How to fill in your calendar

September 21, 2017
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How To Fill In Your Calendar

 Once you decide on a calendar you like, it’s then time to fill it out starting with the big picture of your year and then diving into the daily details.

Start by filling in the year’s major events, such as holidays, birthdays, and vacations you have already planned.

Once you have your year’s big milestones mapped out, you can move on to filling out your activities month-by-month. Fill out whatever you do on a regular basis and any events for the month that you have on hand.

Start with regular recurring events such as book club or monthly meetings for an organization you belong to. Then schedule your extracurricular activities such as exercise classes, soccer practice, any additional activities with multiple dates attached.

Next add in your appointments, like trips to the doctor, the dentist, or the hair salon.

Once you have mastered your month, it is time to look at your weeks. Break our your weekly schedule for work or school and weekly household errands and tasks.

Finally, you are on to the daily details. Record your day-day routines for work, exercise, chores and more to make your days run more smoothly.

Calendars take regular maintenance to keep you on track. Whenever you get a schedule or make an appointment, it should go on your calendar. Keep your calendar close by, and make it fun and easy to use. The more you use your calendar, the more on top of things you’ll be.

Want more help with your time management? I offer coaching and I have an online course coming in September 2017 called Simply Fabulous. Watch for more information on my Facebook page SimplyOrganizedYou. Not on Facebook? That’s ok, send me an e-mail or call me for more information heather@simplyorganizedyou.com 404-825-2105

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Why should you use a calendar?

September 7, 2017
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Why Should You Use a Calendar?

One of the biggest mistakes I see my clients make is they try to keep their schedule in their heads. Pretty soon their brain is full of dates and details, they reach critical mass, and they can’t keep everything straight. They forget appointments, important dates, and critical deadlines.

It’s time to get everything out of your head and onto a calendar.

Calendars Prevent Information Overload

Your brain was not designed to keep track of all of your appointments, deadlines, and commitments. Productivity guru David Allen likens the brain to a computer and warns that we only have so much “Psychic Ram.” Our minds can only process so much information at once.

Calendars are Great Planning Tools

In addition to being a great place to keep important dates and information, a calendar can be a great planning tool as well. Before plotting out what you are going to accomplish for the day or week, you should survey the landscape of your calendar taking into account all of your commitments.

If you have a light calendar day, you can knock out a lot on your to-do list, but if you have a day with back-to-back meetings, appointments and/or errands, that is going to affect how much you can get done.

Calendars Help You Prioritize

Getting items out of your head and onto your calendar also makes it easier to prioritize. When you keep two tasks or activities in your head, your brain gives them equal value. The more you add to your mental calendar and to-do list, the harder it becomes to judge their importance, which can lead to you becoming overcommitted.

When you keep all your commitments on a calendar, you can see what is already on the books before taking on a new appointment, project, or task. You will be able to quickly and easily judge how much time you have and determine which commitments you should keep and which activities you should not agree to in the first place.

Using a calendar will help you prioritize and plan the important aspects of your life letting you make time for what is important to you and allowing you to live life to the fullest. This habit will help you stay cool, calm and collected, and is, in my opinion, the first step to organizational bliss.

Want more help with your time management? I offer coaching and I have an online course coming in September 2017 called Simply Fabulous. Watch for more information on my Facebook page SimplyOrganizedYou. Not on Facebook? That’s ok, send me an e-mail or call me for more information heather@simplyorganizedyou.com 404-825-2105

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Finding the perfect calendar for you

August 27, 2017
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Calendars: Finding “The One”

One of my top time management tips is to fall in love with your calendar.

A lot of us neglect our calendars, having an on again off again relationship. Let’s face it. If your calendar were your significant other, they would have kicked you to the curb long ago.

Just like you wouldn’t marry the first person you meet off the street, you need to find a calendar that fits your personality and lifestyle.

If you are currently flying solo there are many options for calendars that will make you say “I do.”

If you are a big picture type, a paper planner or paper wall calendar might be right for you. Paper calendars let you see your whole month or week at once. This option also allows you to express your creative style with colorful pens and stickers.

If you prefer a more high tech solution, a digital calendar may be for you. These come in many forms from online systems to smart phone apps. Digital calendars are great if you need to sync across multiple systems and platforms, such as your smart phone and work computer. Digital calendars also make it easy to set up recurring appointments.

For those of you who are part of a couple or a family, you will want to go with a calendar option that everyone in your household can access.

Dry erase calendars are very popular for families and can be posted in a central location for all to see.

You might prefer a shared digital calendar such as the calendars by Apple and Google, where you can invite others to see what’s on your schedule and multiple people can add events.

Both options can be color-coded for each family member. This let’s you see at a quick glance who has what commitments for the week.

Having a hard time choosing? For you commitment-phobes out there, it’s not considered cheating to see more than one calendar at the same time. For instance, you can use a paper calendar for long-term planning and a digital calendar you can access from your phone for scheduling on the go.

Ultimately the best calendar for you is the one you will use. You won’t know what system is right for you until you play the field and find one with the right chemistry.

So, go ahead and take the plunge. I can guarantee there’s a calendar out there that will be the perfect match.

Want more help with your time management? I offer coaching and I have an online course coming in September 2017 called Simply Fabulous. Watch for more information on my Facebook page SimplyOrganizedYou. Not on Facebook? That’s ok, send me an e-mail or call me for more information heather@simplyorganizedyou.com 404-825-2105

 

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Freedom from clutter

June 29, 2017
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Freedom means many different things to each of us. On July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day which is commemorating our freedom from the British Empire in 1776.

Today I want to talk about your freedom from stuff. It’s no secret that most of us have too many material possessions (including yours truly). These things are overwhelming our home, car, work place and time which causes extra stress and worry. Let’s free up some of that time and stress!

Are you overwhelmed with everything you have to get done? Are there more than 3 items on your to-do list? Are you avoiding areas in your home because of clutter?

If you answered yes to at least one of the above questions, this will help!

I want you to spend 15 minutes this week:

1.Set your timer for 5 minutes

2.Pick 1 room that’s driving you crazy

3.Choose 3 items you do not need

4.Put them in a box or bag for donation (or trash if broken)

5.Repeat this process in the same room or 2 other rooms (5 minutes each time)

6. Take your box or bags to a charity (www.donationtown.org will show you drop off and pick up charities in your area)

Congratulations! You have now freed up extra space so you will have more FREE TIME! You will feel better, lighter, and on your way to a clutter-free life.

Need hands-on help? Call us at 404-825-2105 or email heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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The Viscious Cycle of Laundry and How to Tame It

May 30, 2017
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Do you hate doing laundry? Does it seem never ending? Have you ever done loads more than once because you can’t figure out if they are dirty or clean? If you answered yes to any of those questions then welcome to the club! Most clients I meet hate doing laundry and get so behind on it that it seems an impossible task.

I can’t get rid of your dirty laundry but I can give you some tips that should help lessen the pain:

  1. Buy clothes that do not have to be washed separately or delicately (and doesn’t have to be ironed). I see this as the first road hump in the laundry obstacle course. You have to do 3 loads instead of 1 because of the fragile or special nature of the clothing. Take dry clean only to the dry cleaners and only buy easy-to-wash clothing for you and your family going forward. You can use the mesh bags to easily toss in under garments and then hang them to dry.
  2. You do not have to watch the washing machine or dryer for it to work. Throw a load in before you run errands or have other chores in the house to do. Set a timer on your phone and transfer to the dryer in an hour or more.
  3. Get your family involved! Teach your kids how to do their own laundry. This will not only save you a ton of time and headaches but also give them a valuable life skill they will definitely need (unless they live with you forever).
  4. After it’s dry, either you or your family member should put it away immediately. This is where most of us get stuck. Fold it in front of the TV and bring some hangers to hang up anything that needs it. Put it away in the closet and or dresser or place the clean laundry in the family member’s room where it belongs.
  5. Each person in the home should have at least 1 basket or better yet 2: one for clean and one for dirty. If there are often mix-ups, get 2 different colors for each person. Dirty clothes go into the darker colored and clean go into the white baskets. No more sniff test to see if it’s clean!
  6. Have a set day each person does their laundry so everyone is not fighting for the machines at the same time. Put it on the calendar. If there is a concern about sport stains have a place (separate basket in the laundry room) to put these clothes that get the stain remover treatment immediately.

If you follow these tips, I promise you will be doing less laundry, less often.

 

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The Rainbow Unicorn – The Myth of Reaching Perfection

May 30, 2017
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Recently I wrote an article for The Atalanta Woman which was published in their May 2017 issue. They were looking for tips and tools that would help busy women with productivity.

Out of all the many topics I write and speak about such as time management, organizing your home and office and creating a working paper system, the one I am most passionate about is women giving themselves and others a break. I meet people everyday who are trying to have the perfect home, perfect family or perfect job and it’s impossible!

To feel better about yourself and take off some of the pressure, please read my article:
http://simplyorganizedyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Heather-Rogers-Atalanta-Woman-Rainbow-Unicorn.pdf

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How we moved my 79 year old mother-in-law: tips on moving, downsizing and getting your home ready to sell

March 29, 2017
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Are you planning to move any time in the next 20 years? This blog post is for you! We recently helped my mother-in-law (Tine – Dutch for Tina) move from Texas to North Carolina. She has been living in Houston for 23 years and lost her husband 15 years ago; she’s never moved or sold a home by herself.

Moving is the 3rd most stressful thing a person can experience. You are often changing your zip code which means getting used to a new area, making new friends, finding new doctors and getting a new driver’s license (yuck). It does not have to be a terrible experience; follow these steps to make it easier:

Step 1: Decide where you want to live?

Do you want to move into a smaller space? Maybe a condo, apartment or independent living is right for you. Is the yard work too much or the stairs to get to your bedroom? A one-level ranch may be your perfect fit.
Tine decided to come back East and live closer to family. She did not want to be responsible for a house or yard anymore and she is physically and mentally fit. The best option for her was an apartment.

Step 2: What do you want to take with you?
Moving is the perfect time to purge! If you are moving into a smaller space, you can’t take everything. Stick to the necessities and irreplaceable keepsakes such as photos. Go through each room and make a list of your “must have’s” and your “really wants”.

I recommended 4-6 of each dish, glass, a few pots and pans, one of each used small appliance (coffee pot), the clothing you wear, the furniture that will fit in your new space, framed photos and art, linens, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, electronics, etc.

Don’t worry, anything you don’t take can be donated or maybe even sold.

Step 3:Plan ahead for the move: Get moving and packing quotes ahead of time.

Movers will come to your home and give you a free quote. I highly recommend getting at least 2-3. You may find that storage pods are a better fit or renting a truck yourself.

We decided to hire movers and rent a truck that my husband and his brother drove from TX to NC. This is not the best option for everyone but they wanted a bro road trip and we were able to save Tine some money on a cross-country move. I packed her belongings for her 2 days before the move, the movers loaded everything onto a U-Haul we rented, the guys drove to North Carolina and another team of movers unloaded at her new apt. I also hired unpackers for her so she could be completely ready to spend the night in her new place.

Step 4: Estate sale or donation pick up

Anything you don’t want or need anymore is much appreciated by charities. There are many who will pick up your house hold items for free and give you a letter for your taxes. Go to www.donationtown.org to find a charity near you. Would you rather try to sell your items? Contact some estate sale companies in your area and get them to come give you an estimate (estatesales.net will have a list). Most have minimum requirements and take a % of profit. If you are living in your home, there are some online estate sale options too: try max sold or everything but the house.

For Tine’s house, we went with an auction clean out company. Her HOA does not allow estate sales so this was a good option for her. What they did not take, we had a charity pick up.

Step 5: Getting your home ready to sell

You may have to do this step while you are still living in your current home. If so, just move this to step 1 or 2. The key in this day and age is to make your home as neutral as possible for the buyer. You will want to start with a budget; how much can you afford to put into the home without losing too much. The most important thing is to fix anything that needs an obvious repair: leaky roof, water stains in the ceiling, stains or bad odors in the carpet, etc.

For Tine’s house, I interviewed and hired a roofer, painter and floor company to give the house a fresher look without breaking the bank.

For detailed tips see my blog: www.simplyorganizedyou.com/gettingyourhomereadytosell

You will also want to hire a reputable real estate agent. I interviewed 3 in Texas and chose her neighbor who is experienced, knowledgeable about the neighborhood and can keep an eye on the house for us.

 

Step 6: Enjoy your new home

After you have done all this hard work, made your repairs, sold your house, moved into your new place and unpacked, it’s time to sit back and relax! Yes it’s hard to make big changes in your life but you have your future to look forward to. Life is not about the stuff you had to part with, it’s about the memories you have made and the new ones you are going to make.

Need help with project management, packing, unpacking, pre-staging or more? Contact us at 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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Donate, Shred & Trash Oh My

January 26, 2017
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clothes

I get asked every single day about charitable donations. You don’t want your stuff anymore and you can’t seem to sell it so who should you give it to? Charities will pick up everything from furniture and clothes to dishes and décor. Most people have their favorite charities but they don’t all take everything. Because I like to “keep it simple”, I find making one call to one place who picks up almost everything, is the best way to go.

There is a website where you can find a list of charities who will pick up items at your home: www.donationtown.org. Most will need 1 week – 1 month notice to get you on their schedule. The only caution I will give you is not all charities will pick up all of your items. Remember, the charity has to sell your items at their store in order to donate money to the greater cause.
Items most donation companies will NOT accept:

Damaged furniture (scratches, mildew or stains)
Recalled items (children’s car seats, cribs, bumper pads, etc.)
Mattresses
Under wear
Trash, paperwork, magazines, family photos

In the Metro Atlanta area where we live, the best place I have used is a thrift store who contributes to an abused women’s shelter. They pick up just about everything (if it’s in good condition) and they bring trucks and men to do the lifting. The thrift store is called Cheaper By The Dozen 5261 Buford Highway, Norcross, GA. You can contact Bruce Carter at 770-873-6058 to schedule a pick up.

What if you have items like tile, lumber, cabinets, lighting or appliances?

Habitat for Humanity ReStore free pick up 770-962-4200

So what do you do with items you can’t donate? Their are tons of trash removal companies who will come to your home for a fee ($85-$600+). They take anything from old paint cans to whole house clean outs. Here are some companies in my area who can help:
Stand Up Guys 770-369-0305
College HUNKS 888-689-5999
Hullaway 404-380-9395

Need someone to shred your personal documents? Google “free shredding events” and the name of your city first to save tons of money. Shredding companies will also come to your house for the same price as taking it to the local office supply store! Eco Shredding: 770-826-5459

Have further questions or need help figuring out what to keep? sell? donate? or trash? Call us at 404-825-2105 or send us an e-mail: heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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Instead of Resolutions in 2017

December 22, 2016
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freeorganizer

I hate New Year’s resolutions! They set us all up for certain failure. My 2017 resolution is to have no resolutions at all. I realize I’m not the first person to say this but why does everyone keep shelling out money on gym memberships in January only to quit by February? Using words like “always” or “never”, “all” or “none” are not realistic words.

I love the idea of working on yourself and having hopes and attainable goals. Do me a favor and try something new this year. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” focus on what you can do to be more healthy. For example, drink more water every day, move your body more times per week, reward your success with something other than a fattening treat. All of these examples are simple, attainable and will make you feel better. You will also be more likely to continue these goals because you won’t feel the disappointment of the scale if you haven’t reached your goal weight after only 1 month of trying.

Here are other ways you can use attainable action steps instead of resolutions:

  • I would like to read more books in 2017. I’m shooting for 1 per month but in my busier months will be ok if I don’t finish.
  • Giving makes me feel good. I’m going to donate 2 hours of my time each month to my favorite charity. You don’t have time to give? Give some money you would have spent on an unnecessary item.
  • I’ve always wanted to learn a new language. I’m going to take a language course in 2017.
  • My sister is so crazy busy all the time. I’m going to offer to baby sit for her at least once per quarter.

The only thing stopping you is your imagination. Dream big but set goals you can achieve without feeling bad or sacrificing too much of your day.

We wish you a very happy 2017!

If one of your goals is to work on your time management, de-clutter or get more organized, call us at 404-825-2105 or email: heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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Travel tips – How to simplify your vacation

November 30, 2016
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We just returned from the trip of a lifetime. My husband Tim and I went to Italy. We spent 2 days in Rome, 7 days in Florence and 1 day in Venice. Our friend moved to Florence a few months ago and we wanted to surprise her for her birthday by visiting her new home town. While we were away, we posted lots of photos of our trip on social media. Many of my friends commented how jealous they were or how they have always wanted to go on an amazing trip but never would be able to. I want to give you some tips so you can plan that trip of a lifetime. Never say never.

1. Come up with a budget and savings plan today. Give yourself 1 year (or whatever you need) to save the money so you don’t feel guilty about spending while your trying to enjoy your vacation. Decide where you want to go and estimate at least $3000 for flights, hotels, food, etc.

2. Ask for time off from work ASAP. The quicker you ask, the better chance you have of getting the time.

3. Enlist the help of a travel agent. Travel agents know the best places for you to go, stay and tour guides while your there, train schedules, luggage rules, plus they save you loads of money. You do not pay for their services, they get a percentage from the airlines and hotels. The best travel agent I know is Melissa IntVeldt with My Traveling Panda. You can contact her at melissa@mytravelingpanda.com.

4. Now that you have your trip booked and are saving towards it, come up with your home back up team. You will want people to help you with child care, pet care, house sitting (getting your mail) and in my case running Simply Organized while I was gone.

5. When you are within a week of your trip, check weather at your destination so you can plan ahead with packing the right clothes. We had to buy water proof jackets for Florence and I was so glad we had them. Get a converter for your electronics and find out if you need an international phone plan if you are going over seas. Schedule your dates for out of office messages on your e-mail and voice mail. Figure out how you will get to the airport (parking vs. Uber).

6. Go on your trip of a lifetime! I could spend days telling you what to pack, how to pack light, or how to get the most time out of each day but instead I want you to experience your trip. Part of the fun of a new destination is the little hiccups, the detours and figuring it out.

Please call me if you want any help: Heather 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

 

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