As much as I try to fight it, there’s no getting away from email. So instead of fighting it, I’ve learn to accept it as part of my daily routine and make it work for me. Over the years I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that I live by to keep my email organized.

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

Folders

I have several folders created within my inbox, but there’s 3 that really help me to stay organized. 1) Waiting to hear back: I bcc myself on emails that I really need a response from others on and then move it to this folder. If you don’t bcc yourself on the email, you can simply dig these out of your sent folder. 2) To do next week: I check this folder every Sunday and follow up as needed. These are emails that aren’t urgent and/or will take a while to respond to. If I know an email isn’t going to get responded to this week, I like being able to move it out of my inbox. 3) Confirmations: including flight confirmations, Amazon orders, etc.

Filter, Filter, Filter

As a Gmail user, I use the Promotions & Social filters religiously! If you receive an email that isn’t worthy of going straight to your inbox, but instead is more of a Promotion or Social (think Facebook notification emails), simply drag it over to the Promotion or Social tab and click “yes” to the ‘do this action next time’ pop up.

The 2 Minute Rule

The two-minute rule can really apply to any task you have, including emails. If it can be done in 2 minutes, do it now! It will get off your mind and out of your inbox. Otherwise you’ll likely spend MORE than 2 minutes on the email every time you open your inbox and see that email sitting there. Most emails can be answered in five sentences or less so there’s no reason not to tackle!

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

Schedule

Years ago I read somewhere that the average person checks their email before brushing their teeth in the morning. I thought that sounded ridiculous until I realized that I did that EVERY day! I’m also guilty of being in the car as a passenger or even standing in line at the grocery store while checking email with no intention of replying right then. STOP THIS! It’s wasted time if you’re not able to do anything about the email you’re reading. Yes, I realize some of us have jobs where we need to be reading email at all times, but unless you’re one of those people, grocery line email checking is probably not productive!

Instead, schedule times in your day where you’re going to focus on email. Even if that means 10 minutes every hour to start off with. I started off scheduling 10 times a day (yes 10!) and then was able to move down to 3 specific times a day where I’m focusing on reading & responding to new incoming email.

Turn OFF Notifications

My phone (and ipad) used to light up every time I received a new email and of course I would jump to read it. I’d see the email popup on my ipad while Joe & I were watching TV and spend the entire time wondering what the email was about instead of watching the show. What a waste! Now this is an obvious tip, but turn OFF all those notifications. I don’t even want to know if I have new messages until I actually go into my email account.

Unsubscribe

The last step for organizing your email should be to unsubscribe from emails you don’t want to see. I used to simply delete the emails instead of taking the 30 seconds (or less!) to unsubscribe. I always worried that maybe sometime I’d miss a future email that I really wanted so I wouldn’t unsubscribe. I changed my tune and strongly believe in getting OFF the email lists that are not benefiting you. Yes, you could always just delete the emails when they come to your inbox, but wouldn’t it be nice if you never received them in the first place?

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

May you all see an EMPTY inbox!

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

 

 

 

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

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When I first started creating my blog is was much easier said than done. There’s so many options, tools and resources to choose from. Of course I had no idea which to choose from nor what I really needed. For me, it’s been an ongoing learning process … as technology changes, as my blog grows and I offer more to my readers, I constantly have to evaluate the resources I’m currently using. At first I found this completely overwhelming (wordpress.com vs wordpress.org. Seriously. not. the. same. thing. WTF?), but now I find the whole technology piece kind of exciting.

Below is my list of blogging resources that I’m currently using and have found the most success with. I hope this is helpful to all of you current and future bloggers!

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!HOW TO BLOG RESOURCES

Building a Framework: I found Abby’s blog through Pinterest about a year ago and loved her writing style. I first purchased her Starter Package ebook. I was hooked. Her information was so easy to follow and I appreciated that it was written for those who wasn’t tech savvy in the world of blogs. I really resonated with her story of having little confidence in her blog that she didn’t show her friends or family at first. Loved the ebook so much that I upgraded to her Master Package that includes video tutorials (being a visual person, these were super helpful). Added awesome bonus is that whenever she updates her ebooks, I’ll always receive an updated version.

How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul: I learned about Ruth (author) from seeing her online blogging course referenced by so many bloggers, eliteblogacademy.com. The price was a little steep for me and registration wasn’t yet open, so I opted for her book. I can only imagine what the course is like because the book amazing. Every page is filled with great content and tips. No BS filler pages. I could barely take notes because I’d basically be rewriting the book. Yeah, you can say that I’m a fan.

WEB HOSTING / THEMES

Media Temple: This is the only hosting site I’ve used (although there’s MANY to choose from!) and it’s been working great for me so far. I’ve only had to call their customer service a couple times, one for a really stupid question and then one for a really stupid error on my part that turned in to a really technical coding question. Both times they were extremely helpful. I selected Media Temple after some digging on what other bloggers were using and it seems to be the industry standard with medium to large size blogs. I like that it has various packages based on my blog size & page views, which means someone like me who is just starting off can stay with Media Temple as my blog (hopefully) grows. The idea of switching hosting sites doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun Friday night 🙂 . So choose wisely for your hosting site!

Does this sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, it did for me too! I created a step by step guide to help you through setting up your own blog!

Studio Press Genesis Framework: Once you have a hosting site, you’ll need a framework in order to build your site. The Genesis Framework is a very common option and supports ‘responsive themes’, meaning it will look great on mobile devices. Admittedly I didn’t do a lot of research on other frameworks once I realized the popularity of the Genesis Framework (I had no desire to go rouge on something I knew nothing about). It’s popular for a reason!

Pretty Darn Cute Theme: The last piece to the puzzle is your theme. Think of a theme as the aesthetics of your blog. You’ve got our hosting site and framework and now you need to make it pretty. To me, this was the fun part! I’d compare it to going to a party: you’ve got the invite (hosting site), you know the dress code (framework) and now you get to pick your outfit (theme). OK, this is a stretch, but you get the idea. So many of the Pretty Darn Cute themes matched the style I was looking for that it was actually hard to choose (I was going for simple and clean). The tutorials and suggested plug-ins were incredibly helpful to a rookie like me. Also, all these themes are ‘responsive’ meaning it looks great on mobile apps.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Buffer: I use three social media “helpers”. For Twitter I use Buffer, which allows me to draft my tweets in advance and Buffer will then publish them at a future time. I use the free option with allows me to draft up to 10 posts at a time. I can customize WHEN the tweets will post, but I opted to go with Buffer’s suggested times, as I’m NO expert in this field. There’s both an app on web version, but I find myself most often using the web option.

Publish: The second “helper” I use is Publish for Instagram. This also allows you to draft your pics & descriptions ahead of time, yet it will not actually post in your Instagram account for you. Instead it will give you a message on your phone when your pic is scheduled to post. (The inability to post automatically is due to Instagram’s API, not Publish.)

Viraltag: Viraltag is the final helper that I use.  This tool publishes all my posts to Pinterest for me so that I can continually be moving my new and old posts out through my boards and my group boards without spamming everyone with a zillion pins going out at the same time. Admittedly at first, I didn’t think this was necessary (and that I could build some badass spreadsheet to track when and where to push each pin). The reality the only fun part was building that badass spreadsheet because the tedious task of managing so many different posts was beyond ridiculous. The cost is $30 (again I was hesitant), but I became a huge fan.  There’s a 14 day free trial. At minimum, it’s worth trying out for free. Plus if you purchase through my link, you’ll get a $15 credit.

FONTS

Font Bundles: I had always been nervous to venture in to the world of purchasing fonts. Sounds totally confusing, expensive and time consuming. That was until I stumbled upon Font Bundles. From my research, this is pretty much the cheapest & most straight forward way to buy fonts. I like that they offer font packages, meaning I can purchase a group of fonts, sometimes up to 30 or so for roughly $30. This was really beneficial because it allowed me to search through many different fonts to pick which I like best for the given project I’m working on. (I used Font Bundles for my logo) Also, there’s no ‘catch’. Often when purchasing fonts, you’ll have to pay annually and have tons of weird stipulations on when/where you can use the fonts. Font Bundles doesn’t have any of that.

PHOTOGRAPHY

My Camera: I have a Canon PowerShot G16 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera (longest camera name ever). I opted to purchase the bundle back with the tripod and other accessories because the cost was only marginally more and I knew the tripod would come in handy. (It has!) I’m in no way a photography expert, but this camera seemed to be complex but simple enough for me, if that makes sense.

iPhone: admittedly a lot of my pictures just come from my iPhone. I used to think that good photos could never come from a phone, but I’ve been happily surprised on what I’ve been able to do with my iPhone 5S, especially with the built in photo filter options. Plus, the reality is I always forget to take my camera with me. So there’s that 🙂 .

VSCOcam: A step up from just using the standard iPhone filters is the VSCOcam app. A friend introduced me to this when I begged her for her secret in her beautiful facebook photos. My #nofilter hashtag as officially gone out the window.

Picmonkey: This photo editing site also allows me to add wording right on to my photos (think Pinterest Pins). Really nice ‘two for one’! It’s free, but I opted to go with the paid option ($33/year) due to the additional font styles & editing options. I’m barely tipping the iceberg on the functionality of Picmonkey. You’ll definitely want to have a way to edit your photos on your computer and add wording. If you’re already a sophisticated photography, you may need something more advanced. But for a rookie like me, this works perfectly.

PLUG-INS

Akismet: This is a very very popular plug-in for combating spam in your post comments. I forget I even have this plug-in, which means it’s absolutely doing it’s job.

Send Email Only on Reply to My Comment: This sends an email to the person who commented on your blog once you reply to their comment so that they don’t have to remember to continually check your blog to see if you responded. Ummm GENIUS.

Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator: A favicon is the icon associated with a URL that is displayed in the browser bar (don’t worry, I had to google this too). I wanted to change mine from what my Theme provided. Thus mine is now a heart shape. Super easy as you simply upload your new icon into the plug-in.

Genesis eNews Extended: If you’re collecting contact information to do a mailing list/newsletter, I highly recommend this plug-in. I use this at the top of my site. It’s essentially the link between my mailchip (email marketing software) and my site.

JQuery Pin It Button For Images: As we all know Pinterest is king for lifestyle bloggers. So it goes without saying you need to pin your posts. This will create an automatic ‘pin it’ button and link to all your photos. I specifically like JQuery because it was really easy to upload a customized ‘pin it’ button, as I wanted mine to be black and white as opposed to the standard Pinterest red.

PopUp Ally Pro: Popups are a HUGE way to increase your email lists, but also your social media accounts (I’m currently running a popup on my blog asking my visitors to like my Facebook account). PopUp Ally is the industry standard for website popups. They have a free version that’s great. I just recently started paying for their pro version, which provides responsive smart phone popups (aka- the pop up is formatted in a nice version for an iphone user). Since over 80% of my pageviews come from visitors on their smart phones, this was a no brainer for me. PopUp Ally “pro” has a 21 day trial period at no cost, so it’s worth testing out even if you don’t want to pay for it afterwards. Remember, email lists are crucial to blog growth, so make sure you’re collecting those emails from the start!

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!

KEEPING ORGANIZED

So I obviously pride myself on being organized, but let tell you, starting a blog was overwhelming. I think it was all the NEW information and things I needed to research. I’m a paperless gal, so putting all my information and to-do lists in an online form is second nature to me. Personally I’ve been using Evernote for quite a long time (for my day job and personal), so I just added a new ‘notebook’ for blogging. Now starting to use Evernote is NOT for the faint of heart. Totally worth it in my opinion but takes some getting used to. If you’re pretty tech savvy, you can learn it on your own, but a couple of blogging friends of mine have recommended this guide. Microsoft has their version called OneNote. Being from Microsoft homeland (Seattle), I know LOTS of people who swear by OneNote. I had just started using Evernote years ago and got too used to it to try a different option.

Google: To keep my blogging separate (and organized), I created a separate Google account which provided me with an email address (thecrazyorganizedblog{at}gmail{dot}com), Google+ account (which I haven’t done anything with it yet), and calendar. The calendar feature is where I plot out all my future posts so that I make sure I know what will be posted for the coming months. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE (not as much as I love coffee, but close) their survey feature in Google. I’ve used it for creating surveys for my readers. It’s basic but really easy to use.

EMAIL DISTRIBUTION LIST

MailChimp: I had used MailChimp at work so I was familiar with it and to be honest, at this point I couldn’t handle any new technology.  So by default I went with MailChimp for my newsletter. Later I did do some researching to find out what others were using and fortunately MailChimp seemed to be the leader! Probably because the user interface is really clean and easy. Also, it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. Once you get more there’s a tier based pricing model, but that’s probably a good problem to have :).

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!This post has been featured in: Inside the Fox Den

Some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend. And all of the blogging resources above are ones I’m currently using NOW! Thanks for helping support my blog!

 

 

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!

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Back when I was working in an office I actually hated working from home and rarely took the opportunity. So when I started working from home full time, it was a HUGE adjustment for me. While I always thought I was pretty darn organized, this was new territory for me. I couldn’t concentrate and always felt like I was just ‘hanging out’ although I definitely wasn’t. But once I was more intentional about replicating my ‘in the office’ behaviors, my productivity at home nearly doubled!

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!Here’s what I learned after a month of working from home!

1 Get ready for work right when you get up in the morning, not say …. an hour in to doing work.  Originally I would wake up and start working right away in the morning, but still hadn’t changed out of my pajamas, washed my face or brushed my teeth. I’m not sure that I became more productive by getting ready first, but I definitely felt better!

2 Although I still wear sweats every day during the day, I did opt to wear ‘nicer’ ones that my standard lounging around ‘I should probably throw away they’re so old‘ clothes. It made me feel more put together.

3 We still haven’t gotten blinds in our new townhouse, so in the morning I work in the kitchen because the sunlight hits right on my eyes in the office. Then afternoon I switch to our office. Although not intentional (obviously I should buy blinds!), even when we do get blinds I will still continue this mid day desk switch as it makes for a really nice change of scenery.

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

4 Each night before I go to bed I create a to-do list of the essentials that I need to get done the next day. If you’re someone who’s work allows you to pick and choose what you’re going to do each day, I think this is essential. This also really helps me know when to ‘turn it off’ as there’s ALWAYS work to do. Once I finish the critical items I can then decide how much longer I want to work that day.

5 Each Sunday I spend about 15 minutes planning out my entire week on my Google calendar. I’m talking hour to hour scheduling! Everything gets a calendar invite and everything is planned out in advance. At first it did feel a little odd to plotting out which times I was taking a break to take Reagan (our new puppy) to the dog park or do chores around the house, but it really helped provide structure. This also helped me see exactly how long I was working for. Sometimes when working from home it can seem like you’re ALWAYS working but in reality that wasn’t’ the case for me.

6 Make sure to set boundaries and ensure everyone knows that you’re WORKING from home. It’s always always always nice to help out friends and spouses during the day when you can, but it’s up to you to use your time as productively as possible. Typically when I don’t get enough work done during the day I end up making up for it in the evenings.

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

7 One of the biggest adjustments in working from home for me was not having coworkers to interact with throughout the day. Not only is it nice to bounce ideas off of someone, it helps to have someone else to chat with periodically to break up the day! Initially I made the rookie mistake of having the TV during the day, just as background noise. Then I started finding myself getting a little too sucked in to the episode (embarrassingly it was Gossip Girl). That’s when I made the switch to listening to music while I work.

8 If you’ll have a schedule where you can decide WHEN you work, it’s a nice perk to be able to take advantage of getting some couple household things done during the day. From experience I can tell you that grocery stores are near EMPTY on Tuesdays at 9am! The consolation may be that you need to adjust your work schedule to do work in the evenings and weekends.  I’d give you the low down on what the gyms look like mid week, but I’m still working on getting that gym membership 🙂 .Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

 

 

 

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Ever wanted to start a blog, but been too intimidated w/ the technology? This step by step guide will take you through EVERY part of setting up a new blog!

Recently several friends ask me how I set up my blog. Thinking that they really were just being polite I say something like “Oh I use WordPress, but do it through a separate hosting company to make it easier.” That’s when the head nodding and the ‘why are you not explaining this more?’ looks come.

Having no idea that others would really be interested in following suite and possibly starting to blog, I didn’t have an elevator pitch for why I chose WordPress or what the heck a ‘hosting’ company is, let alone how to find one and how much it costs.
Ever wanted to start a blog, but been too intimidated w/ the technology? This step by step guide will take you through EVERY part of setting up a new blog!

Having done a ridiculous amount of research prior to launching my blog, the actual set up and starting out process was a lot less intimidating than anticipated. I was so nervous to dig in to the technology aspect of setting up a blog that I actually had blog posts written in word documents before I even set up my website. Realistically it isn’t as hard as I thought, IF you start out using the right tools. That’s the catch.  My criteria was that I wanted a blog site that was capable of making some side money, tools that I didn’t need to be tech savvy to understand, and support when I have rookie technical questions. Ideally I wanted to be using the tools that other bloggers were using (aka I didn’t want to use a super cheap unreliable option).

Based on those requirements, I chose a WordPress.org site hosted by Media Temple.

I had debated between Blogger & WordPress, but ultimately went with WordPress when hearing that so many bloggers I follow had actually SWITCHED from Blogger to WordPress. (for the record, I never ever ever EVER want to have to switch my blog from one to another. Sounds awful & complicated.)

Quick note on the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org …. wordpress.com is the free option that doesn’t allow for advertising and monetizing the way wordpress.org does. Using wordpress.ORG does NOT mean that you have to have a .org at the end of your website. Embarrassingly, I thought that was the case. 

The key to making the setup of your WordPress site easy is to have someone else do it for you. (setting up a blog and everything else in life, right???) At first I thought why would I ever PAY someone to do this for me when I could probably figure it out myself? Fair question, BUT unless you’re extremely tech savvy, you will pay someone. For context, I do not know a single blogger that doesn’t pay to have this set up and hosted.

After tons of research and literally cold calling bloggers that I looked up to (by cold calling I mean sending an email that started out something like this …. “so I’ve been following you (your blog) FOREVER and I know you don’t know me, but …..”. Fortunately the blogging community is so incredibly kind and supportive that I received SO much helpful information back. The trend I saw was that most of the bigger blogs were using Media Temple and were happy with it. Not being the expert in this arena, I wasn’t going to argue trends so I jumped on the Media Temple bandwagon.

So now that you know where I’m coming from, here’s my step by step guide to how I set up my blog. And I mean STEP BY STEP….. I took a screenshot of EVERYTHING. If you’re anything like me, you hate when there’s missing screenshots, no matter how self explanatory it may be.

4 easy steps to start a blog

  1. Purchase hosting
  2. Choose your domain name
  3. Register through your hosting company
  4. Install WordPress

Step 1 Purchase hosting 

A ‘host’ provides server space for your site so others can find you on the internet. As I mentioned above, I opted for Media Temple based on what my fellow bloggers were using.

Go to Media Temple, scroll down, and select your plan. Unless you’re a large company or have a huge blog that’s switching hosting companies, you should select the “Personal” option on the far left.

how to start a blog

Next you need to decide how you want to pay for your site (monthly or annually). If you can swing it, I highly recommend paying annually, as you’ll get 2 months free. But if that’s too much out of pocket at once, you can definitely select the monthly option.

how to start a blog

Step 2 choose your domain name

A domain is simply the web address. Mine is thecrazyorganizedblog.com. If you haven’t yet decided what yours will be, you should do that now. Once you decide what you want, search online to see if someone else already has it. I had initially wanted crazyorganized.com as my domaine name, but it was already in use. You may have to get creative on this if your desired domain name is already taken 🙂 .

A couple tips to consider with your domain name:

  • Use .com at the end whenever possible
  • try to avoid numbers, hyphens & unique characters
  • keep it as simple as you can so that your visitors remember it!

The next screen you’ll get to asks if you want to add a domain name. Unless you’ve already registered yours elsewhere, you’ll want to enter your desired domain name AND register it (that way it’s yours and no one else can take it). Media Temple will check to see if it truly is available.how to start a blogIf your desired domain name is already in use by someone else, Media Temple will let you know. They’ll also give you a couple other suggestions of names you can use. Personally I prefer the .com at the end of mine so when crazyorganized was taken, instead of using crazyorganized.net, I opted for thecrazyorganizedblog.com. It’s completely your choice though!
how to start a blogBefore checking out, Media Temple will ask you if you need any additional services/products. If you’re creating a standard blog, you can likely skip these. Note that you can always go back later on and purchase them if you decide you need them. (I skipped all of these!) how to start a blog

Step 3 Register through your hosting company

Now you’ll be prompted to sign in to Media Temple. If you haven’t used them before (which is likely), you’ll need to create an account.how to start a blogThis is a super duper standard account creation form, but as promised above, I’m giving you ever single screenshot to make this as easy as possible. Once you’re finished entering all your information, select the green “Create Account + Login” button at the bottom.

how to start a bloghow to start a blog

Step 4 Install WordPress

We’re in the home stretch (you’re almost finished)! Once you select the green “Create Account + Login” button, you’ll be brought to your Media Temple homepage, showing you your next billing cycle, services you have, and any current support requests. Yours will look a tad different as I hid some of my personal information from this screenshot.

Select the blue “Admin” button.how to start a blog

Here is your Control Panel, where you’ll find pretty much everything that has to do with your new blog site. Go to the ‘Add-Ons’ section and select “1 Click-Apps”.

We’re going to connect your domain name that you purchased to WordPress. (I’m sure the folks at Media Temple would have a more technologically sounding explanation for what we’re doing, but you get the gist 🙂 .)

how to start a blog

In Media Temple’s vocabularly, WordPress is an App, so select the blue “+New App” button.

how to start a blog

Select the blue “+ Add” button for WordPress, which is right in the middle. The two other options are for more specific online needs that aren’t needed for basic blog setup.

how to start a blog

Enter your domain name WITHOUT the www. (If you would like your site to always load with the www, then you can set that within the site url settings from the WordPress admin panel.)

how to start a blog

For the database setup, keep it on “New Database” and create a username. I recommend your username be something similar to your blog domain name. In the event that you have more than one blog in the future, you’ll know which is which.

how to start a blog

Leave the database table prefix as is and select the blue “install” button.

how to start a blog

Installation will take around 15 minutes. Once the status changes to “finish installation” select the ….. well don’t know what that button is, but select the button that my pink arrow is pointing to. how to start a blog

You’re now in WordPress land! Fill out your Blog Title & Email before selecting “Install WordPress”. I keep the ‘allow my blog to appear in search engines’ checked. The more traffic I can get to my blog, the better! The only reason I could think to NOT select this is if you have a blog just for family and friends that you really don’t want anyone else to find.how to start a blogYou now officially have a blog site! On a day to day basis, you’ll be in working in WordPress, not Media Temple, to write posts, edit, etc. You can get to WordPress through logging in to your Media Temple account, but the easiest way is to simply add /wp-admin to the end of your blog URL. So mine is thecrazyorganizedblog.com/wp-admin. Then just enter your username & password.

how to start a blog

Thanks for bearing with me with this super long post! You’ll notice that your site is probably rather basic and not very pretty. Next week I’m going to share a separate post on how to install a theme onto your site (aka thing you need to make your site pretty). In the mean time, play around in WordPress to get acclimated. If WordPress seems confusing and not very user friendly, you’re not alone. It now seems like second nature to me, but it definitely didn’t at the beginning. While you’re testing out WordPress, take a look at my blogging resources page for a list of the plug-ins (aka … extras) that I think are most important to have on your site.

See you next week fellow BLOGGER!
Ever wanted to start a blog, but been too intimidated w/ the technology? This step by step guide will take you through EVERY part of setting up a new blog!

 

 

Ever wanted to start a blog, but been too intimidated w/ the technology? This step by step guide will take you through EVERY part of setting up a new blog!

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Learn the top 10 things organized people do on a regular basis. Easy to implement and will make you more organized instantly!I think of myself as a pretty self aware person. I know my Learn the top 10 things organized people do on a regular basis. Easy to implement and will make you more organized instantly!strengths and weaknesses. For example, baking is not a strength of mine as evident of this #pinterestfail. I’ll let you guess which one is mine. —->

What I lack in operating an oven, I hopefully make up in organizing. I’m not perfect, but I do love it and am intentional about how I spend my time. I came up with 10 ‘principles’ so to speak that I try to follow:

1. Make a List and Check It Twice

FREE your mind (and the rest will follow) …. Literally. Yes, we all make to-do lists. That’s a given. But the uber organized write down EVERYTHING. No matter how small in order to get it off their mind. Yes, you’re smart and yes, you may have an awesome memory. Yet, if you’re taking up space in your mind remembering tiny details, you’re likely not able to focus on the task at hand. Whether you’re an electronic gal like me (Wunderlist and Todoist are awesome apps) or a paper gal, have a place where you write down things that pop up. My phone comes with me to bed (and it’s not just because it’s my alarm clock) 🙂 . If it’s on my mind before I go to bed it gets typed in my phone.

2. A Home for Everything

I’m not going to go crazy and say you can’t have a junk drawer or two, but everything in your home should have … well a home. Clutter adds chaos. Not only should everything have a home, but that home should make sense. For example, my coffee cups are in the cabinet directly above my coffee machine so it makes getting coffee in the morning easier (which is fabulous because I drink about 5 cups of coffee a day). I also spend 10 minutes at the end of the day, cleaning out my ‘junk spaces’ and putting those items back in to their home. Although I may allow for a junk basket to throw things in, I don’t allow the items to say in there long. Otherwise I really don’t need them … which leads me to #3.

3. No Unnecessary Clutter

That old rule ‘if you haven’t used it in 6 months it has to go’ is in full swing. Organized people don’t have unnecessary STUFF hanging around their house that they don’t use, even for that magical ‘rainy day’. Everything has a place and everything has a purpose. As a self declared pack rat, it took me a little while to get onboard with this. When my husband, Joe, and I first moved in together 5 years ago, we both owned our own toasters. I had a near nervous breakdown when he said we couldn’t keep both. “But if one breaks, then we’ll have an extra” was my justification. Well 5 years later the wining toaster (his) still hasn’t broke. And yes, I got rid of mine.


4. Love Mornings!

Yep, you knew this one was coming. You may not be a morning person; no one is telling you that you need to get up before the sunrise, BUT …. you should be intentional about what you do in the morning. Have a plan. For example, the age old statement that organized people make their bed every morning does have merit. But don’t limit it to that. Something as simple as taking out dishes from the dishwasher can set the tone for the day. For me I wipe down our kitchen counters every morning. I hate crumbs and it’s oddly calming to get home after a long day at work and know my kitchen doesn’t look like a mess. I also try to wake up an extra 10 minutes early (it’s totally doable… it’s 10 minutes!) just so I don’t feel like I’m rushing in the morning. Nothing makes me feel more disorganized than a morning scramble.

5. Break Down Big Projects

Large projects can be overwhelming and stressful. And most of the time the stress isn’t helpful in feeling organized or efficient. For example I’m hosting out of town guests in a couple weeks. Since that’s not really a to-do list item, I break it down in to categories such as itinerary, cleaning, groceries. Then under each of those categories I will list the action items I need to do. So for groceries my action items are:

  • Make a list of the groceries we need for the weekend
  • Check the kitchen to see which of those items I already have
  • Go to the grocery store to purchase the remaining items

Yes, this isn’t brain surgery. But the sooner you do this, the easier it is to prevent last minute fire drills and stress.

6. An Organizing System That’s Realistic 

You can have the fanciest newest app or prettiest binder with as many tabs as your heart desires, but if it’s not realistic to maintain you might as well skip it completely. For the longest time I was the queen of this. Not the princess, the QUEEN. I’d spend hours transferring all my to do items over to my newest system. At the end I feel like I conquered the world. But actually I didn’t accomplish anything. And most of these were so rigorous that I couldn’t keep up and I’d fail within a week. Sadly, it would have been a better use of my time to color code my sock drawer.

Learn the top 10 things organized people do on a regular basis. Easy to implement and will make you more organized instantly!7. Do It Now

Organized people want to act and get things done. Why put off for tomorrow what can be done today? This ensures that your to do list doesn’t pile up unnecessarily. Something as little as bringing dirty laundry down from the bedroom to the laundry room as you’re walking past this room saves time and effort later on. We have a 3 story townhouse (yes, this my way of exercising) and I have a rule that I never walk up or down a flight of stairs empty handed.

8. Prioritize The Things You NEED To Get Done

Over the things you ‘want’ to get done. There’s always things on our to-do list that we just aren’t excited about. Well, find that thing and do it today. Get it off your mind and checked off your list. You’ll feel so much better and you won’t spend time dreading it. I learned this lesson the hard way. For me it was calling a plumber. Our toilets were making really weird noises (literally sounded like this) and my husband was really busy with a work project so I got the job of handling it. I just didn’t want to deal with it. Not my wheel house. I actually put doing laundry ahead of the toilet. Well, by the time I finally called a plumber the problem had gotten so much worse and cost us a lot more money to fix. Tough. Lesson. Learned. Ugh.

9. Planning

This is another cliche organizing word. But it’s true. Organized people not only figure out what they need to accomplish today, but in to the future. For example, I try to go grocery shop every Saturday morning. By looking ahead at my calendar I realized I needed to bring a present to our friends’ son’s birthday party in three weeks. The grocery store is near Target = one trip out instead of two. I just saved myself at least an hour or two making a separate trip.

10. Multi-Tasking is SO 2014

More and more us type A people like to boast that we’re always multitasking. We’re doing so much at once. Aren’t we amazing? But seriously. Yes, you may be doing a couple things at once, but how well are you doing any of them? And how long did it take you to complete those things? Ever try to just buckle down and do one thing at a time? So a slightly embarrassing confession: I’ve been known to get on a stair climber, drink a glass of wine while responding to emails and watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Let’s just say, I definitely didn’t burn any calories and it I had to reread each email about 3 times before I could respond. Now wine & Real Housewives is multitasking I’ve definitely mastered 🙂 .Learn the top 10 things organized people do on a regular basis. Easy to implement and will make you more organized instantly!

Learn the top 10 things organized people do on a regular basis. Easy to implement and will make you more organized instantly!

 

 

Learn the top 10 things organized people do on a regular basis. Easy to implement and will make you more organized instantly!

 

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