“Fabulous Foothold to Organization” is released!

Fabulous Foothold to Organization Get Started Guide

I’m SOOOOOOOOO excited to announce that “Fabulous Foothold to Organization: A guide to get started when you don’t know where to start.” is here! Over my years as a professional organizer the sentence I hear most often is “I don’t know where to start.” This guide outlines the process I use with my clients to give them the push they need to get them going and clutter-free for the long-term. One reader has said that this is like having me in her home any time she needs a reminder, some direction, or just a little motivation and encouragement.

Inside you’ll find:

  • the ground rules for what to keep vs. let go of
  • common organizing rules that are OK to break
  • common pitfalls to avoid
  • the process I use with my clients to work through any amount of clutter: from mildly messy to hoarder
  • tips to successfully maintain your hard work
  • and more!

If you’re overwhelmed, frustrated, and don’t know where to start, consider this guide like your clutter sherpa – giving you the information you need to get you started and on the way to your goals.

Ready to get started? Click here to buy “Fabulous Foothold to Organization” today!

Break for Clarity

Fabulous Foothold to Organization - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous BlogI recently did a series on productivity and different ways to help create more. (Posts can be found here, here, here, and here.) Another key ingredient is singular focus. While we may be able to multi-task, we cannot multi-focus. Our brains simply won’t allow it.

When you have something important to focus on, the quickest and best way to get it done it to remove distractions and everything not completely essential and focus specifically on what needs to be done. In a recent planning session, the other participants and I discussed how the best way to get things done in our businesses was to pick only 1-3 goals and focus on those things until they were done. Then pick the next goal and focus to achieve it. And the next. And the next.

So with that, I’m taking a break from the blog for a little bit. I’m currently working on putting together a get-started organizing guide called “Fabulous Foothold to Organization.” With everyone I talk to and work with, they all have one thing in common: a hard time getting started. Often with many of my clients I never see the fully finished organization because once I give them the direction, motivation, confidence, and push to get going, they’re off to the races on their own. This guide will be all of that in written form.

I’m SO excited to get it done and out.

And to do that efficiently, I need to not write here as well.

I aim to have this done in about a month and once it is, I’ll be here with all new adventures, advice, and makeovers.

In the meantime, there is TONS of information throughout this blog. Just use the search function or newly updated category list to the right. Also to the right you may sign up to follow this blog and be one of the first to hear about when the guide is released.

I am still taking clients. I have room for a couple of in-person, a couple of virtual, and plenty of Hot-Mess Motivation clients. So if you want in, contact me here.

And I’ll see you again when “Fabulous Foothold to Organization” is finished!

Messy vs. Tidy Desks

Tidy vs Messy Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Recently I’ve read a number of articles citing studies on how messy desks cultivate creativity so make a big ole mess or tidy desks give a better impression so make sure you have a clean desk.

BlahblahblahblahBLAH.

BLAH.

These articles are all well and good and if you need to kill a few minutes or are procrastinating but here’s the bottom line:

How do you feel?

When your desk is tidy do you feel stifled or steady?

If your desk is a hot mess do you feel free or frazzled?

Two questions I ask my clients all the time are: Does this item/space make you happy? Does it bring you joy? If not, change it.

Articles like this are jacked because we all have a different clutter threshold. So screw what the studies and articles say and go with with makes you feel best.

Pro tip: for every article/study you read, you’ll be able to easily find something to refute it. (This goes for pretty much any topic.) “How does that make you feel?” while trite shrink joke, works in most situations – especially those related to clutter. This item make you feel fabulous? Keep it. Make you feel guilty, crappy, or some other negative emotion? Get that out of your house pronto! Remember Sunshine, less than fabulous is just unacceptable. 

Now go create a work environment you’ll feel good in!

(Need help with that? Contact me today.)

In the News: February 2015

This month I was included in this great infographic on room-by-room organizing. My tips will help your bathroom. 

Introducing New Services!

via Creative Commons License

via Creative Commons License

I’m SO excited to share these new services with you!!

If having me in your home hasn’t been in the cards yet because you:

  • are too embarrassed to let someone in your home (not that it’d bother me but I get it)
  • live outside of the D/FW metroplex
  • haven’t been able to afford my in-home services
  • just need a little motivation rather than a massive overhaul
  • aren’t sure you’re ready to full-blown dive in yet and would rather test the waters a little bit
  • or any other number of reasons

I’ve got you covered!

I’ll now be offering virtual organizing services as well as something I’m super-excited about: my “Hot Mess Motivation Program.”

Virtual Organizing

This is pretty much as it sounds – organizing virtually. Sessions are 55 minutes and scheduled once a week. We’ll conduct these via Skype or phone and during this time I’ll talk you through the process, answer any questions you have, address problems and assign homework to work on between sessions. Essentially, everything you get from having me in your home except I’m there through the magic of technology instead! If you live outside of the D/FW metroplex or aren’t ready to let someone in your home yet, this is a great way to get you going.

Hot Mess Motivation Sessions

My clients say that the motivation and regular, weekly accountability they receive through working with me are two of the biggest factors to their success in letting go of clutter and staying organized for good.

This program offers 3 ways to receive this support:

  • Weekly emailAt the beginning of each week I’ll email you with questions, directions, tips, tricks and encouragement to help you reach your organizing goals.
  • Monthly 30 minute phone call – During this once-per-month phone call we’ll go over your questions, fix any problems, and continue to encourage and motivate you towards your goals.
  • Combination of email and phone call – You get both!

Whether you know you can do it yourself with a little direction and a kick in the pants, want some stress-free accountability and encouragement, or just want to test the waters to see if you’re ready to make the switch to a clutter-free and organized life, this is a great way to get my help on a smaller scale.

With both programs – just as with my in-home services – you’ll receive personalized organizational tips for the problem areas, unlimited email advice, and access to our all-new private FB group. I also offer savings for pre-purchasing time because I believe the more you commit to yourself, the more successful you’ll be.

Interested in learning more? Email me at info {at} melindamassie.com. You can also use the contact form here. I look forward to working with you!

The Key Ingredient to Productivity

via Little Wonders

via Little Wonders

Let’s cut to the chase here…if you have a piss-poor attitude then you’re not going to be productive. You may have the most organized desk ever and the coolest productivity tools, but if you are grudgingly trying to get things done then it’s not going to feel good. If it doesn’t feel good then over time it will get harder and harder until it nothing gets done.

That’s no way to go through life, Sunshine.

When you have a better attitude, then you feel the satisfaction when getting things done that creates the motivation that helps continue to propel you forward.

Hooray for a fabulous snowball effect!

So how can we get into this better attitude?

There are any number of ways to do this. Following are a few of my favorites:

Have a great morning routine.

For the past year or so I’ve really been playing around with my morning routine. When I started working from home, things got much more lax because they could. Without a boss to say “be here at 8:30am, showered, presentable, and ready to work” it got reeeeeeeeeeeeally easy to let things slide. Over time, it was just sheer laziness. Delightful as an occasional indulgence but as a daily occurrence it really sucks the energy out of you. Especially when negative things creep in because it makes it harder to perk up afterwards. When you start your day off to a good start, you have a much better chance of keeping it going all day.

My current morning routine works out about like this and has been VERY successful at keeping my energy and productivity riding high all day:

  • Glimmer app to gently wake me up. Real alarm clocks piss me off.
  • One of the many happy stations on Songza (usually Motown). I LOVE this website and app. You can choose music by genre, decade, mood, or activity. They also have a concierge system that will guide you to the perfect playlist. Since discovering this site I have it on SO much.
  • Shower
  • Proper breakfast.
  • Real clothes.(may be yoga pants and top…but it’s important to get out of my damn robe. Especially if you work from home.)

Sometimes I throw in a workout. Often I don’t. My Songza dance party usually gets me going enough and I’m excited to get to work as quickly as possible. I used to meditate in the morning which was great but a much slower and longer start. This puts me in an equally good frame of mind while shaving off time. So instead I meditate mid-day or in the evening before bed.

Other morning routines to check out and get inspired by:

Have a bad morning? My go-to cure for a morning that’s exploded on me is to have breakfast for lunch and pretend you’re starting your day over again. This works for me every. single. time. For those I’ve recommended it to, it’s worked for them as well. Sneak in a nap if possible. (26 minutes is the time deemed optimal by NASA. Their studies showed that a 26-minute nap enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%.  Let me tell you, the NASA Nap is fabulous.)

Daytime Routines and Practices

Identify your natural rhythms. What are your natural highs and lows through the day? Schedule high focus tasks during the high points and easier tasks during your lows.

Get everything on your calendar. This may sound rigid and trite, but it helps to visually see everything you’ve got going on. Then you know if you’ve over-scheduled yourself or been overly ambitious with your goals. Ambition is good but regularly not meeting your goals can be a mood-killer. Set realistic goals to maintain motivation and keep moving forward.

Work smart. We’re not made to work 8 hours straight without breaks. Our focus just can’t hold up that long. My work sessions with clients are 2 hours long because over time I’ve found that 2 hours is the breaking point where my clients start to lose focus and stop making as good of decisions. When I’m working with an out-of-town client, we work 8 hour days but we also take plenty of breaks. I’ve ready many articles that talked about the benefits of what I call a 52/17 split: 52 minutes of focused work on just one thing, followed by a 17 minute break. During that break get up, stretch, and do something completely different. I usually do tasks that need to be done around the house or move to the couch and read. I started playing with this and have gotten significantly more done since. So then I started doing it with my out-of-town clients while we put in full 8-hour days and it’s worked really well for them too. At this point I’ll pretty much swear by it.

Create routines that help focus. I like to light some incense, play music and light a candle. Whatever will help you get in the zone to accomplish the task you want to work on.

Support Yourself.

Eat well. You’re not going to have the most energy and feel your best if you’re not fueling yourself well. Now I’m not talking about insane diets or even weight loss. Just eat real, whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat them. Do you feel great and energized? Awesome! Keep eating that. Do you feel drained or gross? Don’t eat that food anymore or at least save it for a time that you don’t need to be productive afterwards.

Meditation. This doesn’t have to be crazy either. Maybe just take 5 minutes to sit in silence. Or repeat some mantras or affirmations that make you feel better. Maybe lounge out and listen to some soothing sounds or music. Whatever you do, this is about taking some time to kick the mental chatter that can be detrimental to so many things in our lives.

Remove, remove, remove. Sometimes getting into a better flow isn’t as much about forcing something through as it is removing the unnecessary so that there’s nothing blocking the flow. This can be toxic influences such as people, things, and thoughts. This can be actual clutter. Just make sure to let go of anything and everything that is no longer serving you or making your life better.

Regular accountability. Do you have someone who will help hold you accountable? Every Friday morning I meet a friend for breakfast at 7am. We discuss anything and everything going on in our lives and work. We use this time to rehash the week that’s just past, talk about the week coming up, and make sure each other is on track with our goals. It’s been so beneficial and we’ve both seen progress by leaps and bounds since we’ve started doing this. If you don’t have someone who will help hold you accountable, then find that person pronto! It’s important that they be firm but fair and truly have your best interests at heart to make sure things don’t go awry.

Find positive support. To go along with that regular accountability you want to find people who positively support you. There’s nothing better for maintaining a great attitude then to know you have people who support you, your goals, and dreams. Sometimes it takes a while to find them, but you’ll know it when you do. As an example, I don’t get to attend my yoga home here in Fort Worth as often as I’d like or need to but even knowing it’s there is a comfort. And I know that every time I walk in, no matter how long I’ve been away, I’ll be greeted with a giant hug and a warm “Welcome home.” We all need a place like that.

If you’re looking for positive support, motivation, and regular accountability in your pursuit of less clutter, pay attention to this space Wednesday. I’ll be releasing the details for my new services. If you live outside of the D/FW metroplex, are too embarrassed to let anyone into your home yet, aren’t sure you’re ready for a full-blown makeover yet, haven’t been able to afford bringing me into your home, or just need a little motivation rather than a massive overhaul, I’ll have you covered. 

Evolution of To-Do List Management

Yes. Would that be so wrong?

Yes. Would that be so wrong?

In the last installment on productivity, I talked desk management and evolution. Once you’ve got your work environment under control, you need a system for getting all of those tasks out of your head and getting them done.

Otherwise, you may just want to take a nap.

The trick is…what’s the best way for you? There are just so many ways to keep track that you can easily get so wrapped up in the set-up of a system that it eventually becomes a procrastination tactic.

How to get shit done - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous blog

Don’t lie to me…you know you do it. I’ve done it to.

Still, bottom-line, we need a way to keep on top of our to-dos and make sure they get done. Then if you’re a business owner like myself, the to-dos and ideas can become endless.

So first, before you do anything else, give yourself permission to not get everything done. Because, well, you can’t.

True story.

True story.

Following is the trial and error that I’ve taken for my own massive to-do list over the years. Some things worked well until they didn’t. Other things just sucked period. If you’re stuck and not sure how to manage your to-do lists, play around with these ideas until you land on something that works fabulously for you.

In the Beginning

I was all about the paper: to-do list and calendar. I LOVE paper to pen. I still use paper when hashing out new ideas and playing around with things. It just feels better to me. However, when I started my business, the to-do list grew exponentially. What was relatively simple to manage as a mere employee grew unruly when I became a one woman show.

Still, I held out a LONG time before finally sucking it up and getting a smart phone. (As in, just 4 years ago.) When this happened, it became easier to switch over to doing things digitally. It started with my personal to-dos and my business to-dos eventually went that way as well.

I’ll start by going through the evolution of tools I used for my business needs, then my personal needs, and lastly the apps I use currently to keep everything flowing.

Business:

  • As I said before, it all started with good, old-fashioned paper calendar and to-do list.
  • Desk To-Dos (detail) - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous BlogOver time, that paper to-do list got so unruly that it was no longer functioning. So I switched to immediate to-dos on a dry erase board and less immediate things went into a system of 2 file folders: one for 5 minute tasks and the other for longer tasks. (Picture to right) The idea behind this system being that whenever I got an idea I’d write it down and toss it into each corresponding file. Then whenever I had five minutes of time, I’d take a task from the 5 minute folder. If I had a longer swath of time, I’d grab something from the longer file. One day I realized how full the files were and sorted out all the bits of paper. Many tasks were duplicated. So I sorted everything out, tossed extras and paper-clipped by category. Then they all went back into the file. Pretty much to die because nothing was really getting done.
  • Since we can’t let our to-do list die I took all the random tasks from the files and transferred them to legal pad with each category getting its own page. This worked great until I needed a fresh page. I’d originally set it up with the most important tasks on the top sheet and each new page was a less urgent category. So the top page got marked and re-written and marked and written over and was no longer legible. But I needed those things on the front. So it just got all convoluted and ugly. And an ugly to-do list is just unacceptable.
  • So here’s where I first, finally, ventured into something electronic. I transferred the legal pad of to-dos into a spreadsheet. Each category got its own page. At the beginning of the week I plucked a few to-dos from the main list to get accomplished that week. This worked out pretty well except that it was only on my computer. If I wanted to add something to it, I’d have to wait until I got home. I could have dropped this into Google Drive but then the spreadsheet wouldn’t have been on my desktop to see immediately and get to with one click. Yeah, yeah…I know…#firstworldproblems.
  • After searching many to-list and task managers I settled on TickTick, which I love. (more about why I love it below.)

Personal:

  • Same as with the business list, it all started with a paper to-do list and calendar.
  • When I got my first smart phone, I used whatever generic calendar app that was with it. I hated it but it was more convenient with scheduling clients because I could sync it to my Outlook calendar. So at least I didn’t miss any appointments.
  • When I decided to start using an app to maintain shopping lists and such, I first landed on WunderlistI loved this but started using it early in their progress and every time they’d run an upgrade my account and lists would be EMPTY for up to 2 or 3 days. Let’s just imagine the OCD panic that set in for a moment, shall we? It may be much better now but my goodness they’d send me into a panic attack. Nobody needs that.
  • I searched for a different to-do app and swapped Wunderlist for ToDoist. I loved ToDoist (and wrote about it here) but I transferred everything to TickTick since it would accommodate all of my personal and professional needs.
  • While Wunderlist and ToDoist were great for keeping track of the lists, I need things on my calendar. I work better with visual deadlines. (Even if I have to make the deadline up.) I started using Any.do after a friend raved about it. I liked it a LOT. Beautiful design and I loved how it made you take a moment at the beginning of the day to go through your to-do list and it always ended the “Any.do Moment” with a nice affirmation of some sort. They had an equally beautiful calendar (Cal) that it synced with. Again, gorgeous design and the added benefit of seeing all of your to-dos and appointments for the day – super easy to tell if you’ve been overly ambitious with what you can actually get done for the day. However, I had to enter my to-dos into this app separately from my other lists since it’s more to-do and less task management. Over time this was just too tedious and I stopped using it. I still highly recommend them both for someone else with different needs. These would have been awesome to have while I was an event planner.

Current System:

  • Google Calendar – This is the glue that helps me make everything else run how I want.
  • TickTick – This helps me keep track of everything. I have lists for personal, professional, things to buy, movies to watch, you name it. Set-up allows you to have either a checklist (great for grocery lists) or notes (ie: expanding upon book ideas) within each list. You can set deadlines, recurring reminders (which I use ALL. THE. TIME), and prioritize by high, medium, low, and no priority. Then you can sort tasks by date, priority, or name. Tasks that have been assigned a due date import into Google Calendar. (Easy to see if you’re over-scheduled.) There’s also a great widget so you can see any particular list right from your home screen. I keep my “Today” list there. It’s fantastic.
  • Sunrise Calendar – This calendar has a clean and simple design. Since TickTick is imported into Google Calendar, Sunrise imports them both. It also immediately syncs with Google Calendar. I get directions to my appointments. It imports Facebook events and birthdays if you want it to. There are quite a few calendars and task management apps it’ll import so this could be a good fit for you even if you don’t use what I do.
  • Google Now – This is either a super-creepy stalker or the best personal assistant ever. Since privacy is false anymore anyway, I choose to see this as the best personal assistant ever. If you have an Android then you already have Google Now and just need to set it up. It alerts me when to leave for a meeting based on current traffic. When I’m on the road it’ll tell me when there are accidents (although this isn’t always reliable.) You can set location-based reminders so that when you’re near the place it’ll remind you of what you wanted. (other styles of reminders as well) It gives stories to read based on things you like or think you’ll like (based on Chrome and Google Search trolling I’m sure.) It’ll tell you how long it’ll take to get you home from wherever you are. It gives you the weather. I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do for me. There’s a nifty widget so I can see the “cards” on my homescreen. Yes, it knows everything. I for one welcome our technological overlords.

Bonus Round:

These are a couple of extra apps I use that make life a little easier…and making life easier is really key to being more productive.

  • Google chrome set to open to important pages when browser opened. This way what I need to look at is right in front of me.
  • For when I open up a new tab in Chrome, there’s Momentum. When you open up a new tab, there is a gorgeous photo and it says “Good morning, Melinda” and asks for my focus for the day. There’s also the weather, an inspirational quote, and I can enter a to-do list into if I like. Sometimes I just keep this tab open to look at through the day. Even if you don’t, it’s good to get even that quick reminder and inspiration while on your way to doing something else.
  • Unroll.me – I wrote about this a while back and it bears repeating, this app ROCKS. Seriously. It takes all of your subscription emails out of your inbox and into the “Rollup” that you receive once a day. The first few days it took me a while to get used to not having so many emails. Now, it’s glorious and creates so much more time to put into better pursuits.

Ta Da

Keeping personal and professional in one place works well for me. Much better than the alternative really. Many articles recommend drawing a hard line between the two but when I can see it all together, I can stay on top of all of it together. If you do better keeping them separate then by all means do so. But if you’ve tried that and it’s not worked well for you, try keeping all of the to-dos in the same place and see if that works out better for you. Play around with your different options, drop what doesn’t work and keep what does.

What’s your favorite ways to keep track of your to-dos and get them done?

Evolution of a Desk

In the previous post in this little mini-series on productivity, I said we need to find what works for us. Following are a few of the changes I’ve made to my workspace as my business(es) have grown and evolved. Our workspace is very important because it’s what supports us while we do our work. If it’s working against us, then it’s wasting our time and energy thereby being much less productive than we could be.

This first pic was taken August 2009. Quite a bit leads up to this photo. About 2 years prior to this, I got rid of the fantastic desk that had gotten me through college and beyond. I’d been in my job for 3 years and rarely worked from home. I always figured I’d have a job working for someone else and an office so I didn’t see the need for a desk in my home. Everything I needed fit in that wicker trunk you see to the right so it became my “office.”

Just a scant 6 months later I got a new job with no real “office” and was working from home.

Well shit.

After about a month or so of working off of the floor or at the dining table I went the quick, down, and dirty route and bought a cheap desk online. I didn’t love it but it wasn’t an eyesore and got the job done. I soon went to the Container Store and designed an Elfa desk. Over time, I bought the desk piece by piece. Here we are about a year later and I finally had all of my pieces put together. However, also in that time I unexpectedly lost my job 6 months after I got it – also known as the height of the economic collapse – and decided to start an event company instead of look for another job. I had NO idea what I was doing but was going to make it work, dammit.

Needless to say, as I piecemealed everything together and my business grew I didn’t have a system to accommodate it. Enter our first picture:

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Now I know that for many, this still looks OK. For me? Ohhhhh no. I was slowly starting to lose it. I was forgetting things, couldn’t keep track or on top of pretty much anything. Serious issues when you’re an event planner known for having a memory like a steel trap. I decided to rip it all apart and put it together in a way that would work. (Sound familiar?)

Click here to read the play by play.

Which brings us to this after:

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Once a system was in place, everything else has easily ebbed and flowed from this as my needs have changed.

The above was taken October 2009. Below was taken March 2010. As you can see not too much has changed. One big addition was opening up this organizing company while also having the event company. The biggest task my desk needed to accomplish was supporting both businesses. For the most part it did. The most obvious changes here are adding my diploma and race number up top, hanging the vision board, and hanging the clipboard that holds my intake forms so I am immediately ready when a new client calls.

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Next up was little: changing up the cords. I HATE cords. This difference is tiny but the visual rewards are huge. More about this swap here. (March 2011)

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Next thing was swapping out how I managed my files. The wire files were perfect when I was an event planner doing 80 events per year as they allowed me to see the majority of what I needed to work on. With the event company toasted and organizing client work being open-ended rather than deadline driven, I didn’t need to see everything and could do things more compactly. I got stackable inboxes and separated them out by incoming, follow-up, current clients, and speaking engagements. (August 2011)

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

The nice thing about this switch was that I could do two small stacks and open up room in a different area of the desk. As you’ll see in this next photo I brought in a small shelf for my monitor. Lifting the monitor gave me room on my desktop for the dry erase board that held my immediate to-do list and any files that were going to be worked on that day. The intake clipboard is still hanging on the wall and underneath it are wall files where I kept business ideas and to-dos.

Another big change is that I got rid of the rolling file cabinet. Files went into two desktop file boxes and then to the top shelf since it’s not often I need to get into them. I then added a drawer to the Elfa set-up. Then that cord box?

It’s *IN* the drawer!

I tucked it in the back and the cords thread out the backside. There’s also been a switch in accessories from wooden to red.  (August 2012)

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous BlogWhich brings us to current day. Mind you, I’ve flipped things around here and there but for the most part when something works I don’t screw with it. The most notable updates from the last picture are swapping the magnetic bars for a full bulletin board. And the plastic wall files for nice metal ones. Their use also switched from holding business tasks to client info: inquiries on top, current on the bottom. With client files now on the wall I no longer needed all of the inboxes but did save one that I use as an actual inbox.

Then one of my favorite changes: I switched out the cable box in the drawer for an open box that now holds all of my electronics. Shredder, modem, power strip and cords are all in that box with wires run through the handle in the back. The front has a chalkboard so I switch that up every so often when I get bored or accidentally rub the design with my toe. (January 2015)

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

As I say oh-so-often, organizing isn’t an end game result. You’ll never be finished organizing. However as you can see here, once you get a good system in place then it’s easy to make switches here and there as your needs or aesthetic changes.

Evolution of a Desk - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Does your workspace support you and help you be more productive? If not, what can you do today to change that?

In the News: January 2015

With the new year, I’m doing something a little different with how I share news articles I’m in on the blog. Instead of posting them individually, I’ll do a little round-up at the end of the month. This way you can get your organizing goodness all in one place. If you’d like this info as it happens, follow me on Twitter and Facebook. On to the articles!


Organizing with a Side of Fabulous in D Home MagazineAre We Really a “Hoarder Nation?” – The Sparefoot Blog

This article is in response to a Bloomberg Business article calling America a “hoarder nation.” Spoiler Alert: we’re not…even if we do have too much stuff.

The 25 Most Genius Home Tips We Learned This Year – Good Housekeeping

My binder clip tip has been veeeeerrrrrrrry popular. And I was SO excited when Good Housekeeping chose it to be one of their favorite tips of last year! Thank you, Good Housekeeping!

Information on Fort Worth, TX - Sparefoot.com

If you’re thinking of moving to Fort Worth or are new here, here’s a few things you’ll want to know. If you’re not new, you’ll recognize this immediately.

How to Get Organizing in 2015 – D Home Magazine

Need a fresh start to the fresh year? This article will help you get it in style.


Hope your New Year is off to a fabulous start, Sunshines!

Productivity “Hacks”?

Note: I was going to start this mini-series on productivity the other day until a mean organizing post hijacked my brain and sent me on a rant. However, if you read the rant, you’ll notice some similarities in my advice. Mainly: do what works best for you and don’t worry about what anyone else says.


This system needs tweaking.  via Creative Commons License

This system needs tweaking.
via Creative Commons License

Recently a friend posted an article on productivity advice. The article posed some great ideas. It also said a few things that were just plain ridiculous.

I’m looking at you, Inbox Zero.

We want to be productive, which is what makes these articles so popular. Unfortunately we also tend to get hung up on either 1) reading all of these articles on productivity instead of just doing something (of which I’m guilty too) or 2) trying to force something to work just because it works for someone else. Then if/when the tips don’t work we either give up in frustration or mentally berate ourselves. When the simple truth is that it just wasn’t the right fit for our needs. Just because something works fantastically for one person doesn’t mean it’ll be right for you and vice versa.

So how do we accomplish real productivity? It’s actually quite simple which is perfect because the more simple and efficient a system it is, the more space it allows you to get real work done.

First, accept that you can’t do it all. None of us can. Sucks, but I promise you’ll be MUCH better off once you accept and embrace this.

Next, get all of your tasks onto a master to-do list. Look at the list…what can be removed or delegated? Remove or delegate it. Now, prioritize the remaining tasks by deadlines and importance.

Now that we know what needs to be done, create a strategy to help tick things off the list. Maybe it’s getting them into your calendar specifically. Maybe it’s enlisting the help of an app to get things done. Whatever feels best to you. If something you try doesn’t work, tweak it or ditch it and try something else as quickly as you can. Continue trying and tweaking until it’s seamless.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to change, tweak or even majorly overhaul as your needs change. What once was seamless won’t be after a major life change. Adjust.

Pro tip: one of the biggest initial causes for ending up in major clutter is not adjusting to major life changes. Sometimes it’s for the good. Sometimes it’s for the less than splendid, but no matter what you must adjust and find your new flow.

My needs and systems change regularly. In the next coming posts I’ll show you the evolution of my workspace and the evolution of my to-do management systems over the past few years. If you think it’ll work for you, try it. If not, skip it. It’s all good.

What’s your current favorite thing that’s helping you be more productive?