Have you ever thought, “How am I ever going to get through all of these emails?”
They really do pile up and I’m here to help. My inspirations was this video and my inbox hasn’t been the same since. Skip to below the video if you don’t have time to watch it.:
Here is the basic premise from Karen Leland. Click her name and you can read her full article.:
Delete: If an email sits in your in-box waiting to be worked on for days, weeks, or even months, you may be putting off the completion of the item for several reasons including: It is too big to handle as is and needs to be broken down into bite size chunks; the item is not clearly defined enough for you to take action on; it is something you don’t really, want, need or intend to do. If this last reason fits, there is no shame in hitting the delete button and saying so-long to that message muddling up your inbox.
Delegate: Just because you received the email message, does not mean you have to be the one to execute it. A great strategy for clearing out your in-box is to transfer it to someone else’s. Considerations, of course, need to be given to the other person’s availability, ability and willingness, but the option of passing on a piece of the work to someone else is a real one. Ask yourself if you really need to be the one to handle an item?
Defer: Many items in your in-box are good ideas you would like to follow up on - just not now. Instead of letting the someday item sit in your active in-box file, create a ‘to do’, ‘pending’ or ‘someday’ folder where you can keep tabs on messages you may want to take action on at some point in the future.
By reflecting on your priorities, goals and commitments you can more easily determine which bits and pieces don’t require action today, but can be put off until tomorrow. The key is to immediately clear the item out of your in-box and move it to another file where you can easily retrieve it when you are ready to work on it.
Ask yourself, Is it essential or important that this be done today or can it wait? Would there be any serious negative consequences if I delayed doing this item?
Exercise: Five Minutes To A Cleaner Inbox
Open your email in-box and then set your watch, alarm clock, computer or iphone on a five-minute timer. Now, starting from the top (the latest email) go through and see how many items you can get completed and moved out of your mailbox using the four D’s - Do, Delete, Delegate or Defer.
I hope this helps you and that this will be a step toward a zeroed out inbox!
Do you have a room that is just always overwhelming and you’re not sure how to organize it? Send me a picture or describe the room that you want to organize or unclutter and I will happily and humbly give you some tips and strategies to help.
In regards to your post "Do You Need Organizing Help?":
My bedroom!!! I'm 16 years old and naturally I have a lot of stuff, but I can't part with most of it!
Part one: I have a bookcase that's overflowing with books. Some aren't mine but it's the main bookcase in our house. I also have little nicknacks and stuffed animals on the top shelf.
Part two: I have a looooot of craft/scrapbooking stuff! I've created a space under my loft bed for it, but I don't know what type of shelving/cubbie system to use. I have my art supplies seperated into different boxes, but right now they're just sitting in a bucket which isn't exactly organized (or aesthetically appealing!)
Part three: The desk of doom! Well, I don't exactly have my desk in my room yet...it's in the garage, but I'm working on getting it upstairs! haha. It's important that my desk is organized because I'll be working there quite often, seeing as I'm homeschooled. I have a lot of work books and papers and right now they're just in piles!
I hope you can help!
I’d love to help! Thank you for asking these terrific questions. Well done!
Part One: The first thing to do with the bookcase is to take every single book off of it. Dust the shelves and clean them. The next thing is the tough part: sort the books into piles: to keep, and to donate. If the books belong to other folks bring them into the process. Be honest with yourself. If you’ll never read something again, or if it’s very damaged, than it’s time to donate.
The stuffed animals need their own shelf, but only keep what you really like. Maybe you can move the stuffed animals to a separate shelf (like an installed shelf in the wall) so you can really see them. Knicknacks are troublesome. Do they just collect dust, or do you really enjoy them? If you love every single one of them, than make a little box shelf for them that can showcase them well.
Part Two: Get rid of that bucket! This is one of those times when a trip to Target is in order. You should have a drawer system (there are some great plastic ones at Target) where all of your stuff is compartmentalized. They sell a really cute, multi-color organizing cart.
Part Three: The desk of doom. I’d highly recommend putting books and papers in a small cubby (see Target) so that they aren’t cluttering up your desk. Get a whole puncher so loose papers can be put into adorable notebooks. I love color when I am organizing and I bet you do too. Put pens and supplies together. A tin can will do as a pen/pencil holder and a file box can be useful too.
I’ll post some pictures of cubbies and organizing carts on my tumblr site. I hope this helps!
It’s been a crazy week and my house is absolutely a wreck. I know why I’ve let this happen. I’m totally stressed about some stuff in my life: relationships, bills, work and family. I’ve let it get the better of me and I am overwhelmed.
I have some time today, so I am going to whip my house back in shape. It will be hard though, because I am feeling a little exhausted by my worries and stress. It’s as if my home illustrates what I am feeling inside. Well, that’s what it is.
I also know that if my house is back in order, some of that stress will be averted. I hate being in a messy house, so I am going to do this for my own well-being.
Paperwork is the bane of our existence. It seems there is a never ending supply of bills, junk mail, product information, etc.
I have a few strategies that work for me:
When I get my mail, I throw out or recycle all of the junk mail in the mail room before I even enter my apartment. The same can be done in your house. Don’t let it land on a table. Dispose of that stuff immediately. If you can find it online, you don’t need the physical copy.
Sort the mail into several neat piles: bills, health bills and pharmacy receipts, coupons and sales information, receipts, as well as any other correspondence.
Put the coupons and sales information in an envelope or accordian file that is clearly labeled, or label a ziploc bag and toss them in. Make sure and go through them periodically, as they expire.
Bills should have a colorful rubber band around them to show that they are priority items.
Receipts should have their own file or neatly labeled container. That should be sorted regularly too.
I highly recommend investing in a good scanner that reads text (OCR) and convert important documents into a digital format, so that you don’t have to keep the physical copy. NeatDesk is pricey, but it is probably the highest quality system on the market.
SET ASIDE SOME TIME
It’s very important that you set aside a block of time for yourself to sit down and sort through your pile of papers. Pay the bills and go through receipts and coupons. If you do one thing at a time, it will go faster and be much more efficient. Converting bills to paperless online, will also substantially cut down on the actual paper you accumulate.
Scanning and regular sorting, makes it much easier to save important documents like tax documents and health insurance statements. I have several notebooks where I store older papers that I want hard copies of. Every year or so, I go through them and toss things I no longer need and put in other documents. At some point, I plan on scanning every document, so I have a copy at the ready.
However you decide to file things, make it fun and pretty. It sounds silly, but a bright colored filling system, or colorful notebooks is a great way to make organizing pleasant and pleasant to look at.
All of this work deserves high praise. Pat yourself on the back and have some hot cocoa and a cookie. It’s time to party.
When my house gets a little messy, I often invite people over. What? Invite people Over? Yes!
Scheduling a party makes me that much more motivated to get my house in order. I want people to see my house at it’s best, so I run around washing dishes and picking up until the house is in good shape.
When I look around my apartment after a particularly chaotic or stressful week, I am often dumbfounded by what a mess it is. I am sometimes overwhelmed, but I know that I have a place for things and if I put them away, I will feel better.
LESS IS MORE
The other issue that comes up for me, when I see a lot of things around me is that I want less things. Having too much, tends to crowd out any positive feelings you may have about your home. I often ask myself, “Do I really need this or do I even like it?”. If the answer is no, it’s time to make a bag of things to take to your favorite charity.
TAKE STUFF OUT BEFORE YOU PUT NEW STUFF IN
Bringing new gadgets or doodads into your home can also cause a lot of stress, unless you get rid of older things at the same time.
I feel more creative and at peace when I have just what I need around me. Even if you have made some shopping mistakes, there is no reason to hold onto something just because you feel guilty.
Your things do not define you, but they may contribute to anxiety, sadness and stress.
We all get distracted from time to time. Life seems to be filled with multi-tasking and we are constantly on call with smartphones, email, texts, hungry mouths to feed, you name it.
Does multi-tasking work? I think it doesn’t.
When you are doing ten things at once, it’s almost impossible to give enough attention to any one thing to do it well. Here is an excerpt from an article in the LA Times:
Executives everywhere struggle with the mass of responsibilities, projects, reports and meetings that add up to information overload. The only option, they reason, is to multitask.
There is just one problem with that approach, writes Douglas Merrill, former chief information officer at Google Inc.: It doesn’t work.
With a PhD in psychology and cognitive sciences, Merrill has the credentials to tell us how the brain functions in a stressful business environment and how to organize our thought processes for success.
"Multitasking usually makes you less efficient," he writes, because "the brain is especially inept at memorizing bits of information."
The best way to conquer that feeling of overwhelm, when you are doing ten things at once, is to stop and take an assessment of what you have to do. Creating a workable solution and setting aside small blocks of time to concentrate on one thing at a time can save you a lot of mental anguish and frustration.
Here are some examples of how to streamline multiple tasks:
Prep a lasagna and put it in the oven.
While it is cooking, pay your bills.
Take the lasagna out to cool.
Read your emails.
Put a portion of the lasagna in the fridge or freezer so that you will have leftovers for the week (cutting down on cooking time)
Give your children an art project and turn on some music.
Fold your laundry and put it away.
These are just some suggestions for how to move away from multi-tasking. Everyone will have their own system and needs. My hope is that by concentrating on one thing at a time, you will be able to be more efficient and focused.