Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

Finding Time To Get Organized

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Finding Time To Get OrganizedNeed perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use.

Has this inspired you get organized? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

This Idea Will Change The Way You Organize Your Time

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

This Idea Will Change The Way You Organize Your TimeA popular Zen parable tells of a Wanderer who happened upon a raging river. He wanted to cross it, but there was no bridge.

Afraid to wade across the river on foot with such a strong current, he spent hours building his own raft from vines and trees, which ultimately carried him safely to the other side.

However, once across the river, he thought to himself: “This is a good raft; I might need it again if I must forge another river.”

So the Wanderer carried the raft with him for the rest of his life.

The Big Reveal

From the outside looking in, the Wanderer’s decision might seem ridiculous. Why would this obviously resourceful guy carry a heavy raft around when he didn’t need to do so?

Often times, we make this same decision in our own life. In doing so, we hang on to something that was useful at one point but has since become irrelevant clutter.

Now, your “rafts” may come in various shapes and forms – maybe it’s too many commitments, maybe it’s a poor-fit household routine, or maybe it’s too much stuff. No matter, the underlying question remains the same: Is this clutter in your schedule, in your work, in your life holding you back?

The Ins & Outs

It’s important to be fiercely protective of not only your time and how you spend it, but also your space and what you bring into it. Wise decisions about your time and space allow you to preserve these precious resources, whereas foolish decisions can do just the opposite.

No one wants to play the fool! So to help you make those wise decisions – and help you release the “rafts” that are taking over your calendar, wasting your time, and diminishing your space – answer these five questions:

  1. What areas of my home/work life could benefit from systems like checklists, automation, etc?
  2. What commitments no longer support my top priorities and should be erased from my calendar?
  3. Where does clutter stop me from enjoying and/or fully utilizing my home/office space, and how can the clutter be removed?
  4. Where do I waste time and/or procrastinate throughout the day, and how can I stop doing so?
  5. What are the biggest things about my life that I/my family complain about, and how can I/we smartly resolve these issues?

The Bottom Line

“Rafts” that clutter your mind, your time, and your space (amongst others!) are all stumbling blocks to your best life. A highly organized and productive person understands that doing less and having less often means creating more time and space for the things that truly matter.

So…where can you remove clutter that may be hindering your quality of life?

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

The Clutter Buster That No One Talks About

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

There is a story about an old Cherokee who was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them: “A battle is raging inside me … it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

“One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

“The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The old man fixed the children with a firm stare. “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win the battle?”

The old Cherokee replied: “The one you feed.”

Now, you may be thinking – Nice story. But what does this have to do with organizing and finding balance?

Well, it got me thinking of a different take on this tale. And it goes something like this …

The Clutter Buster That No One Talks About

Need perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use and display.

I have a battle raging inside of me, and it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

One wolf represents clutter, and all the things that come with it like chaos, stress, frustration, loss, pain, wastefulness, hassles, and ineffectiveness.

The other stands for order, and all the things that come with it like clarity, peace, gain, pleasure, usefulness, waste-lessness, ease, and efficiency.

This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.

Which wolf will win, you ask? The one that you feed.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

Last-Minute Tax Organizing Tips

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Last-Minute Tax Organizing TipsIn the words of Dave Barry, “It’s income tax time again…time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.”

Filing taxes = huge pain. We all know it. We all go through it once a year. And while there’s no way around tax season, there is a way to make the process less stressful – preparation.

A little bit of preparation can make a huge difference in your tax filing experience, whether you do so weeks in advance or at the last minute. Not only can it help you get your tax refund faster if you qualify, but it can also help you avoid the high levels of stress normally associated with finishing your taxes.

If you’d love to come out the other end of tax season unscathed, then here are the best organizing tips to help you do just that. Think: T–A–X–E–S!

(1) Tally: Decide how many hours you need for tax prep.

First, choose a final date, such as “I want to be done with my taxes by April 10th.” Then work your timetable backwards from that date, planning around your work schedule, family responsibilities, and extracurriculars.

Second, think about how long it has taken you in the past to complete your taxes. If six hours of tax prep has been enough previously, then this year will likely be no different unless you had major changes in your life. So pencil in two hours on your calendar for three days between now and April 10th, or maybe one hour each evening for the next week.

(2) Assemble: Gather all tax-related documents.

Search your files, baskets, and bins. Your objective? To find any and all receipts, canceled checks, and other papers that support an item of income or deduction. Plus, be on the lookout for important tax forms like W-2s and 1099s in the mail.

Don’t forget about the charitable donations you’ve made over the last year! TurboTax ItsDeductible™ is a free software that tracks and adds your donations year-round and accurately determines the value of your donated items.

(3) X-cessorize: Compliment your tax prep efforts.

I’m not talking shoes and purses here! It’s all about storage. Now that you’ve got each and every one of your tax documents assembled, they must be organized in one central location, so as not to get lost.

There are lots of different tax organizers that can keep your tax papers in order. You can dress ’em up in style with something like the Buttoned Up® Tax Filer. Or if you’re not into fancy-schmancy, then you can dress ’em down with the oldie but goodie manila envelope.

Last-Minute Tax Organizing Tips

Need perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use and display.

(4) Evaluate: Assess how you want to file your return.

Will you prepare your return personally or will your accountant? Are you eligible for free help at an IRS office or volunteer site? Will you purchase tax prep software or e-file online?

There are many possibilities to consider! Weigh them all and find the option that best suits your needs. These variables may require modifications to your tally and time line. If so, refer back to #1.

(5) Schedule: Make a date to officially file your return.

If you’re doing your own taxes, make an appointment with yourself. If a tax rep is doing your taxes, promptly make an appointment with that individual. In either case, schedule asap – before the calendar fills up – and schedule a date several days ahead of the April 15th filing deadline, just in case a contingency comes up and you need more time to complete the filing process.

Remember: It’s never too early to start tax prep for next year! Looking ahead prevents a last-minute tax crunch and all the pressure that comes with it.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

How do you get organized for tax season? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

When To-Do Lists Don’t Work

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

When To-Do Lists Don't WorkYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Generally speaking, a list is a good thing because …

When you write a list, it helps you focus. When you follow a list, it keeps you on track and moving toward list completion. And when you cross off list items, you feel productive.

And yet, despite proven results and positive qualities, lists don’t always work for everyone, every time because …

When you have to make a list, it means you have lots to accomplish. When you have lots to accomplish, you suddenly don’t want to do anything but sit on your couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream.

In other words, making a list is making you procrastinate. At this point, you’ve entered into a mind-game between your lazy self and your productive self, and your lazy self is winning!

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to fight back by creating a NOT To-Do List to help you get organized.

The NOT To-Do List is exactly as the name implies – a list of things you do not want to do.

For example …

The Not To-Do List for Housekeeping

  • Throw shoes by the front door
  • Let mail pile up on the kitchen counter
  • Forget to file bills at the end of month

The NOT To-Do List for Time Management

  • Hit the “snooze” button on the alarm more than once
  • Check email more than 2 times per day
  • Turn on TV while getting ready for work

With the NOT To-Do List, you’re giving your lazy self permission to be lazy while, at the same time, giving your productive self permission to get things done.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

How To Double Your Storage Space For Organizing

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

How To Double Your Storage Space For OrganizingYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Isn’t it amazing how you can look at something every day and not see what’s really there?

A few years ago, I was going to lunch with a friend, and we were stopped at a traffic light behind a delivery truck. My friend randomly asked me if I noticed anything strange about the logo on the truck.

Immediately, sensing a trick question, I searched to find something different … out of the ordinary … obvious. I couldn’t come up with a single idea.

(Here, you give it a try – it’s this company.)

Never one to back down from a challenge, I guessed: the colors? The size? The style? No, no, and no.

I was out of guesses! It was a logo I had seen countless times on boxes, trucks, and airplanes. In theory, I should have been able to see a difference, but at that moment, the logo appeared the same as it always had … and so I relented.

Grinning mischievously, my friend told me to look directly between the last two letters of the logo, or the “e” and the “x.”

And there it was – the shape of an arrow, hidden in plain sight between the letters.

Many times, your usable or extra space can act like that arrow – in full view yet unnoticed, and thus, unused. Aside from the obvious option of de-cluttering, here are three simple ways to double your storage space for organizing:

  1. Change your spatial perspective.

    Problem: During your waking hours, you generally observe your living space from a vertical angle, either standing or sitting. Doing so limits the imprint of your environment in your mind’s eye.

    Solution: Grab a cushion for your head and lay down on the floor for five minutes, taking the time to focus on everything from floor to ceiling and corner to corner. Does scrutinizing from a horizontal angle allow you to see storage capacity where you didn’t previously? (It also might help you to do this with a spouse or friend for a second opinion.)

  2. Check your familiarity at the door.

    Problem: If you agree with the saying “familiarity breeds contempt,” then you can appreciate that, if you experience a certain living area day in and day out, you tend to see what you want to see (I don’t have enough room!) instead of seeing the true storage potential of the space itself.

    Solution: Move something substantial to a new spot, like switching your computer from the left side to the right side of your desk. Leave it there, and repeat this step with a new item for five days in a row. By the fifth day, the small acts of rearranging will have a large impact how you view the space – and storage possibilities – around you.

  3. Look up and over.

    Problem: 80% of everyday organizing is accomplished downwards from 3-4 feet high. Think: baskets on the floor, drawers in the dresser, cabinets in the bathroom, and containers under the bed.

    Solution: While lower-level storage is important and should be fully utilized, there is a lot of storage room at higher levels, too – walls, ceilings, rafters, and doors. Ensure you are not ignoring the upper spaces that are readily available to you.

WARNING! If you are thinking something like a wall is a wall is a wall – not more storage, then consider the discovery process this way. When an oil prospector finds oil, it’s a given that the oil is under the surface of the earth and that it has to be drilled and refined in order to become a usable resource. Such is often the same when you discover storage space! It’s there. It just has to be “tapped” by using proper storage and organizing solutions.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

How about tripling or quadrupling your storage space? To learn more, go here http://bit.ly/GetTotallyOrganized now. In this free webinar, award-winning professional organizer Carmen Coker will show you how to say goodbye to clutter and finally create the home and life you desire (and deserve)!

The Ultimate To-Do List

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

The Ultimate To-Do ListNeed perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use.

Has this inspired you get organized? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

To learn how to apply the “Ultimate To-Do List” to your life, go here http://bit.ly/GetTotallyOrganized now. This free webinar will show you how to say goodbye to clutter and finally create the home and life you desire (and deserve)!

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get Organized

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get OrganizedYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Getting organized means…quality of life…high levels of energy and productivity…creating space in your home and life for the things that really matter…being fully present. Getting organized is a huge part of being all you can be physically, mentally, emotionally, and more.

Given these amazing benefits, what’s stopping you from getting organized? Here are the TOP 5 reasons why you can’t get organized:

1 – Can’t break free from the daily grind

Whether you’ve got one small organizing project to tackle, or you’re looking to organize your entire house, the question becomes: “How do I fit in organizing in between breakfast and morning meetings…diapers and dinner…laundry and housekeeping…Scandal and bedtime?”

Being perpetually trapped in the day-to-day could mean another year (or two, three, or more) passes you by – and still you are no closer to your organizing goals.

2 – Not being prepared for common situations

There are some spots that need organizing regularly, like mail, toys, and clothes. I bet if I ask you to list off the clutter hot spots in your home or the ways in which you waste time, you could list them 1, 2, 3 – without much thought.

You likely know the moments that make you disorganized, and if you let them, these moments will continue to steal away your hope of getting organized.

3 – Not connected to your why-power

Just saying “I want to get organized” will not sustain you. Why? It shows that you are interested in enjoying the many positives that organizing affords, but you aren’t 100% committed to doing what it takes to fully realize those positives in your own life.

If getting organized – whether it’s your kitchen or your attic or your files – is not connected to your why-power (aka your deepest motivator), then you’ll easily fall off the get-organized wagon.

4 – Don’t know what you don’t know

In order for getting organized to work for you, you need a complete organizing system, or know-how. Know-how generally consists of more than just tips like “to organize your shelves do this”. These are what I call surface tips, since they tend to repair the surface of things, and often just for a short time.

If you don’t have the know-how or don’t have access to the know-how, then getting organized can be an uphill climb.

5 – Too many negative influencers

Negative influencers are anyone or anything that hinders your organizing progress, either intentionally or unintentionally (spouse, kids, parents, pets). Despite your best efforts to get and stay organized, these guys just get in the way.

Not understanding how to deal with negative influencers will have nothing but a negative effect on your organizing success.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Did you know…there are not just five reasons why people can’t get organized – there are 26 total? Good news! All of the reasons can be easily fixed. To learn more, go here http://bit.ly/GetTotallyOrganized now. This free webinar will show you how to say goodbye to clutter and finally create the home and life you desire (and deserve)!

Solve This Productivity Riddle & Save 10+ Hours of Time, Every Time

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Solve This Productivity Riddle & Save 10+ Hours of Time, Every Time  Riddle me this: What is something that is no-cost to do, but if not done, is very costly? Hint: the answer has to do with time management, goal setting, and being productive in your home, work, and life.

The Big Reveal

If you answered “plan,” then you are close. If you answered “planning,” then you are spot-on! While the former is important, it shouldn’t be confused with or used in lieu of the latter.

Reason being, plans are pretty. Plans make us feel productive. Plans are what people should have. Life plan – check! Career plan – check! Weekend plan – check!

The problem is this: a plan easily becomes stagnant and outdated. More often than not, as soon as a plan is created, it is in need of revision, even though it may be just days (or hours) old and even though a lot of time and effort likely went into the making of.

Planning, on the other hand, is dynamic. It is the action to a plan’s inaction, and it always moves you and your life forward.

This is a vital distinction that successful people have been making for years. Case in point: Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was one of only five U.S. Army officers to ever wear five stars (and, oh yeah, who was also the 34th U.S. President), once explained: “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

The Ins & Outs

In any endeavor, not just in battle, Eisenhower’s words ring true. Planning is a powerful tool to improve your life – and it’s free. There’s no reason not to do it.

But, hold up! Who has time to throw in a bit of planning in between breakfast and morning meetings…diapers and dinner…Scandal and bedtime?

In the day-to-day of life, planning becomes one of the first things to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. And, if we’re totally honest here, sometimes it falls off the to-do list completely!

However, if you consider that a SINGLE hour of planning saves TEN hours of doing, then the avoidance of planning altogether drains more time than the actual planning itself. Phew! It seems you really do have time for planning after all.

Now that you’ve solved this productivity riddle, here are five ways to become a power-planner:

1 – Make it real.

Allow for a planning morning or afternoon at least once a quarter, and in advance, schedule these as non-negotiable appointments on your calendar. (Yeah, you “know it.” But…do you “do it”?) This step not only sets a positive intention, but it also turns planning from a nice thought into a new reality.

2 – Own it – loud and proud.

When you keep something to yourself, it’s easy to get away with…doing nothing. Tell someone – your spouse, your best friend, or your personal assistant – that the planning process is now a top priority for you. Saying so aloud to this person should keep you honest.

3 – Take inspired action.

If you doubt its potential, then the planning process won’t ever seriously happen or create fruitful results for you. Read the autobiography of any influential person you admire – no doubt, planning will be part of their recipe for success. Let their example, in turn, reframe how you look at planning and what it can do for your personal growth.

4 – Bring in the heavy weights.

Planning on your own can have low impact. Ask mentors or trusted friends to get involved and mastermind the planning process with you. They will not only introduce new ideas but also challenge you to reach higher than, if left to your own devices, you would ever dare.

5 – Filter, filter, filter.

Infuse your personal priorities into the planning process. Put up a list of your top priorities for everyone to see, and filter all planning concepts through this list. Trusting your priorities is the way to avoid chasing poor-fit opportunities and getting off-track – and wasting time and productivity as a result.

The Bottom Line

Never underestimate the power of planning. A highly productive person uses planning as a secret weapon to save time, exceed goals, and “get stuff done”!

So…how can you leverage planning to improve your home and life?

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. She invites you to register for her free webinar “Get Totally Organized” and learn how to say goodbye to clutter and create the home and life you desire (and deserve)! For details, go here http://bit.ly/GetTotallyOrganized now.

The Christmas Organizing Tip You Haven’t Tried

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Can’t See Video? Click here.

Video Transcription:

Hi there! I’m Carmen Coker, award-winning professional organizer, here today with an organizing tip to help you squash the chaos of the Christmas season and enjoy an organized Christmas at last.

So we all know that boxes and bins can organize your decorations, but what about your decorations organizing your home?

Little trinkets, gadgets, and gizmos have a way of coming into our lives and accumulating over time. I’m sure you have a few, like: souvenirs from your favorite summer vacation; the tassel from your graduation cap; the first toy you ever had; the cassette tape from 1984 that you played constantly through your senior year; or the bib number from the marathon you ran last year.

Especially for some, these mementos are difficult to throw away or give away because of their sentimental value.

But the million dollar question is: what can you really do with this stuff?!

Normally, it ends up crammed in a drawer somewhere, never to be seen again for a very long time. As a whole, they can really hamper not only an organized home but also an organized Christmas.

Instead of allowing these items to be clutter in your home, gather them up and put them to good use by creating a Keepsake Christmas Wreath™!

The Keepsake Christmas Wreath™ not only makes a great conversation piece, but it also functions as an unusual memory box. Plus, it can be a fun project for the whole family to enjoy. And … the Keepsake Christmas Wreath™ is the perfect proof that your Christmas decorations can, in fact, organize your home.

If you’d like free printable instructions to build your own Keepsake Christmas Wreath™, go to CarmenCoker.com/Wreath.

I wish I could take credit for this fabulous idea, but the creative genius behind this design is my very own mom. When I was growing up, my mom created a Keepsake Christmas Wreath™ for her and my dad, for my brother, and for me. The wreaths became a Christmas staple in our home, and we all looked forward to unpacking them during the holidays and re-living those old memories. Actually, truth be told, I still have mine to this very day, almost 30 years later.

I’d love to see a picture of your Keepsake Christmas Wreath™, or better yet — your creative ideas that add a twist to the Keepsake Christmas Wreath™ concept. Please comment below to share your experience.

As mentioned before, I hope this video helps you jingle-jangle your way to an organized Christmas. This is Carmen Coker, signing off, we’ll see you next time.

© 2007-14 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, apply for a complimentary 60-minute Get-Organized Strategy Session today!