Goals | How I choose my goals for the month

I received a question from Cassey, the ESFJ who spoke to me about Konmari.

 I was wondering if you would do a post on how you determine your goals for the month.

I’d be keen to pick up tips.

So this is for Cassey and anyone else who may be curious.

Goals | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I have a process, which goes roughly like this:

  1. I do a thorough annual goals review and planning. It takes me a few sessions to do properly but it’s worth it. I use Leonie’s workbook and my own goals & intentions doc (which I’ll make available next week).
  2. My annual goals stem from my purpose, my word of the year, and sometimes what is pressing. Like the year we had to investigate schools for the twins…. or for the year when my word was “create“, my goals were centred around creating memories for my kids, creating personally in the way of photography, courses on this site and crafts. One of the things I’ve focussed on this year with my word “enough” is getting enough sleep. There’s no point pursuing something that has nothing to do with what you believe your purpose to be.
  3. Then I do monthly goals planning. This happens on Goals Night.
  4. It helps to keep in mind which goals are habits and which are projects. E.g. going to the gym 3 times a week is a habit, but training for a particular marathon is a project. Of course, the habit helps set you up for success.
  5. Then I choose some goals to work on every week and for others, I set up my environment (diary and physical environment) for success, so that it will happen naturally. Like the way I always have a book with me, and I always have a book ready in my Audible account. There really is no reason for me to ever say “I couldn’t read because I didn’t have a book”. Here’s how I make time to read.
  6. I take those weekly goals, spread them out over some of the days of the week according to my schedule so that I’m likely to get them done.
  7. And of course, review, review, review. I look at them daily, thoroughly every week and even more thoroughly every month.

Goals | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I love talking about goals and it’s true, Goals Night is by far my favourite night of the month :)

I want to quickly chat about a few highlights in November and then once I hit publish, I’ll be setting my goals for December… bliss!

November highlights

  • I passed my Spanish exams.
  • I passed my industry exams.
  • The weather cooled down and we were able to go for NINE walks which means… we reached our goal for the year of #52walksin2015

Goals | www.OrganisingQueen.comI read 6 books, 2 of them non-fiction.

My sleep average improved by 8 minutes :)

How was your November?

Lessons learnt from my new floors


Lessons learnt from new floors | www.OrganisingQueen.com

This is not a post about new floors, although it kind-of is :)

It’s more about what those new floors represent.

We (me) wanted new carpets last year but didn’t get around to it then and then it appeared on this year’s house to-do list.

Since this house is very cold in winter, I got quotes but we left it til after winter as I couldn’t bear the thought of non-carpeted floors in the midst of a cold, Joburg winter.

Lessons learnt from new floors | www.OrganisingQueen.com

And then our plans were slightly derailed.

The people phoned me to tell me our floors were uneven, and really bad, and bottom line, we couldn’t have those floors sanded and sealed, but could re-carpet or do laminate flooring.

I was half in love with the idea of naked floors and I’d seen this picture of Elsie’s floors which I completely love.

Long story short, two hours later we chose the colours we wanted and the next day I had FLOORS!

Lessons learnt from new floors | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I love my new floors.

They are great at making the space feel light and airy, and are also great backdrops for photos 😉

And then I asked myself the question, “why did I wait so long?”

Seriously, why?

Lessons learnt from new floors | www.OrganisingQueen.com

These floors have made me ponder two things:

1. I could have been enjoying new floors for a few years had I taken a chance.

Why am I so risk-averse? (this is why it’s good to read The Nester’s book – it’s more about taking risks, embracing imperfection, etc. than about decorating!) I am fairly cautious with money but I’m getting better. I even shop for furniture online these days :)

2. Next time I have a choice, I’m going to put a deadline on my procrastinating (because that endless back and forth is really just procrastination) and just make the best choice with the information I have available.

I made a choice once in my life with available information that turned out to be terrible, and I kept beating myself up about that decision again and again. Til one day a friend told me, “you looked at all the information, made a decision and yes, it turned out to be a terrible situation but you did the best you could at the time”.

This freed me up somewhat, but is probably also the reason I’m a little (lots!) scared to make seemingly permanent decisions these days.

So if anyone’s in the same boat, take a calculated risk.

Who knows, you might end up loving the result!

PS for some of you, floors/ house risks are no big deal but updating your CV and looking for a job/  asking out a new friend for coffee might be a big deal for you.

One hour to sanity

Break out of overwhelm

If you’re feeling a little bit crazed and harried, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

This time of year makes us all feel a little bit tense, irritable and even overwhelmed, and we’re all just waiting for people to go on leave, aren’t we? :)

Here are a few resources to help you:

1. Use the Master To-Do list in the Time Management Purpose Pack on this page and get your head empty of anxiety as you write down everything.

2. How I deal with overwhelm

3. Break out of overwhelm (one hour to more peace and calm)

4. Avoiding Pinterest overwhelm

Wishing you reduced overwhelm this week!

PS please share these resources with a stressed/ overwhelmed friend today

{Konmari} tidying the books – finally

I’ve written quite a bit over the years about how much I love my Kindle but the fact of the matter is that I still have a ton of physical books.

It could have been worse but thankfully, I only keep books I really love/d.

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So one weekend I decided I had to finally tackle those shelves and ask The Question, “does this spark joy?”

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

it’s always a good idea to dust once the shelves are actually clear :)

Marie Kondo, in her life-changing book, does say a few interesting things about the process of decluttering books:

  1. books are one of three things most difficult to get rid of (is this true for you?)
  2. fewer books mean there’s a bigger impact on the information (true!)
  3. timing is everything. The moment you come across and feel compelled to buy is the right time for you.
Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

the two books on the left are borrowed indefinitely from friends… so yay, when I read them, I can return them!

Maybe number 3 is true for others, but I buy kind-of all the time because I’m reading and finding books online all the time. I’ve only recently stopped buying ahead on Audible. I’m listening to one book at the moment, and have one more ready to go. I don’t want to gather/ hoard more than this.

The thing is I do get to a lot of books much later than I intend to….and most times, I’m compelled to read them at the right time. There are physical books I’m sure I will read still on my shelves.

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

these are books I LOVE or definitely want to read. Motherstyles is my most favourite parenting book ever!

That said, I took her point about asking yourself, “does this move me or not, and am I happy to see it on my shelves?”

And that was the filter I used to declutter.

I must add that the task was much bigger in my head than in reality (isn’t it always?!). Once I started working, it probably only took me an hour to finish the exercise!

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

this pile went…

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

as did this pile (A painted house is my favourite John Grisham but I haven’t re-read it in the 10 years we’ve been in this house so I’m not likely to do so, right?)

I got rid of (well, that box is still standing in my entrance way ready to go to the secondhand bookshop) about 20 – 30 books that I liked the idea of, but know I probably won’t ever read, even though many of them are new.

I’m sure I could have done better but for now, this felt enough for me :)

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Mission accomplished – I’m finally down to just 3 shelves :)

How are you doing with Konmari? Has anyone done their books? Was it torturous for you?

Organising | kids’ school lunches

My kids have always been good eaters – part of this is that they like food, and the other part is that I do things in a particular way which has had good results.

  1. When I try a new meal, I ask for a helper in the kitchen (one twin only). This makes the other twin super curious about what’s going on and while I’m cooking, I make a lot of oooh and aaah sounds, and we taste. We then invite the other twin to taste too, so by the time supper rolls around, everyone wants to eat.
  2. We don’t snack on carbs in between meals (we’ve relaxed this a bit but that’s usually in winter when everyone is hungrier) so they are genuinely hungry when it’s meal time.
  3. I don’t make a big deal about eating or not eating. I also don’t always feel like eating, so eat/ don’t eat – whatever! But… there are no alternative meals :)
Kids' school lunches | www.OrganisingQueen.com

wholewheat bread with peanut butter, apples with lemon juice

So they still eat very well at lunch time, but I have a few rules after trying all sorts of combinations the first couple of weeks of “big school”.

  1. there has to be a sandwich and fruit/ veg (my one twin could be vegetarian so often asks for carrots or tomatoes instead of fruit)
  2. we only allow tuckshop money on Fridays, and not every Friday
  3. I only pack snacks (nice things aside from the fruit and sandwich) on a Friday. I generally pack shareable items because I’m encouraging sharing (mini packs of gum sweets/ superC/ raising/ peanuts and raisins/ mini cheddars)
  4. if they don’t eat their lunch and only have the snacks, then that becomes the lunch when they get home from school. I don’t ever throw food away.
Kids' school lunches | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I think there were prunes in the container, and she wanted her ham next to her roll… #thisissix

Sandwich fillings are usually ham (I like Woolworths beech smoked ham), cheese, or peanut butter and jam. My kids don’t like Melrose (cheese spread) and we have never bought Marmite (neither of us like it). They do eat fish paste but like me, they prefer it at home on hot, buttered toast.

When I try to introduce new things, they tell me they like their same old fillings and it’s not boring for them.

I also think about the mess factor with lunches – while things like tuna mayo and egg mayo spreads are delicious, I wouldn’t want them messing about with that at school. As Kendra told me once, “we want food we can eat quickly so we have time to play”. Got it!

Kids' school lunches | www.OrganisingQueen.com

tiny bit of leftover pasta salad, carrots, ham on French loaf

Kids' school lunches | www.OrganisingQueen.com

same story with more carrots

Kids' school lunches | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Rolls with ham, banana, container with either raisins/ peanuts and raisins

All the pics were taken with my phone at night which is why they’re less-than-stellar.

I’m always asked about this topic so I hope this helps at least one mom. Let me know if this helps/ amuses you!

Tell me your lunchbox tips, and feel free to ask questions.

Workplace Wednesday | use pretty stationery

Pretty notebooks | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I have this thing with work stationery.

You see, I don’t like “boring” stationery so I buy my own nice pens, highlighters and most importantly, notebooks.

And, as you can see in the photo above, I also jazz up my binder clips :) Here is the tutorial. (Very useful to keep hands busy when you’re on the phone – I actually keep two rolls of washi tape in my stationery drawer at work)

I feel like we’re at work more than 8 hours a day so I want to surround myself with happy things.

My notebooks always get positive comments and most of all, it makes me really happy to write in pretty things.

What about you? Does your stationery make you happy?

If not, maybe you need to take a pretty notebook to work and buy yourself a Pentel pen :)

PS I bought this notebook when I visited the UK 7 years ago, so it made me extra happy when I remembered that shopping trip to Sainsbury’s with our friend, Shereen.

My Sunday evening routine

Are you doing weekly planning yet?

If not, give it a bash, just for one week and let me know how it goes.

Sunday evening routine | www.OrganisingQueen.com

For now, I thought I’d share a part of my Sunday evening routine.

What’s been working is combining cooking supper, supervising kids’ lunches and packing my own lunch too. When I’ve been lazy to do my own lunch then, I usually panic at 11 pm when I realise I still have to make lunch decisions. HUGE schlep!

Kids’ lunches

I’ve started teaching the kids to pack their own lunches. My love language is acts of service and I LOVE doing their lunches so I still do it 4 days a week, but I’m hopefully teaching them some independence by letting them do their own lunches for Mondays.

I call one kid at a time (the other one is in the bath) otherwise there will be a fight and I don’t particularly want fights when there are knives involved!

They feel proud of themselves and they also look forward to eating their own lunch the following day. Sometimes I even find that Connor’s taken a bite from his sandwich to taste if it’s good :)

Sunday evening routine | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Cooking supper

This is a quick and easy affair – either pasta, eggs or a combination of leftovers. Still, it needs assembling.

Packing my own lunch

I pack cereal, milk, yoghurt, 2 fruits (always a Granny Smith apple plus something else), a veg (usually tomatoes, sometimes carrots), and my lunch.

I also pack a clean water bottle and anything I need to replenish at work – tea bags, salt, Salticrax, etc.

This whole thing takes about 30 minutes and it’s so easy.

Tell me about your Sunday evening routine.

PS these photos are from a weekend kids’ lunch – one twin likes cucumber and the other one likes tomato.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Beautiful planner goodness awaits

I need to tell you that Leonie’s Amazing Life and Biz worksbooks (and much, much more) are ready for you. I’ve used these workbooks for the last 4? 5? years.

And…. I also need to apologise for only letting you know now because the to-do list pads are already sold out – so sorry!

Anyway, get over there and get your planner or workbook of choice – I always get the digital versions because postage is so crazy expensive for South Africans, so if you’re local, that might be your best choice too. However, rest of the world – go wild! I know she ships from Australia, UK and US so those regions shouldn’t be too bad.

Someone asked me how these compared to last year… well, they are even prettier than before. Beautiful colours, yummy paper but also, they’re organised into categories. E.g. for the life version, there are sections for health, relationships, home, etc.

I’m a firm believer that if something is beautiful to look at and touch, you’ll actually use it.

I definitely use this planner for all my end-of-the-year reviews (after I start off with my own one!), goal-setting and then I use lists like the 100 things to do list too.

Leonie Dawson2015 workbook| www.OrganisingQueen.com

Have a look and post your images as you start using them! I love seeing all the end-of-year planning going on :)

Free Christmas printables!

I’m so excited to give you these printables today.

I used to give my subscribers a huge PDF document but when I looked at it, I just couldn’t send it out.

It was far too *much* and didn’t spark joy. And most importantly, it didn’t feel authentic for me to talk about choosing priorities and living simpler, and then sending out a 20-page printable pack.

So, I made what I want to use – two months’ calendars, a page to map out your priorities (so you keep focussed), and a monthly and weekly breakdown.

Christmas printables |www.OrganisingQueen.com

Get it when you sign up to the list until about a week before Christmas because after that I’ll be sending out my favourite printable of the year, the 2016 Goals and Intentions Pack.

Enjoy using them and when you sit down to do your planning, take a pic and tag @OrganisingQueen on Instagram with #OrgQueenIntentionalChristmas

Wishing you joy as you plan for the holidays!

When is it worth it to buy a book?

How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.com

I read quite a lot – a little in excess of 5 books a month. I could read more but we’ve already spoken about how we’re all not reading enough.

Still, when I talk about my reading to people, I get a lot of questions about buying books, Kindle vs paper, library vs owning them, and so I thought I’d put together my thought process in the hope that it might help someone.

(let me know if that someone is you – it’s nice when you know your efforts landed somewhere!)

   How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.comFiction

I read far too much fiction (and far too quickly) to buy each and every book I read. The fiction I read comes from four places:

  1. the library – I have always loved the library. Always.
  2. Kindle deals (Amazon is amazing at telling me when books I’ve looked at go on sale 😉 so I can decide if I want to wait for the price to drop some more, or if I want to get the book there and then). I do like to have about 3 – 4 books on my Kindle when I go on holiday so I wait patiently til then to read all the Kindle novels I’ve been storing.
  3. secondhand bookstores – if I’m on holiday and I run out of books (this happened in April when we were in Sabie), I dash into a secondhand bookstore and grab a cheap copy of a book by an author I’m familiar with.
  4. gifts from my Amazon wish list

A word on libraries

I’ve recently discovered a new thing – reserving books. You complete a form, they phone you when the book’s in and then you pay R12 for the book. Where are you ever going to get a book for R12 these days?!

I reserved the Marian Keyes book in the top photo and I can’t wait to dig in.

How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.com


I only read 1 – 2 non-fiction books a month – my goal is 15 for the year – and here are the three sources of my non-fiction:

  1. Books from my bookshelf (I’ve been buying non-fiction at Exclusive Books my whole life and I buy them faster than I can read)
  2. Kindle (since I bought my Kindle nearly 5 years ago, I stopped buying physical books and get them on the Kindle)
  3. Audible – this is a new development since the beginning of this year and is perfect for using my commute time effectively. Since Audible, I no longer buy non-fiction for the Kindle unless the author is not reading their own work. Sadly, not all books are available on Audible but there are plenty to keep me busy for the next year or so :)

More on Audible

I have a few rules for myself:

  • I prefer it if the author reads their own work
  • If not, then I need to enjoy the narrator’s voice. One of my favourite books from this year, Overwhelmed, was narrated by someone else but she had a great voice and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

Earlier this year I felt a tad overwhelmed by all the books I’d bought and not yet listened to, so I paused my membership for 3 months while I caught up.

And that’s it!

How do you get the fiction or non-fiction books you read? Let me know on Facebook or Instagram.

How I read books |www.OrganisingQueen.com

A friend made me this beautiful Kindle cover. I love it!!!

More posts you might like:

Why I never thought I’d get a Kindle

2 years with my Kindle

3 years with my Kindle

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