Please give a warm welcome to past guest blogger, Helene Segura, and check out her tips below on how to go about finding your next favorite app.
What’s the best calendar app? What’s the best app for to do lists?
What’s the best app for ____________ ?
Most folks are underwhelmed by the first part of my answer: The best app is the one that works for you.
When they allow me to explain myself, they begin to see that there is not a single magic cure-all for everyone in the world. Everyone has a different personality, different finger dexterity, different phone/tablet features, and different needs, so an app that works wonders for your friend, might not deliver the same results for you.
My clients who find that apps don’t help them have the following similarities:
- They don’t know their goals.
- They download a popular app they’ve heard about, but haven’t read up on various apps to know what their choices are.
- They try out an app for only one week – never really getting “into the groove” and learning what it can do.
- They switch apps every week, always trying to find the latest and greatest tool. But, they never make progress because they’re hopping around instead of digging in.
Your best bet is to go through the following steps to find an app which will suit your needs:
Determine what you are trying to accomplish with the app
- What have you not been able to do successfully?
- What do you want this app to be able to do for you?
Answer those two questions and you’ll be well on your way to figuring out the kind of app you need.
Do Some Research
- Read two or three reviews or “Top 10″ lists from reliable sources (PC World, Mashable, TechLearning, etc. ).
- Based on your goals and research, determine which two apps would most likely meet your needs.
- Download them. Give the “lite” versions a try. Many paid apps have at least a limited free trial period.
The first week is usually trial and error and getting used to the functions of the application.
- Test App #1 for two weeks. Reflect on what you like and don’t like.
- Test App #2 for two weeks. Reflect on what you like and don’t like.
- Based on your trial runs, which app will best suit your needs?
Once you’ve made your choice, use it. Every day. An app can help you only if its tools are utilized. If in six months, your life and needs change, you can go through the process again to find your next favorite app.
About The Author
Productivity expert, Helene Segura, helps people get control of their stressful living and working spaces by teaching clients how to understand their core issues causing disorganization and thereby prevent it in the future. She is a Certified Professional Organizer® who has provided coaching for clients as varied as authors, physicians, artists, students, teachers, domestic engineers, and business owners.
Helene also conducts informative organizing workshops for larger groups such as non-profits, schools and businesses, and serves on the trailblazing team providing organizing help online at The Clutter Diet. She has been a featured organizing expert in publications such as Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as on Fox, CBS, and NBC affiliates. Helene is the author of Less Stress for Teachers: More Time & An Organized Classroom.
Buy Helene’s Book
I’m on a mini-sabbatical and will be re-sharing some of my fave OTR articles and re-introducing you to some favorite OTR guest authors, like Helene Segura. She has advice for parents on how they can help their children tackle educational challenges.
It’s a tough job for parents to walk that line between being a non-participant in their child’s education and being overzealous. The latter calls teachers at all hours of the day and night to ask why their child only made an eighty-nine on a homework assignment that they stayed up all night completing for their child.
The former waits until the last week of school to ask what makeup work can be done so their kid can pass – ignoring the twice monthly requests on progress reports and report cards to call to discuss their child’s grades.
You reside somewhere in the middle. You were as supportive as possible, but tried not to pry too much. You kept up with communications from the school and attended all meetings and events in which your child was involved. But when the first semester report card arrived, you were disappointed with and extremely concerned about the results. Either there were one or more failing grades, or the averages had nose-dived by five or more points.
There are a variety of factors that could have caused the changes, many of which you’ve probably mulled over while scratching your head:
1. Does my child have a learning disability that I never before noticed?
2. Are the teachers being unfair?
3. Is my child not telling me everything that’s happening in class?
4. Is my child experiencing some type of emotional or behavioral struggle?
5. Has my child started “hanging out” with the wrong crowd?
One question that is often not asked, however, is “Has my child reached a point where his/her organizational skills no longer meet the challenges s/he faces?”
As adults, we often heap on more commitments and responsibilities and sometimes push ourselves to the breaking point. We’ve managed to develop coping skills because we’ve been doing this for decades. Kids lack the lifelong experience that we have, and we sometimes forget that they need to regroup and recharge more often than we do.
Organizationally, there are many avenues to explore, but the challenges often trace back to two core issues: lack of time management and lack of structure.
To begin addressing these challenges, take a look at:
1. Your child’s extra curricular schedule.
By the time you factor in practice time, commute time, chores and eating, how much time is left for studying and fun? As adults, we tend to deny ourselves of the fun; it’s crucial that kids do not. I typically find with my clients that homework is supposed to be done on the go – in between practices or in the car. Those are not environments that are conducive to uninterrupted study periods. I encourage those clients to set up a specific amount of time at home each night so that their kids can focus. Sometimes that means shelving one of their activities.
2. Your child’s study area.
Do your children have a specific area where they can do their homework? Is there a desk or table where they can write? Are there supplies located there so that your kiddos don’t have to hunt all over the house for what they need? Having a designated spot allows your children to focus on the task of studying instead of killing time trying to find a place to get settled. When it comes to studying, they shouldn’t be nomadic; they need a home base.
3. Your child’s routines.
Even the most creative, right-brained children thrive on routine. Tasks don’t necessarily need to be completed at the exact same time each day, but they should be completed. If necessary, have a task check list in the kitchen, in their bedroom, and/or on the front door to help them remember what needs to be done each day. Whether diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or nothing at all, my clients who struggle the most with keeping up rely on checklists in multiple places, including their smartphone.
If the report card was not what was expected, it’s time for a sit-down with your child. Depending on the age, this might be while cuddling during Mommy and Me time or in between gaming sessions of Call of Duty. The important thing is to open up the lines of communication.
Discuss the three points above. If it doesn’t solve your child’s issues, it will at least act as a springboard into what is causing their struggles.
About the Author
LivingOrder San Antonio CEO, Helene Segura, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and Certified Productive Environment Specialist™. A former award-winning teacher turned organizing and productivity consultant, Segura’s book, Less Stress for Teachers: More Time & An Organized Classroom, addresses the thinking behind how to overcome “the overwhelm” that teachers feel on a daily basis. It’s a thinking pathway that helps teachers bust through the emotional, psychological and organizational walls that prevent them from utilizing planners and other tools.
Thinking of joining the organizing industry or know someone who has a natural talent for creating order and helping others? It can be a very rewarding and satisfying career. Certified Professional Organizer®, Helene Segura, explains why she loves being an organizer.
Oh, Professional Organizing Career, How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways.
I love to see and hear client reactions at the end of an appointment. The most rewarding experience I consistently have is seeing the light bulbs go off for my clients. By the end of their first session, they know what they need to do, and they know that an organized life is on the horizon. The two things I commonly hear are, “That wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be,” followed by, “My life is about to get so much better.” It’s that hopeful smile at the end of each appointment or workshop that makes it all worth it.
I love a challenge.
I thrive on problem solving. I enjoy digging my way to the root of a problem and finding the easiest and most beneficial solution. It’s like an addiction almost. I crave it. I solve it. I go to cloud nine.
I love learning.
I love to research and find out about the latest in organizing products or psychological theories and approaches or what the newest great resource in San Antonio is. Every time I meet someone, I learn about a new type of personality, a new situation, a new type of business, or a new life direction. I impart a lot of knowledge to my clients, but I also learn so much from them.
I love to see lives change for the better.
- Families stop bickering because we’ve reached a compromise on household order
- Clients end up with more money in their pockets because they no longer had to buy duplicates or triplicates or pay late fees on bills and credit cards
- Children’s grades improve because we set up a realistic study and paper management system
- Clients develop healthy eating habits because they can find the ingredients and supplies that they need in their kitchen without a struggle
- Smiles because clients have peace in their lives
In a nutshell, I love my job because I wake up happy everyday.
My job is incredibly gratifying. I know there are many people out there who don’t truly love what they do for a living, so I realize that I am blessed to have found my calling. I love that I am able to teach people, solve problems, and bring happiness to their lives. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
About the Author
Certified Professional Organizer®, Helene Segura, is the owner of LivingOrder® San Antonio. She teaches clients how to understand their core issues causing disorganization and thereby prevent it in the future. She also conducts organizing workshops for larger groups and is a member of the trailblazing team providing expert organizing help online at The Clutter Diet. Helene writes an organizing column for ezine Concierge and has been a featured organizing expert in articles in the San Antonio Express-News, as well as on Great Day S.A. on KENS TV.
Get More Information
Studies have shown that most New Year’s resolutions are forgotten soon after the new year begins. Certified Professional Organizer®, Helene Segura, shares a few tips on how you can keep your resolution to stay organized.
As December was ending and January approached, you were excited about the prospect of your New Year’s resolution: Get Organized! When the after Christmas sales started, you ran out and bought every container imaginable: huge bins, tiny boxes, and those cute little containers that just looked absolutely perfect in the display.
You dove head-on into your first project. You tore up a room, spread stuff out everywhere – and then got stuck. So you moved on to another room. And spread stuff out everywhere. Before you knew it, you had more clutter in more places than before you started. Sound familiar? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. You were in the state of inspiration and then crossed the border into the state of overwhelm. If you want to leave this state and jump back on the decluttering wagon, here are five ways to help yourself get back on track:
1. Take a deep breath. While the task ahead may seem daunting, it is not impossible. Relax as much as you can and stay positive.
2. Acknowledge the fact that your organizing projects will not be complete overnight. It took time for your clutter to build up, so it will take time to declutter. Decide if you want to devote a couple of long weekends to your project or if you want to work in small chunks of time each day.
3. Pick one room. And stick to it. If you hop around from area to area, it will seem like you’re not getting anything done, and that will deflate your enthusiasm. If you concentrate on just one area, you’ll see visible progress.
4. Divide your room up into sections. Either mentally (in your head) or literally (on paper) draw dividers in your chosen room. Create a clock pattern and work your way from 6:00 to 7:00 to 8:00 – and so on – all the way back around to 6:00 again. Or, divide the room into a checkerboard and work on one square at a time. Cover the room with sheets if the sight of the rest of your stuff distracts you. Just chip away slowly but surely.
5. Reward yourself at the end of each session. So many times we focus on what we didn’t get done, and that negativity brings us down. Instead, focus on what you did accomplish and celebrate that progress.
Rome wasn’t built in a day…or two…or even three. It takes time to build solid foundations. Pick yourself up by your boot straps and hop back up on the decluttering wagon. The road to organization might be a bit bumpy at times, but the end destination will be worth the journey.
About the Author
Helene Segura is the owner of LivingOrder® San Antonio. She teaches clients how to understand their core issues causing disorganization and thereby prevent it in the future. She also conducts organizing workshops for larger groups and is a member of the trailblazing team providing expert organizing help online at The Clutter Diet. Helene writes an organizing column for ezine Concierge and has been a featured organizing expert in articles in the San Antonio Express-News, as well as on Great Day S.A. on KENS TV. To get more information, visit her website at www.LivingOrderSA.com or follow her tweets on Twitter.
Get More Information