The last time I suggested you try the 5 Minute Challenge, some of you responded with some quick things you do to gain a little order in your life. Here’s a new set of five things. Try them on for size and feel free to suggest a few of your own.
1. Make your bed. You’ll be happier, too.
2. Put your CDs and DVDs back on the shelf or in your media binder.
3. Clear your car of water bottles, paper, and trash.
4. Put your pens (or pencils or markers) in the pencil cup or desk drawer.
5. Shred all the credit card offer letters lying on your desk or kitchen table. Why?
Back at the beginning of October, I had the pleasure of interviewing new author, Paul David Pope, on the set of Inside Media at the Newseum in Washington, DC. My interview with Paul was planned, but talking with him on the set with the great lighting and comfy chairs wasn’t. It all came about because the fabulous person who’s the host of Inside Media, Ms. Sonya Gavankar. After she finished chatting with Paul about his family’s connections to the National Inquirer, she graciously offered her set to me.
I met Sonya for the first time that day, loved her bubbly and outgoing personality, and asked for an interview on the spot. I had no idea that she was crowned Miss DC in 1997 or that she’s an executive producer of the Miss DC Pageant. Nor did I know that that she’s also the president of HOBY, a foundation that brings free leadership programs to high schools students.
Have a look at our interview to hear how she stays stays on top of all her projects. Hint: she likes a specific application and mentioned that it saved her marriage!
The next community shred event has been scheduled for December 11, 2010. As usual, it’s FREE so take this opportunity to get rid of all that excess paper weight! If you live in the DC metro area, be sure to go to this event or pass on this info to your friends and family in DC, MD, or VA.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
NBC4 Safe & Secure Community Shred · Shred-It · PNC Bank
Time: 8 am – 11 am *Cars must be in line by 11 am
Where: Northern Virginia Community College @ Annandale, VA · Parking Lot B15 · 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annanndale, VA 22003 (703.323.3000) [Google Map]
- Up to 5 boxes of personal (non-business) papers
*DO NOT BRING*
- CD’s, DVD’s, Tapes
- Credit Cards
- Hanging File Folders
- Electronic Equipment
“A new survey from Xobni and Harris Interactive says 59% of employed American adults check their e-mail during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of the 59%, more than half (55%) check their work e-mails at least once a day, while about 28% check their e-mails multiple times throughout the day.”
Checking Work E-Mail During the Holidays? You’re Not Alone [STATS] | Mashable.com | 11.23.10
It’s a big holiday here in the US, so we’re taking the day off. For all those who celebrate Thanksgiving, we wish you safe and fun times.
Welcome to our regular “Transformers” feature (click link and scroll down to see them all). A transformer is a thing that started out as one thing, has been rehabbed, and now functions as another thing. A transformer can also be a thing that is really another thing all at the same time. Check out our latest find…
I love things that turn into other things! You get – if it works well – more than one function and something that might even be a nice conversation starter. It’s even better when that thing that turns into another thing is a tech type of thing. Ok, I promise to stop saying “thing” now. =)
So, this table is shaped like a cube and has several compartments for storing things (oops!) like magazines and books…or even a spot of tea…or potato chips…just about anything you want. It also has an outlet so you can charge your phone or iPod or whatever gadget you’ve got. All of this while it’s illuminating your room with a soft glow. Romantic, yes? ;) Oh, and it’s on wheels. What more could you ask for?
Check it out below and watch the YouTube video to see it in action. What would you store in this table?
Recently, I came across an article on Twitter, 27 Great Tips for Around the House, thanks to my friend and colleague, Lauren Halagarda. OMG! These lifehacks were pretty cool, like how to peel a banana, pick up broken glass, and how to keep cheese fresher longer.
And, then OMG! again when I found the update to this post, 16 Great Tips for Around the House. Here are four of my favorites from this list:
1. Organize Fishing Tackle. Who knew that you could organize your fishing tackle with a safety pin? [#3 on the list]
2. Save Your Twisty-Ties. Instead of simply collecting thousands of these ties, use them to organize your computer and TV cables.[#5 on the list]
3. Reuse Grocery Bags for Lunches. You know that bag of bags that just about every household has? Well, it’s time to really use them (instead of storing them just in case you might need them). Keep reusing them, but if you find your collection is still too large, take them back to the store. [#10 on the list]
4. Don’t Cry, It’s Just an Onion. Cut back on the tears when you cut an onion by putting in the freezer first for about 15 minutes. [#15 on the list]
“Going paperless – banking online, receiving bills and statements online, and paying those bills online – makes people happier. It reduces dissatisfaction with the companies sending those bills…even though some people hang onto paper like its some kind of crazy life preserver, when you get rid of the paper you are much less likely to be upset with any of the companies you deal with.“
Online Bill-Paying Makes People Happier, Research Shows | WalletPop.com | 5.20.10
The last time today’s guest blogger, Janice Simon, wrote an article for us, the topic was pretty serious. Today, she’s bound to make you chuckle as she presents the lighter, funnier side of organizing.
The leather chaps caught my eye, and not because I live in Texas.
The chaps were in a doctor’s private office and mixed in with papers, journals, and articles like it was a legal pad or something. A nurse gave him the chaps to wear when he rode his motorcycle, but instead of taking them home, they had become part of the stuff on his credenza.
Organizing is a funny business.
As a professional organizer, you go through people’s drawers and psyches and see everything. As a former newspaper reporter who covered police beat, nothing shocks me, but lots of things amuse me.
The Stuff You Find. Since I am an in-house organizer in a cancer hospital, I have found a myriad of things in people’s offices. In addition to breast pump bags and gym clothes, I’ve unearthed medical equipment, oodles of conference bags with materials inside, undeposited reimbursement checks, and a brain in a jar. I never saw the brain, but my client told me it might be in her piles.
The Negotiating. Clients and I negotiate what is going to be kept and what’s going out. One office client, who had rid herself of unnecessary paper and supplies, insisted on keeping a three-inch piece of string, no matter the arguments I gave to her. I asked, “What are you going to do? Calf rope a rat?”
As an organizer, you find yourself saying things such as, “If we recycle the empty yogurt containers, you’ll have room for your glasses on the shelf.”
The Procrastination Methods. Clients can brilliantly procrastinate. Doctors will pull academic journal articles about a topic, and I’ve worked with some who have pulled articles for two years looking for THE article. I suggest they write THE article, and they look at me with eyes full of thoughtful wonder and agreement.
Another client prefers sewing and fabric shopping over tackling large projects at work. For her, we negotiate those as rewards for tackling smaller steps of the project. When her project is completed, she can sew with a clear mind.
The Overwhelmed Client. Organizers work with lots of zombies. Just look at our overwhelmed and harried clients who can’t live without their Smart Phones. Take away their Smart Phones, and you’ll find yourself in a scene straight out of “Shaun of the Dead.”
Zombie symptoms include: not pushing an elevator button, talking on the cell in the bathroom (gross!), and reading e-mails in a meeting or at dinner.
We live in a world where talking to yourself is now okay. The day I passed someone talking to himself in a loud voice without a Bluetooth or cell phone, it was refreshing.
Finding a Home. In a hospital setting, I’ve helped clients make paper and digital files for just about everything. For one doctor, we made files by body part because that’s how he thought of his projects, and I found myself making folders for “kidney,” “prostate,” and “penis.” Yes, you heard me. At the time, I wondered how many other organizers had made a folder like that.
I’ve seen some complicated filing systems resembling geometry and algebra that we need to simplify because they wind up not using it. “So let’s make File 2009-11-1-3005MA into Medical Credentialing, okay?”
Like I said before, organizing is a funny business. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
About the Author
Janice Marie Simon, M.A., is a Project Director for Faculty Development at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Oklahoma and Texas and as a media coordinator for a public school district before joining M.D. Anderson. As a project director, she handles the planning for all of the department’s Faculty Development events and is a professional organizer. Janice is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. As an organizer, she makes presentations on organizing and time management and offers one-on-one organizing sessions for clients.