Some reading for the weekend

Gosh, I haven’t done one of these link-up posts in a while.

Can I tell you a secret? There are two blogs I subscribe to, not because they’re amazing, but because they curate weekly links beautifully. Because it means I don’t have to subscribe to all those other amazing blogs!

 

Without further ado, here are a few links I’ve loved lately.

cute kitten needs money - click Display Images to see this

Take the one percent challenge from Afford Anything (I’m doing it!)

2015goals

2015 goals and looking back (I also believe that setting goals makes you overall have a more productive year)

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I’ve been sharing this one of Shauna’s with everybody I know. Burn the candles

rest

The greatest productivity secret (it’s not what you’re thinking)

Conquer your email |www.OrganisingQueen.com

Do apps really save you time? (we all know Instagram and Facebook are a time suck)

And one from me, the 2015 Organising Planning Form that won’t overwhelm you.

Which was your favourite link?

PS all photos from the linked blogs except for the last one which is my photography.

PPS Some changes are coming to the blog – I’ll tell you all on Monday. Have a great weekend!

My Fitbit mind shift

Last year in May I bought myself a Fitbit.

After seven weeks with it, I wrote a post that you can read here but I haven’t said anything else about it on the blog since so it’s time for an update.

Fitbit |www.OrganisingQueen.com

This is a colour called slate. I bought Dion one for his birthday and took the small band :)

 

I still love my Fitbit – I’m a goals person and knowing all my stats is super-motivating for me.

What I don’t love is how dirty the straps get and washing the strap doesn’t get all the dirt off.

As far as getting to the recommended steps per day (10 000) that is much the same as it was then, as in I don’t get to 10 000 steps even 4 times in a month.I just don’t think in the normal course of a sitting at desk and meetings job it’s possible to get to those 10 000 steps a day. Unless you go for a run (I’m not a runner) because even a walk around the neighbourhood with the kids for about 30 minutes never takes me to 10 000.

Fitbit |www.OrganisingQueen.com

discoloured strap (and it’s technically clean)

This is what my day has to look like to reach 10 000 steps in a day:

  • A Zumba class
  • A walk with the kids
  • Pottering around the house/ cleaning/ organising for a good couple of HOURS

On those days I’m so exhausted that the next day I conk out and walk only about 3000 steps. So I don’t think it’s better to aim for the 10 000 under those conditions.

But I want to share a few mindshifts with you that I had to make to get the Fitbit to work better for me:

  • I no longer aim for 10 000 steps per day. I only aim for 7500 steps because that is the number our medical aid  company rewards per day. This does two things:

1. It’s much more manageable so I actually feel like the goal is attainable, and I’m more likely to want to get to that number.

2. I can walk 7500 steps per day and (mostly) do it comfortably again the following day.

  • I set a monthly steps goal (mine is 200 000) which generally works out to about 6500 a day. Why a monthly goal:

1. It takes the pressure of a daily steps goal and allows for, well, LIFE! Some days I don’t want to run around the whole day because I want to sit in a chair and read a book for 3 – 4 hours (this happened on Sunday :))

2. From the middle of the month, I have a little formula on my goals sheet set up to tell me how many steps I need to reach my goal for the month. I’m writing this on a day I’m actually sick and my little formula just told me I need 10 000 steps a day, so that’s not going to happen. Maybe on Saturday.

3. I have found myself walking around the house taking one thing at a time to the kitchen (!) just to clock up the last couple of hundred steps (to 7500) but I feel crazy as I’m doing it and it’s really not my style to walk around like a crazy person just for steps.

 You might not have a Fitbit or the 10 000 steps might be manageable for you.

What I want you to take from this post is that you can change your goals to make them work with your lifestyle, so you don’t get demotivated (which is exactly what was happening with me).

Which of your goals currently seem insurmountable? How can you shift your thinking to feel better about your goal?

(Often getting out of debt can seem like it’s never going to happen. Don’t give up – even if you have to go all nerdy and type up the amounts in excel and make a chart so you can see the number reducing, do it to encourage yourself)

PS the next Let’s Do This workshop happens on Saturday 28 February. Join me and let’s get a handle on those goals.

The first Let’s Do This workshop…

Well, we had the first Let’s Do This workshop on Saturday and I was blessed to have ladies who participated and engaged beautifully with the process.

(A big part of an event’s success is how well people engage with the process)

Let's Do This workshop

Two lovely ladies

I had great feedback and I know they are all going to have an awesome year.

Something all of the ladies mentioned was how different (good different!) the learning experience is in a live, face-to-face setting and I couldn’t agree more.

There were about 4 – 5 people who wanted to come but the date didn’t work out for them, so I’m offering this workshop again on Saturday 28 February.

Read all the details here and if this resonates, please book your place as soon as possible. Spaces are limited.

If you’re not local or can’t make that date, then the virtual Let’s Do This workshop (podcasts and PDF worksheets) is for you.

We start on Thursday 5 Feb and run for 4 weeks to end on Thursday 26 Feb. Join me!

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Then, I have a confession.

Leonie Dawson2015 workbook| www.OrganisingQueen.com

Beyond completing my January plan, I haven’t done anymore with my lovely bright and colourful workbook.

This is not an excuse but the facts are I’ve been getting the twins ready for school (how?!!!) and preparing for the workshop.

But I’ve scheduled some time this week to start playing.

Aren’t you glad there’s no rule that says we have to have our goals done and dusted on 1 Jan?!

I was thinking that I’ll take a few photos and Instagram them to inspire you (and make me accountable). Shall we all do that and have a little Instaparty with our workbooks? :)

If you’re thinking that January’s nearly done yet, you’d be right. BUT the very first year I bought my first copy, I bought it in August and I still got my money’s worth in 1 month.

Do you have your copy yet?

How are you doing on your goals?

{Weekend fun} Nail polish notecards

I think we’ve all seen the nail polish marbling of crockery on the blogs…. but I don’t like a mess (!) so I decided to try using nail polish on notecards.

nail polish notecards-003

This is another craft you can do with the kids but as always, I suggest making the thing by yourself first so you at least know how to troubleshoot, if necessary.

Supplies

  • Nail polish (I used bottles I was about to toss anyway because they’d thickened) – you can use old or newer ones where you don’t like the colour on your nails
  • notecards, gift tags, standard (10 X 15) cards
  • envelopes (if you want to get really cute)

Method

  • Prepare your area with some newspaper or scrap paper underneath
  • Decide on your colours and patterns
  • Have at it!
  • I made some matching envelopes just because they’d be cuter

(these are the cards I did; the kids’ ones are a lot more… colourful!)

 

nail polish notecards-004 nail polish notecards-005 nail polish notecards-006 nail polish notecards-007 nail polish notecards nail polish notecards-001 nail polish notecards-002

Can you think of any other nail polish crafts?
Would you make these notecards?

If do you make them, post them to instagram and tag me @marcia0608 and #organisingqueen. Thank you!

{Time management} The email’s driving me nuts and 3 things I’m doing

When I got myself an iPhone a few years ago, one of the reasons I used to justify the HUGE (for me) increase in monthly fees was the fact that it’d save me time by processing emails on the go.

That’s still true.

But I’ve found emails have at least trebled in the last two years, so I’m still processing emails at a real computer as well as on the go.

Here’s what I’ve decided to do this year, and what I’ve done over the last couple of months. Remember my word of the year is ENOUGH.

Enough with too many emails :)

enough

These quick steps might work for you too:

1. Check each of your social media accounts and make sure you don’t get notifications you don’t really need.

I’m only on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, but I make sure I only get emails when people properly engage with me (send me a message, write a comment) rather than if they just “like” a status or photo.

2. Unsubscribe from newsletters

When I get newsletters from people and I can’t even remember who they are, that means they write too infrequently for me to connect properly, so I’ve started unsubscribing.

By the way, I don’t take offence at all if you unsubscribe from my newsletter. I want it to land in your inbox with joy and excitement, and if it’s not doing that for you, please unsubscribe.

Conquer your email |www.OrganisingQueen.com

3. Let go of needing to respond with lengthy mails

Many people write to me; some of them write really quite beautiful and wordy emails.

I read everything, absorb them fully (if not rude ones), but I no longer feel like I have to also write back and reply with two long paragraphs.

“I’m trying to get through an email inbox, not write a novel,” is what I keep having to tell myself.

It’s a work in progress, but taking an extra couple of seconds to unsubscribe from a retail email is worth it for the future.

I hope my 3 things will help some of you. Here is the comprehensive guide to dealing with email.

Do you process emails on the go? What are your tips?

Next in this series – dealing with whatsapp!

{Living Intentionally} Notes from a blue bike – my review

 

Notes from a blue bike |www.OrganisingQueen.com

I recently read Notes from a Blue Bike and after I left this review on Goodreads, my husband said to me that it was the longest review I’d ever left.

Ha!

And that’s because I’m so passionate about the subject.

But it did get me thinking and I thought I should at least publish the review here so my own readers could chat about it.

I totally believe in the concept of living intentionally and that the world is fairly chaotic if you allow it to be, so I was interested in reading this from the time I first saw it announced on the author’s blog.

I enjoyed the first couple of chapters where one chapter was focussed on her experiences in Turkey, and then the next on the USA, and then it flipped around again.

After that though, the book felt to me like it was all over the place, dipping into and out of different periods in the author’s life and I couldn’t seem to find the flow very well.

You see, the book was organised into themes – Food, Education, Travel, etc. which I have no trouble with but the chapters were almost sample chapters. I felt like I was just getting involved and interested when the chapter was over. It felt a bit like a book of short stories which always leave me feeling unfulfilled.

I also felt like the author held back too much. That might just be me being curious but I’m 100% sure I’m not the only one of the blog readers who wanted to hear more from her experiences, not just her theories.

To sum up…

1. I expected more of the simpler living/ slow lifestyle practicality (maybe because of my romantic notions of the blue bike) which was lacking except for a few pages throughout the book (maybe 5 all in all)

2. It was interesting to see how she tried to be objective but I felt like there was quite a bit of judgement coming through, especially for American families who have chosen a different way (work normal jobs, don’t want to travel that much, etc.).

3. I’ve just gone onto Amazon to check how the book was marketed…

Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, Notes from a Blue Bike takes you from a hillside in Kosovo to a Turkish high-rise to the congested city of Austin to asmall town in Oregon. It chronicles schooling quandaries and dinnertime dilemmas, as well as entrepreneurial adventures and family excursions via plane, train, automobile, and blue cruiser bike.

I think the book would have worked better if it was written as it was marketed – chronologically, so that we got a sense of how her life stage was impacted by where she lived. For me, this book jumped around too much.

I would have given the book a 2.5 because the writing is good, and so I’ve given 3 stars because I can’t bring myself to give 2 because of my unmet expectations :)

If you’re a fan of the blog, you’ll probably enjoy the book if you go in without big expectations of the how-to achieve this intentional life.

So have you read the book? What did you think?

What will this cost you?

I want to ask you three questions:

  1. What is it worth to you to have a meaningful and fulfilling 2015?
  2. What would it feel like if, in 11 months’time, you and I had a conversation and you said you’d really lived intentionally, that your word was true in your life and that you prioritised the things you say you value?
  3. What would that be worth to you?

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Registration closes on Monday 19th for the Let’s Do This workshop and I want to see you there.

I really do.

Are you in?

Let’s Do This - Let’s have a wonderful 2015.

What will it cost you if you do nothing about this? Would you be happy about that… or not?

{Organising} the artwork you want to keep

Two quick announcements…

  1. Johannesburg readers – there are still places left for next week Saturday’s Let’s Do This workshop. Invest the time in yourself for a great year ahead, and come workshop with me. (for those not local, have a look at this option)
  2. For those wanting to get serious about decluttering, Beth’s Declutter Group starts this Monday 19th Jan. She’s currently enrolling so grab your space. Did you know that Beth was interviewed by The Nate Berkus? Yes!

 

Organising children's artwork www.OrganisingQueen.com

Here’s how my kids organise their artwork.

This post is for people who actually want to keep some of their kids’ artwork. I don’t keep very much but I do keep special things like love notes, favourite drawings, and so on.

How I organise the stuff I want to keep

  • Remember there’s no point in keeping everything because then nothing is truly special.
  • Use a container to limit the items you can keep.
  • Keep the container easily accessible.
  • Add special items to your container.
  • Once a year, label it and keep together with your memory box.
Organising children's artwork www.OrganisingQueen.com-001

I think that’s an apple in my hand – it’s true, I’m always eating apples

I personally use a plastic envelope that I keep on the bottom shelf in the study. Every now and again, I’ll add something and at the end of the year, I’ll edit the whole batch quickly to make sure I have my favourites before I label the envelope with the year and call it done.

Super easy to set up, super easy to maintain and it does the job.

Don’t get caught up in perfectionism; just start.

Organising children's artwork www.OrganisingQueen.com-005

Do you need to set up an artwork system for this year?

How do you store your kids’ artwork?

 

{Free printable} 2015 organising plan

Are you ready to do some light planning?

I’m a big fan of setting very realistic expectations rather than be disappointed by a big list.

Baby steps work!

I made a form for us all to plan our organising projects for the year. You’ll get it immediately together with your time management pack when you sign up for the mailing list right here.

How I’m using it:

  1. When I do my monthly goals planning at the beginning of the month, I simply add a few (three) organising projects to this list.
  2. For this month, these are bigger projects than I’d normally add to my list (I prefer to add projects only I need to do) but it is the beginning of the year so it’s time.
  3. After January, I’ll simply do one project every weekend with one weekend to rest :)

January’s a good time to:

  1. Back up your computer
  2. Take the photos off your iphone
  3. Set some intentions or goals for the year
  4. Declutter your kids’ toys
  5. Go through your clothes
  6. Set up a menu plan system for the year

What’s on your list for January?

Now what? Let’s do this – a new workshop

Some of my friends have said to me they’re very glad to see the back of 2014…

Some have been working throughout and haven’t had any time to think or process the end of 2014 and transition to 2015

Still others are a bit overwhelmed by all the goal-setting, resolutions and one word posts out there (if you’re on all the social media, your head must be bursting)

And others want to be more intentional but are not sure exactly how that works or where to start.

Good news for you!

Let's do this!

I’m launching a new workshop this month and you’re invited to join me.

For those who can come to a workshop in Johannesburg (if the dates don’t work for you, send me a mail to keep you on the “interested” list. there’s nothing special about January; you can start living intentionally anytime!)

For everyone else…

Please click through to those links and have a read.

Are you joining me?

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