Physical clutter can damage your health. In a study done by the University of California Los Angeles, women who described their houses as cluttered, disorganized, disordered, or haphazard had daily patterns of the stress hormone cortisol that are normally associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue, and early mortality. These women were also more likely to feel depressed.
If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your wellbeing. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos, videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.
Keep reading more from Abby Quillen, as she shares how to organize digital clutter, including automating processes and organizing your digital past.
Have you been putting off your tax prep and filing? Breathe. Let's think through those files and piles together.
What's the solution?
Right this second it is all about buckling down and powering through to find the data you need in order to file. You do not have to suddenly create the perfect filing system. Just breathe, plan, and then let me know how I can help you develop a system that wipes out the worry.
This place of paperwork madness isn't any fun. Now is the time to move forward with a plan to work in the future. You can use your filing process to set up a system that makes sense to you and won't have you scrambling next year.
Think about how you sort the data you need. Take for example the receipts necessary for reimbursement from a Health Savings Account (HSA).
Take the way your mind thinks, or searches, for papers/receipts and set your filing up according to that. Can't quite visualize what those categories or files look like? Let's have a planning session - I'll bring the questions, you'll have the answers, and together we'll create a filing system that makes sense to you!
"What travels around the world while staying in one corner? (A stamp). Your brain will thank you for stamping out clutter when you make a commitment to doing it." - John Eggers
Thank you to John Eggers of The Bemidji Pioneer for this little riddle, and for sharing his personal angle on how clutter affects his life - and what he hopes to do about it! In his column he shares how a literal run-in with a deer mount and toy popgun gave him pause and new clarity when it comes to the need to gain control over one's surroundings.
Strategies for Everything from Popguns to Piles of Paperwork
As Eggers discusses, the theories and strategies for decluttering are almost as plentiful as the piles in our homes. In my experience, it isn't so much about choosing the strategy that is popular - like the current 40 bags in 40 days approach - as choosing the strategy that works for you.
So if those 40 bags are your answer to regaining the basement, go for it. But maybe you don't necessarily have so much stuff, you just don't have an approach for keeping it organized in your home or office. Perhaps you need a combination of pruning your piles and a new filing method. As I work with clients, I see that the only true strategy that will work is the one that resonates, is doable, and gets consistent results. Your strategy might not look anything like your sister's or neighbor's. That's OK.
Eggers also points out that research confirms what I see everyday - an organized environment is good for the brain. If you need help finding your best strategy (and in turn maybe some extra brain power), give me a call or send me an email and we can work on this goal together!
This week we recognized Presidents Day - and today I want to share a fascinating look at the (sometimes messy) desks of our country's leaders. Do piles of papers mean chaotic leadership? Or inspired thoughtfulness?
Over the years several studies have actually concluded that messy desks are signs of creative thinkers who are not restricted by confines of neat inboxes. But what about the desks in the Oval Office? From Carter and Kennedy to Obama and Trump, Julie Morgenstern walks us through her thoughts on the these famous desks.
"The truth is that people have different styles, and some work extremely well with a messy desk and other people don't work well at all," Morgenstern says. "But [a messy desk] doesn't make a good impression on anybody — it doesn't inspire confidence."
So maybe when it comes to desks, we aren't inspired when we see messy desks of others. We want to believe that they have everything under control. But in private our own chaos is a little more freeing? At least more personally acceptable if we know no one else will see it?
Keep reading the thought-provoking article and see what Julie has to say about these Presidential piles on famous desks, and what they say about the men who sit behind them!
Are you ready to say goodbye to 2015 for good? You have your taxes filed, with copies and back up documentation neatly filed away.....or is it? Between the paperwork for taxes and the hodgepodge of other documents we tend to hibernate in our offices and on our desks, it can be challenging to know what to do to tame the piles.
One of the most frequent questions I hear is, "What papers do I need to keep?" I've developed a downloadable "How Long Do I Need This?" paperwork guideline just for you! Get your copy HERE. It's helpful to keep the guidelines near your filing system. And if you're still looking for a system to tame the papers, check out my other posts or give me a call!
As always, if you have specific questions about the necessity of keeping certain papers please check with your accountant and/or legal counsel.
The U.S. income tax filing deadline is looming - are you ready? April 15th (or this year April 18th) is a date that strikes dread in the hearts of Americans. Even the carrot of a possible refund isn’t enough to motivate most of us to proactively tackle the paperwork in a timely fashion.
If you haven’t started your tax preparation, START NOW! Clear a space on the table or floor (one that doesn’t need to be used for a few days), grab a recycling container (or garbage can), a timer, and your pile/bin/box of papers. Set the timer for 15 minutes and proceed to do a quick sort of as much paper as you can on your flat space, being sure to weed out any non-essential papers.
If you are still gaining ground when the timer goes off, continue! If you are spinning your wheels then walk away and come back later – set the timer and continue where you left off in the last round. And when you're ready to get more organized so next year doesn't feel like such a rush, then give me a call and we'll get your paper-trail on the right track!
Do you ever wish you could go back in time because you just know that you saw that email as it drifted to your inbox, but you have no idea what happened to it after that? Our final February blog covers how to find those lost emails we've saved for future reference.
A significant 59% of middle managers say they miss valuable digital information EVERY day because they can't find it or don't see it. The fewer incoming emails there are the easier it is to pick out the relevant info vs. being inundated every time we check email (and I'm hoping we aren't doing it 36 times an hour but are sticking to our Email Budget!).
It all starts with stemming the tide of incoming emails by practicing the skills we've talked about earlier in the month.
Go back to the future, and have all the emails you need. But how?
Categorize incoming email correctly. How do we categorize correctly? By naming files and folders in a way that make sense to us as individuals. Take a minute to ask yourself the following questions:
Time flies! It's been 5 years since I took the Freedom Filer Certification course in San Diego after attending the NAPO conference. A full 8 hours of learning the system, the color coding, and the logic behind a self-purging home, and now business, filing system. In all honesty, I was attracted to Freedom Filer because it mirrored the way I've had my own business and personal filing systems set up for decades.
If you've worked with me or attended a workshop you'll remember that I'm quick to say it isn't products that will solve our organizing dilemmas; it's making the tough decisions about what we are keeping - and I stand behind that sentiment. The Freedom Filer system facilitates not only the question of WHERE to file, but WHAT to file, and HOW LONG to keep it! The color coding is great for those of us visually oriented, and the clearly defined process makes it easy to ask, answer, and take action on all paper questions.
5 years of paper organizing experience between the Certification Course and now has increased my appreciation for the Freedom Filer system. While complex at first glance, Freedom Filer has the capacity to be as simple as minimal folders for personal use right up to expanding into multiple businesses building off the same system. It also has a 90 day money back guarantee.
Want to know if Freedom Filer will work for you? Email or call me today - let's talk!
Already using Freedom Filer, or another system that you love (or love to hate!)? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who