{Live intentionally} Goals for August

I had a wonderful day on Wednesday. It’s always a wonderful day when I play with my goals :)

Goal-setting | Organising Queen

You see, I decided to go full-scale into my goals planning and so I did…

  • the July goals review
  • typed out my goals for August
  • typed out my “lovely things to do” for the year ahead list (I have a birthday on Wed) and
  • I made a new business list for the month. This one combines three of my prior planning tools – the monthly checklist, projects for the month and my current weekly rhythm (this changes all the time). One form is always better than three!

(the new form will go in the Live Organised Community member downloads area)

Goal-setting | Organising Queen

but first, how did I do on my July goals?

I got a lot of my goals done (launched Live Organised Community, did Languages of Appreciation talk for a financial services company, recorded Love languages audio, etc.), but I didn’t book as many Pick my Brain sessions as I’d wanted.

No worries – Pick my brain sessions are now open for August.

Goals for August

  1. Increase coaching fees (hopefully I’ll get this done this afternoon)
  2. Have a birthday sale (woohoo!)
  3. Post about the kids’ party (6 posts coming up!)
  4. Vision board project – do a couple of audios or a short podcast and at least 2 posts
  5. Get to 90% done on the writing of the time book
  6. Write blog post – top 5 time management books
  7. Write blog post – top 5 organising books
  8. Get more people signed up for Live Organised Community

What are some of your goals for August?

(survive is a goal :))

Heads-up: Live Organised Community

Live Organised Community

Just a quick heads-up:

Today is the last day to join the Live Organised Community at the special welcome price.

Don’t know what the Live Organised Community’s about?

Have a read here!

Our special project for August is building a vision board.

Put your goals back on track

I am an unashamed goal-setter.

Some people don’t like to call them goals so call them whatever you like. I like to think about them as things you want to be, do or achieve.

I’ve been setting and achieving goals for 16 years so I have just a small amount of experience in this area.

It’s easier to keep going with your goals if you start building up some momentum, no matter how slow.

At some point along the way, it’s very normal for people to want to just throw in the towel because they think it’s too hard to go after their goals.

If you can relate, that’s usually the point when you’re just about to get a breakthrough but only if you do these 3 things:

1. Look through your goals list and note down your achievements

Recognising your achievements makes you feel like a winner. Even if you only achieved part of a goal, you’re still streaks ahead of where you’d be if you didn’t do anything.

E.g. If you had on your list to get your entire home organised and you managed to do two rooms, you may feel demotivated. Don’t – you have two organised rooms!

(Some months we just have to tell ourselves “I survived – go me!”)

goals
2. Ask for the necessary help

This is a big one and very difficult for a lot of us women.

I’ll confess – I also hate asking for help but it’s often necessary. It helps get you out of the “I can do it all myself” mentality and best of all, it propels you forward.

One year, I had a blogging goal on my list that I’d made absolutely no headway on for 8 months so decided to hire a blog coach. Best thing I did because I had objective feedback from someone who knew more than I did. There really is no shame in asking for help.

3. When you do start making progress, celebrate

Celebrate the small wins as well as the big wins.

Non-fiction is not my favourite type of reading but I do want to learn about some topics so sometimes I’ll set a non-fiction reading goal (a specific book for the month) and then celebrate by reading a totally frivolous book purely for fun straight afterwards.

There are also ways to constructively celebrate bigger wins. One year I promised myself new photos for my website once I’d lost some weight. I needed to get the photos done anyway but this was some good motivation to get the weight moving in the right direction.

Doing these three things will start giving you momentum again and put you in a place of progress.

And when you keep steadily on, you’ll be sure to put your goals back on track.

Your action steps

1. Be brave and choose just 3 things that you still want to accomplish this year
2. Ask for help
3. Tell yourself you’re awesome!
Bonus – Sign up for the Live Organised Community

{Marcia gets craftsy} Photo cards

Photo cards | Organising Queen

This has got to be the easiest crafts ever. And one of the cutest. And a great way to use up extra photos you might have just thrown away or given to the kids to cut up *ahem*

Supplies

White cardstock (I happened to have some white cards ready so I used those)

Glue/ foam dots (or double-sided tape)

Photos (10 X 15)

Photo cards | Organising Queen

Method

Stick the 4 glue dots about 5 mm from the corners of the card

Affix your photo carefully

DONE!

How easy is that?!

Photo cards | Organising Queen

I got the idea from the lovely Georgia who took photos in her mom and MIL’s gardens and then made each of them a personalised set of notecards. SOOOO clever.

I just found the stash of extra cards around here (sometimes the printer acts up and prints the first one twice, or I find I miscounted and I only have so many photo sleeves in my album, or the Project Life spread suddenly doesn’t need that extra photo), and made a random selection of photos.

Photo cards | Organising Queen

Very clever trick - I found a couple of extra copies from our photoshoot late last year which I attached to existing thank-you cards we have from when the babies were 15 months old. The kids look very different now so I’d stopped using them but now I have a vision for these cards again :)

Photo cards | Organising Queen Photo cards | Organising Queen  Photo cards | Organising Queen  Photo cards | Organising Queen

I hope you give this a try and use up any photos laying around. The more arbitrary the photo, the better. (at least I think so).

Please let me know if you make some cards.

Do you just toss leftover photos? How do you use them?

Some reading for the weekend

If you want some firing up and motivation before the weekend, some really good reading I thoroughly recommend is my book, Live Organised.

Live Organised_Marcia Francois

It’s available on Kindle, as a physical copy and now as a PDF.

Get your copy now!

 

Some reading for the weekend | Organising Queen

  1. The book mentioned in this blog is on my wish list after reading the sample.
  2. Ronnie’s reality check in remaking her life.
  3. There are two types of people in this world – those who love categorising and those who don’t. I’m the first :) All Gretchen Rubin’s classifications in one place.
  4. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Financial Awesomeness
  5. Use your good stuff or Stop saving your stickers
  6. How to live a perfect life in 3 easy steps (it’s a bit of a rant-y post :))
  7. And last but not least, for all the fellow Seinfeld fans out there…a really fun post, the quest for the perfect black and white cookie

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Memory-keeping on a budget: My 5 best tips

I want to talk a little more about realistic memory-keeping.

I wrote a blog post about that before which focussed on the time aspect.

I thought I’d add to that post by talking about the other realistic side of memory-keeping, the budgeting part.

Here are my 5 tips on realistic memory-keeping on a budget.

1. Consider all your options before you start

We waste a lot of money (and time) when we don’t properly think through things. Some things you might want to consider are …

- what is your style?
- what is your budget? (your actual budget, not the idealistic budget) We all know this kind-of thing is a luxury so give yourself the permission to acknowledge that
- what do you NOT want to do?

I love the look of photobooks and so I bought some vouchers from 3 separate companies about 3 years ago. Well, I can now tell you I will never ever ever make a photo book again. I will happily pay for someone else (with my clean, visual style) to do it for me but for me, no thanks. You see, the book cost about R200 on special but I spent about 3 torturous hours putting it together. Not worth it for me. I would rather pay more and have someone else do it.

The next set was easier but still the time investment was a killer, and the third time (I don’t learn very quickly, do I?), when the system kept bombing me out, I asked for a refund and remembered why I do not do photobooks.

2. What is your minimum level for memory satisfaction?

There are many f.ree apps available and some very cost-effective ones too.

Is it snapping a photo with your phone?
Is it Instagramming it?
Is it putting a folder on Facebook?

I did a Project 365 last year. Most of my photos were also instagrammed but a lot weren’t. I didn’t want to Instagram hard days at work but they’re part of my story so those photos are saved to my Project 365, for my eyes only :)

JULY CALENDAR

3. Do you want to print anything?

After the photobook disasters, I decided that I’m just fine with photo albums. I love my photo albums. I have a big one for each child from 1 up to 5 years old. I print just 4 photos a month per child. I love having that creative boundary because it’s just supposed to be a snapshot in time of what that child was like at that point in his/ her life.

4. Choose your method of storage carefully

I have the same type of photo albums (200-page) for everything so they stack nicely on a shelf. They suit my style of photography because I mostly take landscape-layout pics.

Some people do a monthly or weekly Project Life . I do a monthly Project Life because I don’t like the idea of having weekly pressure :)

When you’re choosing how you want to store your photos, consider current and future costs.

When I ordered mini albums, I ordered 3 so that I was sorted for 3 years. That might not work for you if you like everything new. It doesn’t bother me to not have the most current everything so I’m good.

I love the idea of Project Life but not the shipping costs to South Africa. And so, my best budget memory-keeping advice…

Lime Album

5. If you do Project Life, buy only what you want from the digital kits

I paid about R1100 for my first kit – just the kit, not the albums – with shipping costs. That’s crazy expensive and hurts my head every time I think about it too long.

Next time around I ordered digital project life files off the site (only the 4 X 6 filler cards because I use a mini album – as I said, I LOVE boundaries!). I mixed it up so I got the Honey and Sunshine kits because they made me happy, printed off the PDFs and now I’m set. The only slight nuisance was cutting them out because I don’t have a paper trimmer. I only paid about R100 for the files and printing on cardstock. HUGE saving of R1000.

Cutouts

In my opinion, even if you do a weekly PL layout, you will still never finish the entire box in a year. Yes, you could use the cards for list-making (I do this too) but why waste money to start off with?

Which one of those was your favourite tip?

PS Do pop over to Pink Ronnie to read her tips on keeping to a memory-keeping budget.

 

{I love stationery} Wax highlighters

I love stationery - neon twister highlighters

I seriously love highlighters.

  1. Every month I type out my goals, print them on an A4 sheet of paper and stick them on the wardrobe next to me with Prestik. As I complete goals off the list, I highlight them. Why? I still like to see what was there before but the highlighter  shows me it’s done.
  2. I do the same with my daily eat the frog list. As I complete tasks they get highlighted.
  3. Beth and I chat weekly and we set goals for the week ahead in both our Business and Personal categories. I write these out while we’re talking and again, as I finish things off, I highlight them. I have a special trick with these goals. I use a different coloured highlighter for each day I work on them :)

So you can see. Highlighter love.

When I saw some new highlighters at the shops, I decided to try them even though they’re a bit more expensive than regular highlighters (R45 for 5). I was hooked when I read that they don’t dry out.

I’m happy to report they are all that and then some!

Lovely and waxy, and I don’t have to worry about a lid always being on.

I made the mistake of using them when Connor was with me in the study and he loves them too, and has since claimed two of them as his own.

I love stationery - neon twister highlighters  I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters

Do you use highlighters?

Have you seen them at the shops?

Have you tried them? What do you think of them?

This is (sadly) not a sponsored post; I just love these highlighters :)

#67 minutes for #MandelaDay | Before and after {Organising} High-traffic areas

Well friends, today is Mandela Day in South Africa and for my #67minutes, I’m about to do an audio recording of the 5 love languages.

I’ll have to speak slightly faster because this is at best a 90-minute workshop :)

If you’d like to contribute to the cause, pop along to my site and read some more.

Links to the handout and recording will be sent out on Monday if you order today or anytime over the weekend.

Let’s talk love!

*********************************

Just thought I’d share a quick before and after with you.

And at the same time, reassure you about something.

A lot of people get frustrated when they constantly have to reorganise.

THIS IS NORMAL.

Especially in a high-traffic area.

For me, this box on my desk is a high-traffic area. I’m dipping into and out of this box on a near daily basis. So sometimes it gets a bit messy.

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

It got a good clean-out and all papers were put back in their place or tossed in the recycling bag. This is different from a proper declutter and organise session because the box is organised, so the tidy took less than 5 minutes. It took me longer to take all the photos :)

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

 

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

Moral of the story
Don’t get frustrated when you have to tweak your high-traffic areas.

Some examples in most homes:

  1. kitchen counters
  2. bedside tables
  3. chairs in bedrooms
  4. dining-room tables
  5. entrance tables

How often do you fix your high-traffic areas?

7 weeks with my Fitbit Flex: what I like and don’t like

I heard about the Fitbit for the first time on a blog. Since the blogger and I are very similar with regard to goals, I immediately paid attention and thought that I should get one.

When I investigated further, I figured out that I could use some banking reward points and save nearly 30%. Sold! I went online, bought my one and waited eagerly for it to arrive.

I received my Fitbit on 26 May, immediately registered and sorted it out and so it’s been 7 weeks of use since then.

For those who don’t know what a Fitbit is, you wear it on your wrist like a watch and it tracks the number of steps you walk per day, the distance you’ve walked, how many active minutes you have, calories you’ve burned and the sleep you get. In the iphone app, you can also track your daily weight (if you weigh daily like I do), how much water you’re drinking and the foods you’re eating.

I don’t use all of the functionality – I only track water, weight and sleep, and the app tracks my steps and tells me I’m not active enough!

I thought I’d take the time to share some of the thoughts I’ve had since getting mine.

1. I’m highly motivated to finish all my water every day

There’s a picture of a girl (maybe it’s a boy if you register gender as male) on my app and the girl fills up with water as you log all you’re drinking. I love it! As you get closer to 2 L, the girl turns orange and then green. We’re aiming for green.

I get to my 2L most days but on the days I don’t, I make sure I drink at least 1.5L.

water

2. 10 000 steps?

I’ve only reached 10 000 steps twice since I’ve had the Fitbit. I’m not sure why it’s proving so difficult. On the first day I reached 10 000 steps, I went to a very intense Zumba class in the morning, organized and cooked up a storm (lots of walking around my house) and then went to two different shopping centres in the afternoon on the hunt for photo albums. I was walking back to the car at the second shopping centre when my wrist vibrated and an email came through congratulating me on the 10 000 steps.

The second day was the day of my kids’ birthday party, but even then I only hit 10 000 just before midnight!

My lifestyle is such that I’m probably not going to ever reach 10 000 in a day unless I start running daily. If I’m out and about, work doesn’t get done, and yet, I go for a walk at least 5 times a week in addition to my 3 exercise classes. I’m still figuring it all out but since I started feeling like a failure (and that’s never good), I reduced my goal to 6666 steps. That was a bad idea because I’d rack up even fewer steps than before per day. Of course when I realized this I switched it back to 10 000. That proves once again that I’m the type of person who HAS to shoot for the stars so that I can reach for more.

steps

 

3. Increased time management is not good for fitness

This is very interesting.

All the stuff we organising and time experts teach about having zones in the kitchen and batching tasks so you don’t need to walk up and down in the kitchen? Great for efficiency but not for fitness.

It’s actually better walking to the cupboard for flour, and then walking back for the vanilla essence than walking once and getting everything.

It’s obviously a silly example but these days I don’t bother to collect everything in a room like I did before because I need the steps!

Or maybe I’m just obsessive!

4. I love the weekly progress emails

I get a kick out of seeing how many THOUSANDS of steps I’ve walked for the week, and how many kilometres that translates to, etc.

Because the email is sent weekly, it’s easy to compare week-on-week to see how I’m tracking.

35000

5. Sleep stats are confusing

I can’t seem to figure out how to properly work the Fitbit sleep part, so I try and activate the device on my wrist but because I’m a slight control freak, I also use the app.

Apparently I have between a 97 and 100% sleep efficiency rate and the longest it’s taken me to fall asleep is 7 minutes. I may not be looking in the right place but I think I can only get access to detailed sleep stats (more than a week) if I sign up for the premium version which I’m not prepared to do just yet.

The Sleeptime app I used before seems to be better in displaying the light and deep sleep data. I may have to triple check my sleep ?

6. Oh my gosh, the strap

I hated the strap when I first got it. It is really difficult to use at first, so much so that I even showered with it on, which I would never normally do because the device is so expensive.

It’s promoted as shower-safe but after that first time, I just felt too reckless so I preferred to take it on and off before showering.

I’m used to it now but it took a good month to figure out.

7. Charging the batteries

The batteries do indeed need charging every 5 days. The great thing is that when the Fitbit’s running low, I get an email telling me so and then I just plan to sit still and do some computer work while I charge it with the USB.

(I’ve been charging it while writing this very article).

On the whole

While I still have to fine-tune my usage, I love my Fitbit a lot. I’m the type of person who really likes dealing with facts, figures and graphs (that’s why I track my goals success on a spreadsheet) and now knowing all the specifics of my fitness motivates me. If you’re the same, you will love it. Get it!

If you don’t like tracking anything (and you don’t like feeling guilty), maybe this is not for you.

As always, don’t concern yourself with what other people are doing – do what works for you!

If you do want a FitBit, here is the link to Amazon


{Mindset} How to make your chores more pleasant

Make your chores more pleasant | Organising Queen

I’ve written before about how laundry is my most-hated chore.

I do like seeing a row of clean laundry on the line though.

With things I don’t like doing, I like to make it as pleasant as possible.

So I bought packs of gorgeous, bright, happy clothespegs.

Make your chores more pleasant | Organising Queen

I also hate filing.

So I keep as little as possible and these days, I only file once a year.

I put on a favourite CD and it’s done in 35 minutes. I timed myself.

I don’t mind cooking (I really like the eating) but when I have to do a couple of dishes, I take my ipad into the kitchen, pull up a podcast and I listen while I’m cooking.

It makes the time pass so quickly because there are only so many times you can quickly straighten a kitchen cupboard. I do that if I’m waiting for the kettle to boil so for real cooking, I need something else.

With any task, make it as fun for yourself as possible so you’ll want to do it.

What are some of your tricks to make doing your chores more pleasant?

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