random acts of kindness

xhearts-and-hand-by-luigi-diamanti

photo by luigi diamanti

Because I’ve been consumed with my technology issues, I let Random Acts of Kindness Week slip by me last week.

Given the negativity that surrounds us in person and online, I think it’s important to recognize that small gestures can make a big difference, whether or not there’s an “official” day.

You don’t have to spend money to extend a kindness. You can make feel someone feel good with a thoughtful word or gesture, which also improves your mood. On a list of 50 things you can do to brighten someone’s day, you might find one you can do regularly. Or consider trying a new act of kindness each week. You can find more ideas and interact with other people, if you want to share your accomplishments.

While you’re at it, when was the last time you were kind to yourself? #50 on the list is to tell yourself something positive when you start hearing negative self-talk. When you feel better about yourself, you’re able to accomplish more.

Did you do anything for Random Acts of Kindness Week? Is there one thing you can do to be kinder to yourself?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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productivity roundup – weather edition

Falling RainT.S. Eliot famously said that April is the cruelest month, but I think February is a better candidate for that title. It’s often cold and gloomy, and it’s hard to get motivated. April, on the other hand, can be very rainy but it smells like spring and there’s something new blooming almost every day.

I’ve been thinking about the impact that weather has on productivity. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) causes people to feel lethargic because there is less sunlight in winter.

Jane Ridley’s New York Post article describes a writer’s experience with SAD and what you can do to reduce symptoms

A survey found that, regardless of a SAD diagnosis, 10% of workers say they feel less productive on dreary days.

On the opposing side, this article in Forbes claims that bad Weather Is Good for Productivity because people aren’t tempted to be outside, having fun. (You can read the actual study here.)

Finally, this article looks at the effect of heat, cold and rain on employee productivity

Admittedly, it’s been a mild winter in my town; I know that other people have had a lot of snow or rain lately. Wherever you live, I hope you’re warm and dry and safe. Personally, I’m looking forward to April.

Does weather have an impact on your productivity?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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clean out your computer day

keyboard-by-steafpong

photo by steafpong

The 2nd Monday in February is National Clean Out Your Computer Day.

You can clean your computer any day, but having a dedicated day might make you commit to doing it.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of computer challenges lately. I got a new computer and somehow I managed to delete everything from dropbox and when transferring everything.

Long story short, I had to send the computer back twice for repair and scrambled to get all my documents in place. While I waited for the computer to be returned, I noticed that I had documents I didn’t refer to. Just like physical decluttering, I let go of the things I didn’t need.

It takes seconds to delete a document, so do it when you discover something you don’t use. Don’t set up a folder to put documents in until you can go back and decide. Just delete it. If you’re not sure, don’t delete it. But if you downloaded a recipe eight years ago that you’ve never made or articles about a place you never visited, you’re probably not going to miss them.

The problem with setting things aside for “later” is that later never comes. Instead, make it a habit to weed your electronic files periodically. You can create your own Clean Your Computer Day. In fact, you can schedule it once a month. That way, you won’t be overwhelmed by trying to clear out all the junk once a year.

P.S. I got the computer back a few hours ago and I’m too tired to go through the process of setting it up, so wish me luck. Hoping this time it’s home for good.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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quote: don’t give in to defeat

springI’ve been feeling extremely unproductive for the past week. It’s been raining for days, which makes me feel tired and grumpy. To make matters worse, I have spent the equivalent of more than three work days trying to move data from my old computer to my new one. I also had to update my business’s database, because it didn’t work with the new operating system, which presented additional complications.

In the grand scheme of things, my computer issue is a small setback; however, it has kept me from productive work [earning money] and drained my energy. I’m feeling defeated by challenges I’m not prepared to solve.

I resisted getting a new computer until I absolutely had to, then I procrastinated about moving everything from the old computer because I dreaded the process. In addition to feeling frustrated by the peculiarities of Windows 10, I somehow managed to lose a lot of documents in the transition. Some of them showed up in other folders, some appear to be gone forever. I’m hoping I can find them back on the old computer, somehow.

You can encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. – Maya Angelou

I’m counting on resilience to get me through this. What doesn’t defeat you makes you stronger, after all.

What do you do when you’re faced with an overwhelming task? Do you have a coping strategy for when you feel discouraged?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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clutter and finances

xmoney-pockets-by-fantasista

photo by fantasista

January is National Financial Wellness Month. Fittingly, Washington Post finance columnist Michelle Singletary is examining the relationship between clutter and debt  this month with her #NoDebtNoMess Challenge.

You may not realize all the ways clutter costs you money:

  • When you buy things you already have because you can’t find them
  • When you throw away spoiled food because you forget what you have
  • When you pay late fees because you lose track of bills
  • When you buy duplicates of things because you’re afraid they’ll get lost in the clutter
  • When you miss discounts because you don’t pay attention to expiration dates
  • When you use shopping as a way to escape the clutter in your home

Spend 10 or 15 minutes a day letting go of clutter and you might discover money, like Michelle did (and like my clients often do). You might find things you can sell on craigslist or ebay.

And you might be eligible for a tax refund if you donate your excess stuff to charity.  At the very least, you might recognize where you waste money and figure out a way to stop.

Are you ready to take the challenge? What would encourage you to start decluttering now?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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clean off your desk day 2017

desk-by-patpitchaya

photo by patpitchaya

Out of curiosity, I looked up the last time I posted about Clean Off Your Desk Day, in 2015. I built the cart shortly after that post and am glad to have it. I rearranged furniture so I could use the space more productively, but I still struggle with keeping clutter off my desk.

Having a clean desk lets me think more clearly. I get distracted when there’s a lot of stuff around. My desk is small and I tend to drop things on it when I’m not working, so I can address them the next day. When paperwork isn’t urgent, I usually put it in my file organizer so I can find it on a particular day.

Products I want to review and pieces for my etsy shop are too big to fit in the organizer, so they perch on the corner of my desk until I get to them or get tired of seeing them there.

Monday was Clean Off Your Desk Day, and this year I’m committed to keeping my “pending” items off my desk. They can go on the shelf behind me, in a designated area. When I look back at this post in two years, I’d like to report that I’ve been able to keep my desk clutter free.

Do you prefer to have a tidy workspace or do you feel more comfortable when it’s cluttered?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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reader question – how do i live through home repairs?

xconstruction-by-khunaspix

photo by khunaspix

Clients often call me after they experience a crisis, like a flooded room, or after they start a renovation. Both situations cause chaos.

Being surrounded by boxes of stuff, piled up furniture and building supplies can be miserable, especially if it follows a calamity. When you take on a home renovation – or are forced into one – planning is key to making the process slightly less tedious.

You are going to be overwhelmed with paperwork, so set up a file or a binder to keep track of all the bids, contracts, receipts and insurance claims. Don’t rely on your memory or someone else’s recall of a conversation. Get a notebook and write down details so you can refer to them later.

Make a list of things people can do so that anytime someone asks if they can help, you’re ready. Taking a bath, eating in a dining room, watching TV from someplace other than your bed, bringing over a load of laundry – these are small things friends can help with that will make you feel better.

While I believe that renting storage is a waste of money in most cases, this is a good time to consider it. Before you store anything, offsite or at home, make sure everything is clean and dry, to prevent the growth of mold and insects.

If you are living at home during the renovation, create one space that is calm and clutter free. The space may need to function as your kitchen, living room and bedroom, so divide the area into zones for sleeping, eating and storage. Keeping the space clean and organized will make things feel more manageable.

When you’re living in a construction zone, sweep or vacuum at the end of every day and ask the crew to dispose of trash daily. They might not be accustomed to working with the client onsite, so remind them that their job site is your home. Yes, it’s going to get dirty again the next day, but you’re going to get tired of seeing piles of trash and construction debris.

Although it probably will take longer than you thought, remind yourself that it is a temporary setback. Some planning and daily maintenance will allow you to get through it so you can enjoy your refurbished spaces.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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