Happy 2014!

Traditionally, this is a time of the year when New Year’s Resolutions are made. Many of those resolutions are well intended, but rarely are followed through.

Why? That’s probably different depending on each individual, but the answer probably has something to do with magnitude versus reality. Accountability also may play a role.

Keep it simple this year. Aim for balance. To be ‘organized’ whether at home or work requires you to simply do the step in front of you. Many times, when a resolution or statement is ‘to get organized’, that’s just too daunting of a statement. “I will clean off the surface of my desk or a countertop” is a much more obtainable goal.

Of course, if you want to ‘get organized’ for the New Year, then take it step by step, room by room, system by system- in a logical, bite-sized way. Do only the next indicated step.

This year, once and for all, you may have a chance at following through on your resolution!

In addition, you may want to consider to commit to following and adopting the steps that will be given on this blog for the next year. Then there is no way to not succeed!

Here’s to an ORGANIZED and successful 2014!

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

Start as you mean to go on

Start as you mean to go on

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Whether you travel via plane at the Holidays for business or pleasure, it is important to do so in an organized, efficient and calm manner.

The Holidays naturally come with chaos and ‘clutter’. It seems to be in the air.

To avoid chaos before, during and after your travel, PLAN AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON:

1. Print out or have your boarding pass on your phone. Have it AND your ID and Credit Card easily accessible. Always put it in the same pocket or zipper

2. Weigh luggage ahead of time if you must check it in – and then curbside check it if you are able. Ideally, you have packed such little and so efficiently, that you only have a carry on

3. De-clutter your carry on and include necessities: Boarding Pass/Phone, ID, Credit Card, Cash, Gum, Snacks, Tissue, a zip lock bag for liquids, Asprin/Ibuprofin, a good book. http://www.amazon.com/De-Clutter-Organize-Intentionally-Creating-Balance/dp/0983227217/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384804896&sr=8-1&keywords=declutter+your+self+bystrom

4. Prioritize and schedule all you will do on  your trip.  Where are you going? Flight Numbers?  Car rentals? Lay Overs? Taxis? Hotels? People? Basically, have contact information electronically and on paper for all that your are going to to.  Be certain to call ahead and confirm for all events, meetings, and people.

5. Be ready for anything: Cancelled or missed flights. Be ready for missed cabs- rented cars- traffic jams- harried people- and an overall feeling of rushing and chaos. Then when these things do happen—-  SMILE. Go with it.  Buy your flight attendants coffee. Tip your shuttle guy extra. Buy the folks at the ticket counter chocolates. (This all takes planning and organizing too). This way, instead of spreading frustration your are spreading cheer. This is contagious- and everything that follows will be somehow happier.

Lastly, remember you aren’t alone in this. Everyone needs to get somewhere. It’s up to you to do it in a productive, organized and a calm manner.

Woman I met in the airport showing off her Organizational Skills- She had all her chargers and outlets in this bag

Woman I met in the airport showing off her Organizational Skills- She had all her chargers and outlets in this bag

 

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

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I often sit back and look at my clients and business colleagues, observing the ways in which they can remove clutter from their lives and become more productive and organized.

I have realized time and time again that it is not always the ‘stuff’ that clutters our environment.

Clutter comes in many forms. One popular form is ‘The Shiny Object’ Form. This occurs when one does not have a pinpointed direction or focused goals. There is so much going on ‘out there’. There are so many messages, ideas, advice promising newer and bigger and better.  

Unless one is 110% committed to a direction and HOW to achieve their goals, it is easy to become distracted. Self-doubt may set in. Wavering on goals occurs. Efficiency and productivity screech to a halt. Then ‘Clutter’ sneaks in. It arrives in the form of confusion, cloudy thinking, and head chaos. It is no wonder why many entrepreneurs have a hard time succeeding!

So the next time you are distracted and veer off your path-STOP!  Send that shiny object back to where it came from, and remain focused on your path. Re-organize and prioritize the steps to be taken if need be, but keep that clutter out of your head space and your work environment.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

Shiny Objects

 

 

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Have you ever felt that you had so much paper in your life you didn’t know where to begin?!

That if you would be much have more efficiency, productivity and be able to prioritize better if you just knew where stuff was or where to put it?

Stressful Office Space- Low Productivity

Stressful Office Space- Low Productivity

How does one go about beginning?

Well, put simply, ‘one piece of paper at a time’.

In reality, set aside a couple of hours and get some friends or family together:

1. Get cardboard boxes and label them in big black letters: Recycle, Shred, Throw

2. Determine your categories of your business (what ‘stuff’ is in those piles? determine topics)

3. Write the categories or topics on bright sticky notes in black marker and place on a flat surface spread out (topics may include: marketing, business expenses, resources, action, bills to pay, things to read, clients, etc.)

4. Begin Sorting

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

 

It depends upon the amount of paperwork that  you have. You may need boxes for each category as Andy and Gina of Copy Scan did: http://www.copyscan.com

Regardless, your first and most important step is to categorize the papers. Don’t get too bogged down with categories, as you can always subcategorize later. Piles may look like this:

One of my best clients does this each month.

One of my best clients does this each month.

Once you have all of your ‘stuff’ into pile with titles, then take action. Either file, address as needed, answer, calendar or figure out where the information will live.  Maybe you will devise a system.

Once systems are established, I suggest doing this once or twice a month.  If you are able to maintain as you go along, that’s even better.

Have fun!

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

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I travel once a month to California from Cleveland OH.  It’s nice because I can really make a finite division in my Work versus Home lives.

That said, I have come to realize that in order to serve both my clients and my family, I must be both efficient and productive when I am either at work or at home.

To make this seamless, I have my travel bag and plans ready to go as soon as I return from my previous trip.  I de-clutter my receipts and business expenses and file these in an organized fashion immediately. My suitcase is ready with everything I will need except for my clothes. Also, as the month is going on, I put items inside my suitcase that I know I need to take.

I also organize all of my electronics, chargers, ipads an iPods. In addition I have a handheld calendar and address book in case technology goes awry. These are all in a case similar to the one in the photo attached.

When I am home, and not working with my business, I prioritize work that must get done while the children are at school. This included volunteer obligations, client obligations, home obligations, and of course health and hobbies.

This means, when the children return, I can be present- not preoccupied with things I must do or that I forgot. As a matter of fact, I put my phone away, and turn off the ipad and computer. This way I am not distracted.

Woman I met in the airport showing off her Organizational Skills

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

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I am sitting in my home office this week juggling my job and my clients, my volunteerism commitment to an Auction, planning my travel this weekend, planning the kids’ swimming, diving, bootcamp and a birthday, and doing all of the other things a Mom who owns her own Business does. We all have ‘calendar clutter’ in our lives.

I am not alone as far as work, kids and volunteerism. These days, women must remain efficient and productive in all that they do. The question is: How must we fit it all in?

The answer: (As I told me 7th Grade son who was overwhelmed this week with school and sports)

1. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU MUST DO
2. PRIORITIZE WHICH IS MOST IMPORTANT (de-clutter that which is unnecessary)
3. DO ONE THING AT A TIME

It sounds simple, but let me tell you, it is really the only thing that works 100% of the time if done 100% well.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA. Missy’s blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household. If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link. If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

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I recently was on a working vacation and my son dropped my cell phone. My cell phone is my lifeline to family, friends and clients.  It has my calendar on it. It has all of my contacts on it. It has all of my notes on clients on it. It is my GPS when going from new client to new client. It houses my e-mails, texts and all social media. Basically it helps me maintain my efficiency and productivity when I am traveling (which is what I do for work). Most importantly, it helps me remain ORGANIZED.  Since I am a Professional Organizer, this is fairly important.

Now, I do have an iPad. Unfortunately, due to another technological disaster, all calendars, contacts and lists did not sync. In addition, I must go where WiFi is offered.

What does one do in this situation?

Remember back in history, there was a time we had no cell phones? We also had no computers. I had to think back and be very creative.

Well, first I cheated a bit. My iPad does connect to WiFi at all Starbucks.  THANK YOU Starbucks.  I had a lot of triple shot lattes that week! The detective work began:  I located Facebook, and attempted to find my new client on there.  She was listed, but does not check facebook.  It listed no address or phone number either. I then went and looked at her friends that I knew. (stalking? possibly) From here I asked her address and phone number of friends we had in common. .  I was able to get an address. Here’s where I got creative:

I WENT TO HER HOME AND DROPPED A CONFIRMATION NOTE ON HER PORCH.

I got even more tricky.  I got a hold of an old phone code to charge calls. My husband had remembered it from 1999. I took up office at a payphone at the pool and clubhouse in Ladera Ranch CA.  It was pretty amazing.  I was able to check old texts on my ipad (not text- but get the numbers).  I was able to run my business via a payphone, some paper, a pen, and Starbucks.

Of course I had to get all of my calendar information from my clients. Fortunately they were all empathetic with my situation. I prioritized according to which client I remembered I had on a particular day.

What came from a cluttered mess, became a new and exciting way to do business. PLUS, I was ‘disconnected’ while on vacation.

What changes have I made?

Well, I transcribed all client addresses to my hard address book.  I use this to send my Holiday Cards anyways.  That way I am never looking in two spots again.

But I made an amazing discovery:

I LOVE MY PAPER CALENDAR! I have been trying to conform for years with my online version.  Visually and from a tactile perspective, I hate it.  I never felt in control. I never felt organized.  Now I’ve gone back. I still keep an electronic version for my husband as well.

Duplication of efforts? You bet.  But I am more organized than I have been in years! Look out clients!

 

Good Old Fashioned Public Phone

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

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Vacations in theory are wonderful. I especially enjoy them when I have no phone or computer. I feel such freedom and aliveness.

Then I must return home. All vacations end, right?

I soon realize I am a bit behind. The laundry is piled up.  My emails and Social Media Messages are over 500. The suitcases are unpacked- but the ‘stuff’ is all over the house. My paperwork, mail, and lists are spread everywhere. In short, I am overwhelmed.

How does one escape this chaos?

Well, by addressing one thing at a time. My list may not be exactly like yours, but it may be similar. Take what applies to you. Add more of what you need. Stay focused. Remember, your goal is to get a grasp on your previous productivity and efficiency, and to De-Clutter all of that stuff that surrounds you. This is my list with given my prioritization:

1. Unpack suitcases and bags. Put away immediately what you can, or at least put it in the room or area it belongs

2. Put clothing in wash machine- load by load

3. Go grocery shopping for some easy items.

4. Check my calendar to ensure I do not miss anything in the next week.

5. Go through all of my emails.

6. Check all of my social media

7. Blog

8. Go through my mail

9. Go through all of my notes, lists and actionable emails

10. Make a new ‘to-do’ list, and begin ‘DO-ING’.

This is only a start, basically to de-clutter the immediate environment and organize my thoughts and actions.

I wrote this blog partially for you, but also partially for me.  Sometimes a Professional Organizer needs a reminder too.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

 

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When I graduated from college I became a Social Worker. I worked with Juvenile Delinquents recovering from drug & alcohol abuse. I then went onto being a Medical Social Worker Director at a Rehabilitation Center/Nursing Home/Alzheimer’s Care Unit. From there I did a stint at Event Planning, Marketing and Business. Through it all, i worked 50-60 Hour work weeks. Through it all I developed my Organizing skills, productivity and efficiency.  When we moved abroad I managed a Fair Trade Store with 40 volunteers.Currently I own my own Organizing Business which I’ve been doing for well over 20 years. I fly all over the U.S. I speak, do trainings, and juggle my clients in between it all. I De-Clutter other business’ and individual’s stuff. I put ‘order’ to it. I implement systems and structure.

Despite the fact that this all seems fairly demanding on some level- it pales in comparison to my job as MOMMY! Working 60 hour work weeks was a breeze compared to the balancing act of maintaining a balanced home life, a productive business to support my  and a decluttered organized home so we can all be productive and happy. I’d never give it up- But KUDOS to all your MOMMIES out there!

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

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If you are one of those people that has the privilege of working at home, you are also one of those people who know how hard it is to separate your balanced  home life with your productive business life.

One way to do this is to have a definite division of your business environment with your home environment. This includes the location and use of your computer, laptop, iPad, iPod, iPhone and the like. When you are ‘at work’ you use these things. You also leave or store these things there. Ideally you have a separate room or location in the home for your desk and work supplies.

Another way to balance these areas of your life is to keep your clutter and ‘stuff’ related to your business tidy, organized, and at a minimum. At least clean off your desk daily, and cross off your ‘to-do’ list at the end of the day. De-cluttering your work environment frequently will help you maintain productivity at work. It will also help you to leave work stuff at work, and allow you to experience a balanced home life while at home.

Simple tricks to keep a productive and decluttered work environment

Regardless of the type of job you have, it is always beneficial to stay organized. Being organized applies to your ‘stuff’ or supplies, your schedule, your immediate surroundings, and your head.

In order to maintain balance at your workplace (this can apply to your home as well), consider the following:

1. Keep a daily ‘to-do’ list for work and personal. Cross off what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, and write up a new one for the next day. You will be more productive this way.
2. Answer all phone calls and emails immediately in a time that you’ve blocked off for such activities.  This will aid in your efficiency.
3. Choose a calendar that works for you: a wall calendar, a desk calendar, electronic or on your computer. This will help you remain organized time-wise.
4. Realistically map out your day and stick to your schedule.
5. Turn off all buzzers, blinkers, alarms, bells and whistles while working. Each distraction causes you surprisingly many minutes of your productivity.
6. Keep your desk, your files, and your immediate surroundings free of clutter.  This will help clear your ‘head-space’ as well.
7. Devise a system that works for you for paperwork. Most importantly, get rid of it quickly (recycle, address, file or take action). This helps in proritization.
8. Do one thing at a time. Gone are the days of ‘multi-tasking’! I suggest Mono-tasking! You will get more done in a thorough manner.
9. When you wake up in the morning, feel your feet on the floor and breath. This will give you at least a few seconds before your mind is off and running.
10. As always, eat well, exercise, and surround yourself with good people. Toxicity and clutter comes in many forms

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link

The above Photo is the office of Catherine & Company Interior Design.  It is her home office.  Catherine hired the Organized Connection to help her organize her home office. Catherine can be reached at  949-378-6501 for your Interior Design needs.

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Become more organized – OR experience a De-cluttered Calm Life

Become More OrganizedMissy Bystrom, professional organizer of over 25 years give you her insights and ideas on how to live a more balanced, and less cluttered and chaotic life. No workbooks, no ‘step-by-step’, just a simple common sense approach you can listen to and follow at your own pace. Listen while you are driving or at home, and get ready for a calm, balanced life!


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