports maintaining the change you have created.
  • Need a trusted coach to listen to you?  I believe in the strengths of my clients. You bring thoughts and ideas and my listening brings focus to our work. Your values, needs and strengths are all a part of our work together.
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed?  Your strengths are the foundation of organizing in your home, work and life. It’s easier to maintain the systems you establish by working from your strengths.
  • Do you struggle with ADHD or anxiety?  Brain based conditions, such as ADHD and anxiety, can impact your executive function and your goals. Our work together will move you forward as you create new awareness and learning.
  • Have you created support for your efforts?  Essential structures, such as self awareness, support and education are the baseline for your life.  Together we investigate how these essential structures support your organizing goals.

 

It’s been a busy year with training through Coach Approach, a coaching skills training program designed specifically for organizers.   I want to thank my trainers Denslow Brown and Cameron Gott, as well as my colleagues in training with me.

 

 

Project Management Tools for Home and Work

project management

 

So many projects, so little time! A project is an “individual or collaborative effort that is planned with a specific aim.” Project management is the “discipline of planning and executing the work of a team to complete a goal.”

 

As Walt Disney said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.”

 

At home and work projects are everywhere. It all depends on your view of a project.  At home it can be an organizing project like garage organizing, a holiday project like Christmas or Hanukah, or a family event like a family reunion.  At work a project can be starting an email newsletter, marketing your product or service or doing your taxes.  If your end result takes more than 3 steps to accomplish, it’s a project.  While there are many free tools to use, these easy to use tools make it easy for you to work on and track your project.

 

Post it notes

We all love post it notes. It’s a great way to keep track of individual tasks for a project. Write each step on a separate note.  Post the notes in a time line with dates for daily or weekly accomplishments.  It’s fun to crumple them as you complete a task.

 

Trello

Trello is the digital equivalent of index cards. Set up your tasks and your timeline to accomplish your project. Capture ideas, track your progress and assign tasks to maximize your success.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud based document system. You install Dropbox on you and your collaborators devices and you can share.   What’s best about Dropbox is accessibility and portability. Whether it’s a document, spreadsheet or presentation, you can work together or alone and share your work.

 

Google apps

Many of us use gmail for our connections. Google offers a host of products to work together. Use Google calendar to drive dates for your project. Use Google docs for your collaborative documents and spreadsheets.  Work on the same document at the same time and see changes in real-time together.

 

Accessible tools make it easy to track and complete your project.  Take a few minutes to set up your tools to maximize their effectiveness and then get to work.

 

Check out this tech list for other tools for home and work.

 

 

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3 Easy to Use Small Business Tools

business organizing tools

It’s the little things that can cause the biggest snarls in business. When you are a small business owner, it’s hard at times to keep all the balls in the air. You have to work with clients, invoice and bill clients, run small errands and manage multiple projects.  These 3 easy to use business tools simplify and organize your business tasks.

 

Hours Keeper

Struggling with invoicing clients? Here’s an easy to use app that can track hours, add in extra services and send your client an invoice. It takes away the pain of invoicing later that day or later that month. You can email your client and yourself a copy of the paid invoice too.  It’s a small way to jump start an important task.

 

Task Rabbit

What do you need help with?  Assembling your new product? Shopping or delivery? Task Rabbit is available in 19 cities to help you with small tasks at a reasonable price.  Task Rabbit is “smart way to get things done by connecting you with others in your neighborhood.”

Trello

Managing multiple projects is how we maximize our time as small business owners. Trello gives us a visual way to keep everything running smoothly.  This free software is available on all devices to help you use it at the office and on the go.  Trello consists of a board with a list of lists.  You can create cards as  your project progresses and move the cards as you accomplish tasks.  It’s great to use with a team too.

business apps and tools

There’s more tech and apps that can help, depending on your small business needs.  Start small with tech that caters to a specific need.

How to Organize Digital Files

organize digital files

 

Our digital life includes documents, spreadsheets, PDF docs, and photos. Add in items that are saved in the cloud. You may be saving files to your desktop or keep files attached in your email.  All of a sudden we are digitally disorganized! Simple, electronic organization is a must when it comes to keeping our digital files organized.

 

Start with the big picture

Digital organizing is just like physical organizing.  Think about the big categories of digital files to organize.  The big category of files should reside on your PC, Macbook or cloud based filing system. Why? Because like with all organizing, consolidating is important.  You want one spot to look for all these files.

 

Backing up is a critical safety factor.   You can use your cloud based filing system with a strong password, an external hard drive, or a specific back up system like Carbonite.  Whichever you choose, be sure you are backing up regularly.

 

Organize digital files with broad categories

Digital and paper file systems have a lot in common. Starting with broad categories makes it easy to file and easy to know where to find information.

Home digital files include:

  • House and Auto
  • Financial
  • Personal
  • Work
  • Photos
  • Music

Office digital files include:

  • Clients
  • Resources
  • Vendors
  • Financials 20XX
  • Expenses

Think about what applies to your business as a big category.  You can also sort by year if that’s easier.  Choose categories that make sense to you and can be easily remembered. If not, you can also print your folder and file list for reference.

 

computer organizing

 

Create files within the folder

Create a file within the folder for more specific categories.  In your Home folder, it might be Jeep and Lexus are the file names. In the Financial folder, you can create files for Retirement Merrill Lynch, Utilities 20XX, or Banking Compass.  For your photos, you can create files by event like birthday, travel or year.

Organize digital files by consolidating

  • If you save to your desktop, you can copy/cut and paste into your new document folder you created.
  • If documents are in your email, open and save as to the new file.
  • If you are saving a photo, cut and paste into the new file.

 

Scanning to your files

  • It’s easiest to create the folder before you scan.  Then simply choose PDF and scan to the folder you need.
  • Remember, not EVERYTHING is scan worthy.
  • You don’t have to scan in previous documents. Start by going forward with scanning new documents and catch up later.

organize electronic files

Remember, keeping it simple makes it easier to file anything!

 

More tech organizing here!

ADHD Apps and Tools

adhd apps and tools

 

Technology can make home, work and life easier to manage.  There’s happy apps and tools to keep you from being overwhelmed with paper, feeling anxious about time management, and taking care of yourself.  It’s especially helpful to have easy ways to keep notes, be financially savvy, keep up with dates, and manage time better.  Check out these simple to use apps in different categories.

To keep a note

Evernote is the most popular of all apps to keep information.  Create “notebooks” to categorize your information and “tag” it to find it later.

More than a list, Toodledo is the place to write notes, customize lists, and create recurring events.

Love paper?  There’s nothing better than the Arc notebook available at Staples. The unusual, customizable design makes this the place to write notes, organize your thoughts, or keep a list. It’s available in sizes and designs that make you smile too.

 

The most important part of writing stuff down is that you no longer have to take energy from doing a project to remember other stuff. 

 

To keep a budget

Mint helps you pull all your financial information together. It helps you create a budget and know how you are spending your money.

EveryDollar is a free budget tool recommended by Dave Ramsey.

Getting in touch with your money is a very powerful feeling.

 

To keep dates

BlueSky Week at a glance calendars help you organized your year. A week at a glance view creates a streamlined week to plan and execute what needs to be done.

Planner pad calendar consolidates your lists and your appointments. You can categorize lists, prioritize tasks and pull together details of your life.

Cozi is a simple, effective online tools for calendars and tasks. Manage tasks, keep appointments, and create a calendar that brings everything and everyone together.

Having a trusted tool for dates makes it easy to keep from double booking or feeling stressed to remember dates.

To keep information

Dropbox  is a service that keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.  It’s the best way to work on information on different devices at different locations. It’s also a great way to share photos with family and friends or collaborate on a project with colleagues.

Google Docs is an easy way to share documents, spreadsheets and other information on multiple devices and with others.  Part of google, it’s powerful enough to keep information backed up too while collaborating with others.

Never feel like you have lost a file again!

To manage time

TimeTimer is for everyone who wants to manage time better.  It shows the passage of time and helps you assess how much time you have to complete a task. It helps you get tasks complete.

Analog clock or watch is easier for our brain to connect to the movement and duration of time.

Time is on your side when you manage time.

 

To maintain wellness

Fitbit tracks your activities, sleep and weight to help keep you accountable.  How much you rest and how much you exercise are contributing factors in wellness.  There are wrist and body fitbits for your needs.

Pandora is your personal radio where you set stations.  If you are motivated by music to get things done, you will enjoy having different stations for different types of activities including organizing!

Wellness is key to all of our lives.

 

adhd apps and tools

 

What apps do you use? I have my own list of favorites, as well as student apps and financial apps.   I’d love to learn what works for you!  These ADHD apps and tools make the most of using technology wisely and help us all live well.

6 Tech Tips for Holiday Organizing

tech tools for holiday organizing

 

Holidays can be merrier with by adding some tech help.  It’s these little ways to add organizing using your computer, tablet or smart phone.  Technology can help you with holiday organizing like lists, recipes, coupons and more.

 

Evernote for Christmas lists

Make it easy to keep all your lists with you all the time with Evernote.  You can add an item after each purchase, match up your purchases with those you are giving to, and keep up with what you gave last year.

 

Pinterest for holiday recipes

No need to keep paper recipes again! Search pinterest with the ingredients and you find all sorts of recipes for holiday baking and entertaining.

 

Genius scan or DocScan to scan and print receipts

Having trouble keeping up with holiday receipts?  Not sure where to keep your receipts? It’s easy with these apps. You can store them on your smart phone and in the cloud.  It’s easy to make returns this way too.

 

Bank app for keeping up your budget

Your bank app helps you stay on track for your holiday budget.  You can access funds, make deposits, and see where money has been spent.  It’s great to keep up to date with what you spend each day for gifts, entertaining and decorations.

Pandora for holiday music

I love Pandora! It gives you instant, free access to all the genres of the holidays. Download this on your smart phone or computer to enjoy holiday themes like holiday traditional, holiday country, or Today’s Christmas.

 

ShopSavvy or Amazon app to check prices

Want to be sure you are getting the  best deal? ShopSavvy and Amazon compare prices so you can check what the lowest price for your item is.

 

holiday tech apps

 

More holiday apps of all sorts!

What are your favorite holiday apps?

 

More holiday fun on Pinterest Happy Holidays!