Best Wishes for 2017 and effectiveness review

January is the time to review my theme of the year that was effectiveness. Indeed each year, instead of a list of good resolutions, I choose a theme and I work on it.

Thus in 2016 I tried to be more efficient and especially to reduce my social media consumption. I have learnt several tips to be more productive such as using my phone to develop good habits or doing straightaway tasks that can be completed in two minutes.

This year, I have given birth to a baby girl who has made me stop wasting my time, in real life and on the Internet. There’s nothing better than a baby to help you to disconnect!

For 2017, I had no difficulties in finding a theme: it will be organisation. My goal is to be more organised to do what i have to do while taking care of a small baby. Incidentally, I’d like to find time to draw and blod… and manage to eat somthing else than raviolis.

I wish you a Happy New Year!


illustrated Best Wishes card

Version française

I stop the social media race

As I’m questioning my use of social media, I’m writing this article about the different networks I have tested and how to use them well.

It started with Facebook a few years ago. Then I tried Pinterest, Bloglovin, Twitter and Instagram. I met interesting people, I read interesting articles thanks to those social media but I also wasted a lot of time. At the moment, Snapchat is the thing. A few months ago, it was Instagram. When reading bloggers asking their readers to follow them on Snapchat, I realised that it’s an endless cycle. Every year, there will be a new trendy social network that will eclipse the others… until the next one.

I don’t intend to subscribe to 50 social media, especially as I realise that some of them didn’t bring me anything. When you have a blog, it’s normal to be active on the main social networks. But my aim is to be more selective from now. You don’t have to subscribe to all social media. I think it’s good to chose them depending on your interests. For example I don’t do videos so there is no use for me to subscribe to Youtube. On the contrary, Instagram is interesting to share my drawings and pictures. And logically I won’t subscribe to Snapchat because I don’t see what it could bring to me.

comic: snapchat

Besides social media have a major drawback for me: they generate a huge waste of time. Social media are the worst ennemies of the procrastinator. Especially as their conceptors do everything they can to make us addicted (this article explains how). When you look at people having their nose in their phone, it seems they have succeeded.

So how to stop wasting your time on those addictive and time-consuming websites?

* Putting things into perspective

Social media are very useful tools but they can have negative effects: envy when people display their wealth, frustration when people show their seemingly perfect life, cult of thinness concealed behind the ‘healthy’ trend, hidden marketing, judging people by their number of followers… It’s worth reviewing the positive and the negative that social media bring to you. And why not sorting out and unfollowing some accounts that don’t make you feel good.

* Disconnecting

Total disconnection was the choice of instagramer Essena O’Neill. In 2015, her tell-all video created buzz online. She denounced the fact that social media are fake, people are defined by numbers and social media have become a business. Then she deleted all her social media accounts. This is a radical but efficient way to save time.

drawing with a quote by Essena O'Neill: You don't have to prove your life on instagram for it to be a good life

* Detox

Temporarily disconnecting, during a weekend or a month, can get you to realize how much time you save when you’re not connected. If it’s too difficult, you can also define a maximum number of hours per day to spend online.

* Setting limits

You can set some rules regarding the use of social media. For example:
– no smartphone in your bedroom
– no social media at certain times of the day (during the meals, one hour before bedtime…)
– turning off notifications on your smartphone

The best is to write your ‘rules’ on a paper that will stay right in front of your eyes.

As for me, I have reduced my social media consumption but I deserve no special credit: I have taken advantage of my soul-searching, some social media boredom and the current decline of traditional social media to connect less often and I’m happy to save some precious time smoothly.

drawing: I've finished my article that criticises social media! The only thing left for me to do is to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin, Instagram, Pinterest...

Version française

Best Wishes for 2016 (and anti-procrastination review)

Here is the end of the year and it’s time for a review of my 2015 resolution. My theme of the year was action which implied eliminating procrastination.

Of course, I haven’t totally stopped procrastinating but I have managed to limit the damage.

So I share with you what helps me fighting procrastination:

* Publish my resolution on this blog

When I announced my resolution on my blog, I knew that I would write a review one year after and I didn’t want to fail publicly.

* Useful procrastination

* Anti-procrastination slogans

I have inspiring quotes and anti-procrastination slogans written on my to-do list and on my desktop.


drawing : just do it as an anti-procrastination motto

* Looking at the bigger picture

It’s asking questions : Why am I procrastinating now? What am I avoiding?

It’s also thinking of what could make me proud of myself this evening.

* Reading Zen Habits blog

As the name suggests, this blog gives advice on how to get into good habits while being zen.

* Realising that procrastination is an everyday struggle

That also means that if you fail one day, you can still succeed the following day.

* My guilt-free motto: ‘It’s never too late to do good’


Having learned a lot, I would like to continue my investigations so I have chosen effectiveness as theme of the year.

I wish you a Happy New Year and Effectiveness in realising your dreams 🙂


Best Wishes card illustrated with a Christmas tree and a little girl watching stars

Version française

Useful procrastination

My theme for this year being action, I am currently testing methods against procrastination. For the moment, the techniques I have tried are not efficient in the long run. No magic bullet then but there is a technique that is working well for me. I call it useful procrastination.

I give you an example. I don’t like cleaning indows. I do it the less often possible. However in one particular case, I enjoy cleaning the windows: it is when I have to research a particularly boring topic on the Internet. So instead of researching my topic, I do the windows. Suddenly window cleaning seems almost pleasant compared to boring topic researching.

The idea is to take advantage of procrastinating to do something useful. It can be cleaning, tidying, sorting papers, making phone calls etc. The important thing is to do something useful even if you don’t do what you planned at first.

And as for me, I know there will soon be a new urgent and dull task (some bookkeeping for example) that will make my research on the Internet look so much more attractive.

Drawing of a character asking: Are you sure that updating your facebook status is not useful procrastination?

Version française

Tidy and Unclutter Tips

Click the picture below to download my best Tidy and Unclutter Tips (in PDF format).

Tidy and Unclutter Tips

It’s a small book that gathers some pieces of advice I have tested and validated in order to sort out the mess. Of course, the mess often tries to come back but now I can manage it.

I have also tried to illustrate those hints but the characters I have drawn have not wanted to take my advice and have started clowning around. Please don’t imitate them as they show what not to do.

The document I’m sharing here is neither for organized people nor for happily disorganized people. But if you are fed up with mess, I hope some hints will be able to help you.
Finally, here is an extract from my Tidy and Unclutter Tips with my favourite word of advice: Persevere!

Perseverance

click on the picture to enlarge it

PS : If you can’t read the PDF document, download Adobe Reader
PPS : Feel free to write your feedback in the comments section

Version française

Any tidying ahead?

I am putting the finishing touches to a tool to help tidying and decluttering. The objective is to gain space, be more efficient and more zen thanks to a good tidying.

My ‘tool’ will be ready in early September. If you want to be the first to know when it is released, subscribe to my newsletter by entering your email address in the top-right of this page.

drawing of tools


Update 2012-09-11: It’s published! Click below to discover my

Tidy and Unclutter Tips

Version française

The pleasure of getting organized

Some time ago, a reader of my blog asked me how to enjoy getting organized and not to be discouraged by the enormity of the task. I have racked my brain to answer the best I can.

The pleasure is in the result

To be honest, sometimes getting organized is no pushover. I would even say it often deeply bores me. For me the pleasure of organization comes mainly from the result. I don’t especially take pleasure in getting organized but I am happy when I find my glasses at the first attempt, remember my friends’ birthdays or pay my bills on time and this way avoid late payment fees. That’s what motivates me. When I feel my resolve weakening, I think of all the positive effects of organization.

the day when I found a check while sorting out my books
comic: Getting organized can even bring in money

Get organized progressively

In order to avoid working to exhaustion, and to fight procrastination, get organized little by little. Start with one task, for example tidying the surface of your desk. Then try dedicating 5 minutes per day to tidying your desk. It’s easier to motivate yourself to do something that takes only 5 minutes. After one or two weeks in a row, when you’re at ease with this habit, you can launch into a new task, for example sorting out the shoes that clutter up the hall etc. Once a task has become a habit, you do it automatically and it becomes as easy as brushing your teeth before going to sleep.

Choose tasks that have an impact

I haven’t taken the example of tidying the top of your desk at random. Thare are some tasks that let us see a difference right away. Having a neat desk enables to focus more easily. In the same way, when I remove everything that lies around on the kitchen table, I feel I can see more clearly, it puts me in a good mood and it motivates me to keep tidying. A few leads if you want to have a positive effect rapidly: clearing work surfaces, sorting mail, writing a shopping list, preparing the evening before what you must take the following day…

Get organized in a playful way

I stop at nothing to add fun to my organization: decorated boxes, multicoloured folders, a planner with inspiring quotes… I regularly tidy the virtual desktop of my computer, just to see the desktop picture of my holidays.
Treating yourself to small rewards is another way to get motivated. For example, I give myself 5 minutes to answer my e-mails and then in exchange I spend 5 minutes reading my favorite blogs.

home-made folders

After having fun making my own folders, putting my papers in order inside has seemed less tedious to me


If you have other ideas to enjoy getting organized, your comments are welcome.

Version française

EssentialPIM, a personal assistant

I have tested EssentialPIM at a friend’s suggestion. It is an organization program that you can download free from the Internet. PIM stands for “Personal Information Manager”. This software manages your schedule, your notes, your to do list, your address book and your e-mails in one place.

weekly schedule and to do list
weekly schedule and to do list (click on the pictures to enlarge them)


My testing

EssentialPIM is composed of several pages: the recapitulative page of the current day, the schedule, the to do list, the notes, the contacts’ list and the e-mail client. I have started with writing my appointments and dates to remember in the schedule. After, I have copied my writings in the Notes category and I have organized them by subject: menu ideas, films to see and books to read, blog, information about my different activities…
Then I have entered the birthdays and contact details of the people I know in Contacts. Each birthday is added automatically to the schedule and it is possible to set a reminder a few days before.
Copying everything takes time and is tedious but I will save time on the long range. For each contact, you can record his address, e-mail, phone numbers, personal information but also some annotations and pictures.

EssentialPIM can manage your e-mails too but I don’t use this function because I already have an email client.
Finally, you can create a to do list. Each task is assigned a date, a priority and a color code (for example important tasks are highlighted in red). Once a task is finished, you cross it out, like you would cross out a task on a paper to do list. But I admit that it is less exhilarating than vindictively striking out a chore that had stayed for months on my list of ongoing projects.

address book
address book



My opinion of EssentialPIM


I like:

* EssentialPIM can be used intuitively. No need for a user guide.

* the schedule that I find clear and that shows the current day, week or month or the 3 coming days. You can print each view.

* the detailed address book

* the notes that you can organize by theme


* the to do list that is on the same page as the schedule


I don’t like:

* The task reminder makes only a noise. As I often mute the volume on my computer, I don’t hear the reminders.


Well I have found only one downside. Might as well say that I am satisfied with this software and that I will keep on using it. I think that this planning tool is very convenient if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer. In case you are interested, I have described the method for downloading the free version of EssentialPIM.

Notes
Notes


How to download EssentialPIM


To download the software, I visit the download page of the website:

http://www.essentialpim.com/get-epim
There is a portable version that allows you to save your EssentialPIM on a USB flash drive. I have chosen the free desktop version, EssentialPIM Free. I click on the EssentialPIM Free link in order to download it.

The installation program is downloaded on my computer.

I close all open windows before double-clicking on EssentialPIM3.exe

I just follow the directions. At the end, the program is added to the Start Menu and an “EssentialPIM” icon appears on the desktop.

The only things left for me to do are run EssentialPIM, choose the language (in the Tools menu) and start organizing my personal planner.

Version française

Organization websites

Some people are naturally organized. For those who do not have this gift, there are websites about organization. These websites give tips that will help you learn to get organized. Here are some sites that have helped me to struggle with my mess.

Flylady offers hints for getting rid of your clutter, and putting your home and life in order:
http://www.flylady.net/


The Flylady newsletter features daily organizing tips. It suggests ways to order some organization tools, but you can follow the advice without buying anything.
http://www.flylady.net/join.asp


A guide that explains how to tidy each room of your home and your office:
http://www.123sortit.com/ 


An interactive site with many articles about how to get organized in every field:

http://organizedhome.com/


The blog of Maria-Garcia, a professional organizer:
http://www.getorganizednow.com/blog/


A website emphasizing savings and voluntary simplicity: 
http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm

All of these sites have given me many ideas and I like to read them. However, there is something wrong: If I did my job instead of spending hours reading organization sites, I would not be so overworked!

 

never-ending to-do list

 

The 7 Habits of Very Organized People

This is a text by Maria Garcia, a professional organizer about the 7 Habits of Very Organized People:


Have you ever wondered how some people could be so very organized, when you’re struggling on a daily basis just to get your home looking halfway presentable and to get at least a few items checked off of your To Do list?

Most organized people follow a few simple rules. Here are the 7 habits of very organized people.

1. They have a place for everything. Every item they have has a consistent, assigned home. The home for books is on the book shelf. The home for toys is in the toy room on the toy shelves. The home for blank greeting cards is in the greeting card organizer in the office.

2. They put things back. Whenever an item has been removed from its assigned home, it is used for whatever reason and then immediately returned to its home when no longer in use. There are no temporary holding places. It’s just put back where it belongs, right away.

3. They write things down. Organized people make lists and notes, and keep these in one consistent place such as a planner, notebook or calendar. They don’t try to remember things in their heads. They let the pen and paper (or the computer) work for them. They reference their lists and notes on a daily basis. Many use the Get Organized Now! Easy Organizer as a tool:
http://www.getorganizednow.com/ezorganizer.html

4. They don’t allow papers to pile up. Papers to file are filed each day, not left to grow into mountains. Mail is opened over the recycle container so papers not needed don’t even have a chance to multiply. Kids permission slips are signed right away and sent back to school with the kids. Bills are tucked into a bill paying system until bill paying day, and paid bill statements are filed away that day. Magazines are read within a week or two and then recycled or donated.

5. They don’t procrastinate. When something has to be done, organized people schedule time to do it and then they keep that scheduled appointment. They know that the more they delay, the more likely deadlines will be missed or opportunities will pass.

6. They set goals and assign deadlines. They know if they want to get things done, they need to know exactly what they want the end result to be and by what date. They review these goals often and set aside time each day to work on achieving them. They review what they’ve accomplished and never forget to reap the rewards.

7. They only keep what they use and/or they enjoy. They can’t stand anything taking up space that doesn’t have a useful or pleasurable purpose in their lives. They’re big believers in simplicity. They breathe easier knowing they’ve lightened their loads and can move easily without having to climb over boxes and piles of clutter.

by Maria Gracia – Get Organized Now!™
Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now!™ Idea-Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now!™ Web site
http://www.getorganizednow.com

Editors and publishers are free to reprint this article as long as it’s reprinted in its entirety and the signature line remains intact.

Please direct a courtesy copy to getorgnow@charter.net or snail mail it to:
Maria Gracia
Get Organized Now!™
611 Arlington Way
Watertown WI 53094

 

getting organized is not easy!

 

 

Version française