Spring Clean your Clutter!

April 16, 2006

Are you facing a time when you've got lots of clutter around and just not sure how to get through it all without getting burderned or stressed? Are you wondering how you can make the shift to a new home easily without getting too involved with all the clutter?

I believe that part of the clutter clearing process is all about making fast decisions. The method I use is pretty daring and some people find it frantic! If I'm in a clutter clearing session, I ask myself if I need the item. If I can say "yes" straightaway, it means I do. If I'm saying "no" or undecided, then I don't need and get rid of it. I believe that when I do really need it later on, it'll manifest in my life.

It's always good to go through the home or clutter one area at a time. Let's take the home as the analogy here.  Don't work through all rooms at one go. Start from the top, start the attic and then break when you're done there. Then return to the first bedroom. Take a break, and go forth. By doing it in small pieces, you gain the confidence to continue the process.

In each room, categorise your items into five things:

  1. Donations
  2. Keeps
  3. Sell
  4. Store
  5. Trash

When you're done, pack up the donations in a box and take it down to the charity store. Box up the selling stuff and set a date for a garage sale, auction, etc. Store those items for storage in boxes. Trash what you don't want and keep what you want! Make sure to maintain the organisation of that one clutter free space.  Refuse letting them become reinfected with clutter!

Clutter clearing is fun. Don't let it down you! My musicians coaching business has a branch in the South of England where I have a life coach who works there on a monthly basis as I can't make it there every month. The life coach is Alison Perry, and she runs her own as the expert for clutter-free living. Check her website out for more information: http://www.beclutterfree.co.uk

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Are you Getting Things Done?

February 1, 2006

We are thirty-two days into the year 2006 and the Chinese year of the dog has just begun. I see a lot of people talking about whether they’ve kickstarted their New Year Resolutions or whether they’ve begun to work towards a particular goal.

For me, it’s important to analyse what I’ve done and how effectively I’ve done it. Have I done it to the best of my ability, therefore using my time appropriately and not wasting any of it, or have I spent some time here and there, instead of using it productively?

If you’re reading this before 3pm on February 1st, I’m currently on the national rail heading to the south of England to meet with some individuals who run a music discussion group there. On the train journey, I’m working on understanding exactly what I’ve done this last month and figuring out the most effective ways for me to operate certain things. Apart from that, I’m also reading Shilpa Unalkat’s new book, “Corporate Head, Spiritual Heart” – I got the book from her book launch in London last night. I remember the last few months of last year, I worked on ensuring the effectiveness operation of my business so that I can spend only the time necessary and no time is wasted.

I’ve noticed that by writing down small lists of things I’ve got to do, it frees my mind of the job of remembering everything that I need to do, and I am able to concentrate fully on actually doing those things. I don’t really work on the basis of priorities, but rather taking one thing at a time and enjoying it thorougly. Over the last few days, I completed a report I thought would take me eight hours, in two hours. I wrote four blog posts in 90 minutes, rather than double the time. I enjoyed spending less time because it all got done well and I wasn’t frustrated with any of the results. By making a short list of what I’ve got to do, I found myself to be more productive and get things done more easily.

Ask yourself, what did you want to do in 2006 that you haven’t yet started? What have you started but not done effectively? What have you wasted time on? Make a note of all these things and one-by-one begin working in small time chunks on it.

I like this description of getting things done from David Allen’s book Ready for Anything:

“Get everything out of your head. Make decisions about actions required on stuff when it shows up — not when it blows up. Organize reminders of your projects and the next actions on them in appropriate categories. Keep your system current, complete, and reviewed sufficiently to trust your intuitive choices about what you’re doing (and not doing) at any time.”

It’s important to start now – don’t leave it till late. There are eleven more months left – utilise them most effectively.

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Add More Hours To Your Day

December 30, 2005

This is one of the most commonest thing that people are after. They find they do not have enough time in their life and they are unable to what they want to do.

For the last two and a half years, I have been to college and now at university, heavily volunteered with a local charitable organisation and on the executive committee, studied and earned a qualification in my spare time, spent time with family and friends, started and expanded my business slowly and have time for more. By the way, I have my regular sleep of around six to eight hours too. Many people have asked how I managed to do it. I also don’t have an ego rising on it, just happy that I can be as effective as I wish to be.

And that really is the real response and lesson to be learnt for those who cry out for wanting more hours in their day. The lesson is to only do what you enjoy, and you won’t feel a burden and will get more done. I won’t leave it there. Here are some practical tips to enjoy adding more time to your day…

Clear The Clutter. How many times have you heard this before? How many times have you put it off? Well, stop. Do it, because it really does help. It frees up physical, emotional and mental space too. Put things in their place. If it’s a brochure that’s lying around, ask if you need it. If not, recycle it. If there are important papers around, file them. Create your personal filing system. What about your computer desktop? How clean is that? Go through the same filing process.

Communication. How much of the communication you do is really necessary? Do you really need to check your emails ten times a day? I used to do that until just a month ago when I realised that I could make more time by just checking it in the morning when I wake and at 4pm each day. Do your clients or friends really need instant email replies? Break down your times and stick to it. If you used to spend 10 minutes and check it 10 times, that’s over an hour of time freed up and added for you to do more.

Set specific times. Set your office hours and only work in those time, apart from exceptions. Let family and close ones know so they don’t expect too much otherwise from you. Understand the value of your family and friends time and really get into it as much as you can. Set aside time for hobbies too – enjoying them will go a long way.

Don’t take too many calls. I use a Skype phone system and have a voicemail setup. I hardly take calls. I let people leave a message and if it’s something urgent, then I’ll get onto it. If not, I’ll make time in the next few hours or the following day, but I shall get back. A great way to avoid telemarketers.

Let it run on automatic. Get things working on the automatic for you. Get a virtual assistant to do some work for you. If it’s something that needs to be done, and you are not up for doing it, I’m sure they’ll do it for you at a low cost. Virtual Assistants can also schedule appointments, follow up with clients, return routine email inquiries and perform numerous other tasks. What about autoresponders? If you work in providing freebies, these work well in return for email addresses.

Sleep Patterns. This is a different and more difficult option. Something that Steve Pavlina has been working on is polyphasic sleep. Sleep about 20-40 minutes a time, five times a day and you’ve got lots of free hours. Possible if you’re not in a 9-5 position.

What other ideas do you have? I hope those I have shared will prove useful. Use them to make an impressive start to your 2006.