Organize 365 Podcast: Home organization |Paper management | Productivity | Professional Organizer Lisa Woodruff | Sunday Basket

The 24 Hour Rule

On the podcast this week, I introduce you to a rule that I impose upon myself that I call the “24 Hour Rule."

The 24 Hour Rule is going to free you up from all the things that you might do, should do, could do, or want to do someday. Instead, it’ll teach you to focus on today.

Warning: Please listen to the full podcast episode! You may think at first that the 24 hour rule is a little crazy, but by the end I hope I’ve convinced you to give it a try.

A Bit Of Background

The 24 Hour Rule is something that I developed for myself after I’d been doing the SundayBasket™ for a few years.

Why? Well, I found that a couple of items in my Sunday Basket™ stayed every week!

This goes against the rule of the Sunday Basket™, that you empty the Sunday Basket™ completely on Sunday. Then you hold up every single item – every piece of paper, mail, slash pocket – and you ask yourself, “Can this wait until next Sunday?”

If it can, then it goes right back into the Sunday Basket™. At the end of your time working on your Sunday Basket™, you have identified the items that need to be acted on before next Sunday. All the rest can wait.

I Started To Drown In My WOW Ideas

I’m an ideas person. Ideas come to me all the time and I get so excited. I’m a WOW person and not a HOW person – I usually leave the details to someone else.

I love to write down my ideas or print them off and then put them in my Sunday Basket™. I realized that all of these WOW ideas were the items in my Sunday Basket™ that were staying each week. I was just accumulating a lot of ideas, but not necessarily implementing them.

In other words, I was drowning in my own ideas and becoming overwhelmed. I had to stop stockpiling all of my should/could/someday ideas in a physical location because it was wasting my time instead of inspiring me.

To overcome this problem, I created the 24 Hour Rule.

The 24 Hour Rule Explained

My 24-hour rule is pretty simple.

When I find a great idea, I ask myself, “Can I do this within 24 hours?”

Now, of course, there are many things that you can’t implement fully in 24 hours, but here’s another way to look at this…

We all have times when we come up with a juicy idea that we dive right into and end up spending 2 hours (sometimes even more!) on the internet researching our idea. Do you agree?

Most likely, you didn’t have those 2 hours when you first got your idea, but you made time within 24 hours to flesh it out. Then you decided if it was worth pursuing now, later, or not at all.

My point is that, if an idea is that good and it moves you that much, then you will take immediate action on it.

All of the other someday ideas can be disregarded right now. Don’t write them down or print them off. Just let them be.

As soon as I adapted the 24 Hour Rule, I found that if I really wanted to do something awesome for my business, my home, or my family, I could almost always start to take action within 24 hours.

A Recent Example Where I Applied The 24 Hour Rule

A recent example of my coming up with an idea and applying it within 24 hours is the fundraising appeal that I am currently running for Avondale House in Houston, Texas.

I was completely glued to the news on Hurricane Harvey – reading and watching everything about it on my phone. I felt so bad for those affected that I thought there must something I can do to help.

That’s when I came up with the idea of fundraising for Avondale House. You can read all about it and contribute here. Great news, we’ve raised over $2,000 at the time of recording this podcast! Thank you so much to everyone for contributing.

Now you see that the idea of helping out with Hurricane Harvey relief was so important to me that if I had waited, I would never have taken action.

Your To-Do List Is Never-Ending

The reality is that as soon as you knock things off your to-do list, other things come onto it. That is why it’s a to-do list, and not a to-done list – it’s never going to end!

As soon as you come to terms with your to-do list, it will give you greater perspective on organizing your to-dos, prioritizing, and a more realistic view of life.

There is only so much you can do in your day and I really, really want you to be able to use some of your free time for whatever you want to do.

This is why a key piece of advice that I have for you is to only have 3 big things – or what I callrocks – that you want to accomplish each day. Keep things realistic and don’t constantly chase the impossible.

I’m going to cover this concept in more detail in future podcast episodes so stay tuned.

The Sunday Basket™

Most things come back to the Sunday Basket™ because I truly love the Sunday Basket™.

The Sunday Basket™ takes time to set up and get used to using. But when you’ve been implementing the Sunday Basket™ for 2 months, I’m going to bet that you find you have a lot more time back in your week. That time comes from no longer looking for paper items and trying to remember things, and from being more organized.

It’s amazing how much time you spend just with switching tasks. Did you know you can spend up to 20 minutes switching tasks and recovering from getting distracted? That’s a lot of time!

And that’s why, I always encourage you to put your big ideas in your Sunday Basket™.

But let’s take it a step further and always apply the 24 Hour Rule to each and every one of those ideas. I suggest that when you review your ideas every week, you should assess whether you will act on it in 24 hours. If not, throw it away or review it again in 100 days.

I challenge you today…

What is something that you have on your someday list that you can eliminate?

I challenge you to get rid of it – go ahead and lighten your load!

Now, is that big idea you have right now actionable within 24 hours?

Then, I encourage you to start pursuing it now!

Are you interested in knowing more about the Sunday Basket™?

You can join attend a virtual class here or join the Sunday Basket™ Workshop Licensing Program by clicking here!

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/196

Direct download: Org365-196.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

From Depression To Professional Organizer In 100 Days

On the podcast this week, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Wendy Zanders.

Wendy is a successful professional organizer and her story fascinates me. She has done things in almost the exact opposite order to how I’d normally recommend, but it has worked well and I couldn’t be happier for her. Her story just goes to show that there are many different routes to success and we must all follow the path that feels right for us.

Wendy discovered me when she was suffering from depression

Wendy found me and the Organize 365 blog and podcast during the most depressing time of her life. Her family had suffered the loss of a dear family member and she was really struggling. She actually connected with me when she heard me share my depression story, as her experiences felt so similar to mine.

Wendy shares on the podcast how she joined my Jumpstart Professional Organizer Program (a one-time offering this past summer). The program was for people wanting to start a professional organizer business. She then joined my Sunday Basket™ Workshop Licensing Program, and later she joined my 100 Day Home Organization Program. This is pretty much the exact opposite order that you would expect!

A little more about Wendy

Wendy is 35, lives in Frederick, Maryland, and she has a husband, a 4 year old daughter, a 10 year old son, and a new business. She is in between the accumulation and survival phases of life. Her life is pretty busy, with non-stop family commitments, business commitments, and church commitments. Wendy and her husband both work full-time, and they very much divide and conquer when it comes to running the family and household.

Earlier this year, Wendy decided that she wanted to get a part-time job on the weekend to help build up the family emergency fund. She was given the advice to find something she loves to do and then do it as a business. Like me, Wendy LOVES being organized and helping others get organized. Becoming a professional organizer seemed like the perfect choice!

Wendy and I first spoke in May of this year. After asking me plenty of great questions, she decided to join my Jumpstart Professional Organizer Program. Thankfully, her husband was behind her 100%, something that is always a huge help for the women who take my program.

Wendy is also a member of my Professional Organizers Think Tank Facebook Group. She explains on the podcast how being a member of the group really took things to another level for her, being able to connect with other like-minded professional organizers on the same journey as her has been invaluable.

She works on her professional organization business on Friday nights and Saturday. Wendy had a goal to earn back the program fee within 7 months and she did so within 3 months!

Becoming a professional organizer despite having ADD

Wendy shares on the podcast that she has attention deficit disorder, something that you wouldn’t always associate with a professional organizer.

Wendy was not diagnosed with ADD until later in life. It was actually the point at which her son was being tested for ADHD that she realized she had many of the symptoms herself.

Wendy becoming a successful professional organizer... with ADD... really does mean that if you have a passion to do something, then go out there and do it!

Marketing can be the biggest challenge

One of Wendy’s key strengths is marketing her business.

Being a professional organizer means meeting and connecting with many people. Therefore, marketing efforts that lead to the most results are often those conducted in person.

Wendy is a superstar when it comes to marketing her business and on the podcast she shares the many ways that she’s doing this.

Become a Sunday Basket™ Workshop Licensed Provider

Would you like to become a Sunday Basket™ Workshop licensee like Wendy? Would you like to help people in your local area get their paperwork organized? This is a first step before joining my mentoring program for professional organizers.

My Sunday Basket™ Workshop Licensing Program is now open and I’d love for you to join. Registration closes next Tuesday, September 26th. Please click here to find out more.

If you want to join the licensing program, but it’s not right for you at this time, you can put yourself on the (no obligation) wait list for next time.

Finally (because I’m so excited about it!), I want to share that Wendy and I are both going toBizChix Live in October which is going to be AMAZING. If you want to learn more about the event please, click here.

Happy Paper Organizing!

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/195

Direct download: Org365-195.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

Preparing For An Emergency & Help In The Harvey Recovery

There is nothing more frustrating than nervously watching a tragedy unfold before your eyes and feel like there is nothing you can do to help. The hours I have spent the last month reading articles, watching video clips, and following friends on social media who are going through natural disasters is mind blowing.

This nervous energy eats me alive. I want to DO something.

Ironically in Cincinnati, Ohio, we have very few natural disasters. A stray tornado or big snow storm, but nothing like the fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes I 've watched in the last month.

Even so, emergencies in general are a guarantee in life. Someday you will need to have your medical and financial ducks in a row to facilitate your care or the care of a loved one.

This week in the podcast, Betsy shares her Houston Hurricane story, and I share how you can organize your important documents and help the autistic community at the Avondale House School in Houston, Texas.

The Avondale House is a resource for the special needs community in Houston and a school for children with autism.

For the rest of 2017, when you purchase the medical and financial organizers through this link, 100% of the sale will go to the Avondale House School.

The financial and medical organizers are editable PDFs so you can store your information digitally or they can be printed and put in a binder – it's your choice!

These organizers collect all your important information so you don't have to hunt through your filing cabinet or wish you could take the whole thing with you if you have to evacuate. This will really help you in an emergency situation, whatever that situation may be.

100% of the proceeds from sales of my medical and financial planners will go to Avondale House. This is a "win-win" situation as you get these two great organizers AND you get to donate to such a great cause.

If you would prefer to not purchase the planners, but would rather donate directly to Avondale House, you can do so here.

One thing you will never hear me say is, "It 's just stuff." I know better.

Physical items can be replaced, but it does not minimize the pain and inconvenience of doing so. I hope you are reading this in a house with running water, a working sewage system, and electricity

Like I said in the podcast, my own medical and financial organizers were not filled out, but I am doing it now.

I don't want to, and I don 't "have the time," but I know... one day I will be glad I did.

Prayers to everyone in the path of these natural disasters.

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/194

Direct download: Org365-194.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

Creating Afternoon & Evening Routines

When is the last time you took a hard look at your afternoon and evening routines?

We hear A LOT of people talk about their morning routines. (I shared details about my morning routine last week.)

It’s also quite common to hear about evening routines. But, I’ve hardly ever heard anyone talk about afternoon routines. For me, my afternoon routine... or rather, my after-school/after-work routine... is really key to my productivity.

In this week’s podcast, I dive into my afternoon and my evening routine.

Afternoon Routine

When I talk about an afternoon routine, I am referring to the time of day when we are transitioning from work responsibilities back to our family responsibilities.

Personally, my afternoon routine is currently going through changes as my children are getting older and are no longer relying on me for rides home from school and to their various activities. As such, I find myself with more time to work in the afternoon.

For quite some time, my work day ended at 2pm when I left to pick up the kids. If I’d done my work for the day by 2pm, that was a good day. Any work that I got completed after 2pm was what I called "bonus" work!

As the kids have gotten older and more self-reliant, I have been able to carry on with work, if needed, from 3:15pm (when I get home from picking them up) until 5:30pm. Yes, I do work a lot! If I don’t have work to do at this time, I sometimes take a nap.

This year, I have help with my kids' school pick up and my son will be driving, which means my work day will be 8am to 5pm.

Whether your work day ends at 2pm, at 5pm, or whenever, here is one daily routine I recommend you follow during the last 20 minutes of your work day:

  • Tidy Up – Take a few minutes to organize your work space. Coming in the next day to a tidy area will get you into the right mindset.
  • Calendar – Look at your calendar for the next day and get an idea of what you currently have scheduled.
  • To-Do List – Go over the list of goals you have set for the week and figure out which items need to be completed the next day.
  • Write It Down – On either an index card or a legal pad, write down your tasks for the next day in the order you need to complete them. Remember to always TRUST the schedule you made the day before! The impromptu coffee run sounds good in the moment, but your rational mind says otherwise.

Following this afternoon routine today will set you up for a successful tomorrow.

Then, 5:30pm to 7:30pm is the time I have set aside to spend with my husband and kids, but I also have time set aside to do other important things for myself.

Here are some of the things that I like to do as part of my afternoon routine after I've spent valuable time with my family:

  • Clean the Kitchen – I like to ensure everything is clean and put away in the kitchen. (This is a new addition for me this year.)
  • Plan Dinners – Take a few minutes and decide what to make for dinner the next day. This saves you from scrambling to figure it out the next afternoon.
  • Pack the Car – Look at the schedule you made for the next day and place anything you need for tomorrow in the car. For example, dry cleaning that needs to be dropped off.

That is my afternoon routine and I think it’s the key to my productivity.

Evening Routine

From 7:30pm to 9pm, everyone in my family likes to enjoy some alone time.

I tend to head upstairs to my office and continue working. But, the work that I do at this time is work that I really enjoy doing and nothing too heavy.

At 9pm, I start my bath and pick my clothes out for the next day. I try to keep my wardrobe pretty simple. Capsule wardrobes really interest me and I’m going to dive deeper into that idea in the fall.

Around 9:30pm, Greg and I watch a TV show. (You’ll need to listen to the podcast if you want to hear me run through my favorite programs right now!)

No matter which small tasks you add to your evening routine to help the next day run smoother, make sure to take time to RELAX.

Remember, at the end of the day, it isn’t about what you didn’t accomplish that day, it’s about what you DID accomplish and how you impacted the people around you.

It’s all in the routine!

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/193

Direct download: Org365-193.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

In this week’s podcast episode, I talk all about productivity and morning routines.

You’ll discover why my morning routine is different than everyone else’s and why I make no apologies for that!

Two years ago, I recorded a podcast episode where I talked all about my morning and evening routines at that time. If you would like to hear it, click here.

In that episode, I focused on decision fatigue and how setting up routines that you can run on auto-pilot will minimize the number of decisions you need to make. It's amazing the difference a well-planned morning routine can make!

This week’s episode continues to build on that topic with a focus on productivity.

I love productivity.

I’m a productivity nut. If there is any way that I can save 5 seconds a day, I’ll figure it out and I’ll save those 5 seconds, whether I put them to good use or not!

Wasting time is one of my biggest pet peeves. So, I love to study how to be more productive.

However, just recently I noticed that the majority of the productivity gurus that I have been following – those with podcasts, books, blogs, etc. on productivity – are all men.

I’ve tried to change this and seek out female leaders in the productivity field, but they are hard to find.

Even though I am a very productive person, it’s hard not to feel like I’m not as productive as I could be when comparing myself to someone so different than me. There are many differences between the productivity schedule of a man and a woman. There are also key differences between the schedule of a Gen X and Gen Y person. There are HUGE differences between the productivity schedule of people with and without kids!

Many of the male gurus I have been listening to want you to get up early (before 5am), have an ice cold shower, exercise, meditate… this is not for me. I've tried aspects of it. I even found myself in the gym at 6am…it DID NOT work out well for me!

I realized, I was comparing myself to people with such different lives, goals, and challenges than mine.

We all strive for balance.

As women, we are always trying to seek balance in our lives. But you know what… balance is boring!

We can’t perfectly balance everything and if we do – if there is complete balance and not one single thing that gets more of you because you’re so passionate about it – where is the fun in that?!

Think of it like a cookie. First, we all like/need different ingredients in our cookies. The base ingredients are often similar, but the rest varies, whether that’s chocolate, raisins, gluten free, soy free, etc., just like we all have different things going on in our life.

Second, whatever those ingredients are, they are not required in equal proportions. That would not make for a good cookie!

Third, there is no perfect cookie for all. We are all different and unique!

You need to know WHO you are taking productivity and morning routine advice from.

The productivity routine of the modern woman covers 7 items:

  1. Household
  2. Cleaning
  3. Shopping
  4. Work - paid or unpaid
  5. Self Care
  6. Spouse (optional)
  7. Kids (optional)

They may not all be applicable to everyone. For example, I know not everyone has a spouse or kids. Personally, I opted out of number 2 and have a housekeeper!

My point is that you need to know who you are, what phase of life you’re in, when you like to wake up, what your expectations are for yourself and work. When you are clear on all of that, you can work out the best morning routine for you.

My morning routine.

I define my morning routine as from the time I wake up until when I start the productive part of my day. For me that is a 5:45-6am wake-up until around 9-10am when I get to work.

I wake up with enough time to get up, get ready, and get in the car to take my kids to school. I’m on auto-pilot with my routine so much so that I don’t need to think about it. Refer to this episode and also this one to learn about my make-up caddy.

It’s almost impossible for me to forget anything with the way that I’ve organized this. In this week’s episode, I talk you through in detail exactly what I do, what I eat, etc.

There are 4 steps to establishing a morning routine.

  • Step 1 – Habitualize your regular daily morning routine for getting up/ready
  • Step 2 – Determine your best work time for doing your household tasks and work
  • Step 3 – Create a flex day – this is a day where you don’t have any big work demands and can blitz smaller tasks and be responsive to new things that come up
  • Step 4 – Create a focus for each day – this doesn’t mean you can’t do other things, but always have a focus/priority for each day

There is no perfect.

I’ve spent so much time trying to find the perfect morning routine and the perfect way to be productive. I realize now that there is no such thing as perfect.

I would love for you to look at your own morning routine.

Are you a morning person or not?

Do you like to dive into creative work early or not?

Is exercise something that really helps you first thing?

Get to know yourself and build the routine that suits you. What fuels you? How long does it take? How do you work best?

Let me know in my Facebook group.

Next week, I’m going to talk about afternoon and evening routines.

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/192

Direct download: Org365-192.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

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