Friday, August 31, 2007

No idea

Okay, I have no idea why my sidebar moved - I thought I was done with all this technical stuff when they moved to the new blogger.

I removed the latest thing that I added to the sidebar (nothing changed) so I'm putting it back - it's the Organise your Wardrobe section.

So this will have to wait until later today until I get home so I can play around with my latest post because that's probably the culprit!

Thanks, Laura, for the heads-up ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My favourite organising tools #5 - timers

I mentioned in yesterday's post on focus that I have a special something to help me stay focussed.

This is it - a timer.

It is one of my favourite organising tools for these three reasons:

  1. it keeps me focussed and on task
  2. it helps me to work quickly
  3. it helps me to plan for project work
You know that work expands to find the time available? This is called Parkinson's Law. That's why if you plan to clean your house the entire day, you will take the entire day. But if you're going out and you only have 2 hours to do it, it will get done in that time.

1. I use this one in the kitchen (because the oven one doesn't work properly) and in the laundry area. When I have something in the oven (like now as I'm typing this), I take the timer with me so I don't forget about my cooking.

2. And I use this one in my study for the computer and in the bedroom when I'm sorting cupboards or doing some quick reorganising (like I need to do this weekend with my handbags)

Do you use timers? How else do you use them?

Read my other favourite organising tools posts by clicking on the label below.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tidy desk competition - contest ends Friday 7th

5 steps to a tidy desk

You won't believe all the excuses I get from people about their untidy desks! "It's because I'm creative" or "I know where everything is".


This may very well be true. However, for most people, an untidy desk makes you feel overwhelmed and out of control. And how can you be productive when you feel overwhelmed? Right?!

The good news is you can have a tidy desk in just 5 steps:

1. Set up your desk properly
If you answer the phone with your left hand, then keep the phone to the left of your computer. Now this might seem obvious but you'll be surprised at the number of people I encounter who have to scramble and reach behind their computer to get to the phone. It's like that game Twister!

2. Touch each piece of paper once only
This is going to force you to make decisions - throw away, action, forward or file. Those are the only choices you have ;)

3. Have one notebook for all your notes
When you take messages or need to quickly jot down a note, write it in your ONE notebook. There should not be 10 post-it notes and lots of other pieces of paper on your desk. Better still, write the date on the top of every page so you can reference old information quickly. And start each day on a new page - literally ;)

4. Clear junk regularly
Every time you get up to go to the loo or for a coffee break, clear your desk of empty mugs, glasses, snacks, etc. The same goes for all those dry markers and pens that don't work. Throw them out!

5. Have only the papers you are actually working with on your desk
I have a rather strong fondness for plastic envelopes (R6,99 for 2 at Pick 'n Pay). I use these nifty tools to keep my many projects sorted. When I want to work on something, I just grab one of these and open up on my desk.

See? Easy! You can also have a neat and tidy desk in just 5 steps.

Now, let the games begin...

I would love to see your desk - before and after you used these 5 steps to organise it. The best entry gets the Your organised home - BASIC pack.

Now get organising!

And remember, even if you don't win, you still get the peace of a tidy desk.

If you have a blog, please post your pictures on your own blog and link to this post. Otherwise, you can email your photos but only if you compress them to around 50kb each. The competition closes next Friday 7 Sept - 2pm South African time.

Ultimate guide to productivity - my top tip is...

Here are the rules from Instigator Blog:
Write a post on your best productivity tips.
2. Include links to other people that have written posts, or include their tips in your post with proper attribution.
3. If you use Technorati Tags then tag your post “ultimate guide to productivity”.
4. Tag others in your post to spread the meme. Tag as many people as you like!
5. Link back to Instigator Blog, email Ben and he’ll be sure to include at least 2 links back to you.

Happy Productivity!

My top productivity tip is FOCUS.

This is THE SINGLE WAY I get lots of things done. Single-minded focus.

I always have lots of great ideas (I don't just call them good ideas :)) floating around my head but when you start lots of projects all at the same time, that is the surest way to get nothing done ;)

So I prioritise my list and focus on one thing at a time.

And sure enough, when I'm all there in mind and body, things get done quicker and more effectively.

And how do I stay focussed?

Well, you'll have to come see tomorrow because I'll post another one of my favourite organising tools to keep me on task!

What is your top tip?

I'm tagging all of you reading. But especially Beth and Suzanne. If you blog, blog it and link back. If you don't blog, leave your tip in the comments. In fact, leave the one-sentence version of your tip in the comments anyway.

Have an organised and productive day! And go to for more WFMW tips.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - women's makeover

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I am so late posting this but hey, it was my tackle, right?! I have this list of computer work that I have to do. It's a running list, meaning I just add anything I'm thinking of and then I choose which tasks I want to do in a particular week (I like weekly planning).

My tackle this week was to blog about these two products for women. This item has been on my list for about 2 - 3 weeks and time is running out so I had to do it this week before Aug runs out :-) I'll tell you why later!

Self-confidence handbook

A 16-page handbook working through self-esteem, self-confidence, assertiveness and setting healthy boundaries
Price: $ 9.95

Women's health and wellness manual

A 26-page manual covering healthy eating habits, women's health issues, stress management, work-life balance and self-care.
Price: $ 19.95

Women's makeover pack

Both the Self-Confidence Handbook & the Women's Health & Wellness Manual

**buy both and save $4
Price:$ 25.90

Now the reason why I had to get this done before end Aug?

I am giving a further 20% off any of these products if you're a subscriber to my weekly tips newsletter. Just because it was my birthday this month. See the purple box over there --->>>

I am sending out the weekly mailing tomorrow and the discount code is in that email. For subscribers only!!! Go sign up now.

If you don't want the newsletter, go directly to the shopping page

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 27 Aug '07 & organising your weight loss

My gym is closed for renovations so I have a choice between all the other Virgin Active clubs. This is throwing out the schedule a bit this week because the one I prefer is not near my home so I'll go straight from work and then come home. Hmmm.
Also, last week I mentioned that I'm focussing on baby steps with this weight loss thing and in emails offline, Bridget (And miles to go) and I agreed that we would drink 2 L of water every day. That's our first baby step. When I checked on Bridget mid-week, she was doing well and so was I. I drank my 2L the whole week - woohoo ;) B, how did the rest of your week go? Guess what? I'm 1 kg lighter than I was last week - hopefully this lasts!
This week we're continuing with the water and adding no eating after supper!
Are you joining us?
Let me know in the comments - I'll make a distribution list and email you mid-week to encourage you.
Here's my menu plan for the week
Chilli con carne, brown rice and carrots
Shalee's macaroni & cheese
Sausage & potato bake
Chicken burgers, salad and 95% fat-free chips ;)
Pasta & kidney bean sauce

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'd also like to thank...

Coach Jenny!
Guess what I got on Tuesday?

A birthday package from Coach Jenny, who's a basketball coach, not a personal life coach like I am.

I loved the card, "I wish you joy, happiness and clearance shoes in your size." Now doesn't that make you smile? ;) And Jenny, Dion liked your message to him too!
She also sent me gorgeous hot pink monogrammed notecards (which are so pretty, I almost don't want to use them. Almost), a lovely leather bookmark (which I'm using in my planner because it makes me happy) and a friends magnet (which I'm staring at right now - it's attached to a photo frame on my desk).
Thanks again, Jenny. I love my stuff!

Thank you, Tina

I just want to say a public thank-you to Tina for this button ...

and this one!

These buttons came out exactly as I imagined (even without knowing exactly what I wanted) so clearly Tina gets me! She was so patient with my non-techno side when I asked silly questions like, "what on earth are pixels?"

Thanks again, Tina, I am over-the-moon happy with the results :-)

BTW, click on the buttons to go to all my posts in that particular category.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ask the organiser - lazy people

Can lazy people get organized, or is the Land of Organized reserved for energetic types?
This question from a reader made me laugh out loud :)
Oh Sherry, if you only knew!
I really believe that anybody can get organised because it's about putting systems and processes into place. Yes, some people have a natural tendency to be organised but really, the same things they do can be learnt by anybody else.
And as for lazy or energetic, I'm actually extremely lazy.
I am organised SO THAT I can have more time to spend with my husband, read, shop and help people.
But when I'm doing something, I'm totally there (in the zone) so I get it done!
Just to give you some examples...
  1. I measure out extra dry ingredients every time I bake.
  2. I always cook double as far as possible and freeze the leftovers.
  3. I prepare vegetables once a week so I only need to chop and dice once.
  4. I use my rules in Outlook to file emails for me immediately.
  5. I have MANY templates set up in my business so all I do is F3 and the autotext appears.
  6. I only file paper when my in-basket is full (about once every 7 - 10 days) but then it takes about 5 minutes because it's all organised.
  7. I only do laundry once a week so that I don't waste time loading, drying, etc. a couple times a week (this won't work for most of you).

What kinds of things do you do to save you time on a daily basis?

The top organising question ever

Remember the Clutter Control Freaks blog?

I have a whole series going on there answering the top organising question: Where do I start?

Click the button over there ---->>> and have a read. Oh, and leave comments so we can all learn some new tips and tricks!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - healthy recipes

I've been really bored with my same old, same old recipes so I went looking to my favourite book haunt, Exclusive Books, and found this:

This has 30 delicious recipes and the whole thing is packaged so beautifully. All for R97 (divide by 7.37 for US $).

The best thing about this unique recipe book is the format of the recipe card - on one side you find a picture and the ingredients and on the other side there are step-by-step instructions to make the meal. Did I mention pictures?!!!

So when I'm cooking, I stick this card to the kitchen cupboard with Prestik and

  1. my hands are free
  2. the recipe stays clean
  3. I have more counter space
This definitely works for me!

What do you do with your recipes while you cook? How do you keep them clean?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not forgetting my blog readers!

I've just finished writing my weekly tips email which goes out every Wednesday and something just occurred to me.

You guys are missing out!

I send out a weekly tips email that relates in some way to helping you have more time, less stress and a more organised and fulfilled life. There are lots of organising tips and ideas that you guys don't get to see :-(

Now and again, I'll put something on the blog that I've sent out in my weekly tips but that happens very rarely.

I often have discounts on my products but this is just for newsletter subscribers so I never publish those discounts here. Like at the moment I have a birthday discount for my subscribers on 3 of my products because I had a birthday this month. (Yes, I'm 33).

Anyway, so if you're interested, go sign up on my website or fill in the box on the sidebar ---->>. If after a week or two you don't find any value in the emails, please unsubscribe. The last thing I want to do is clutter up your inbox with stuff you don't want :-)

You'll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription because I have a double opt-in list to prevent spammers. By the way, my webhost doesn't like gmail accounts so try to use anything else :)

And then you'll get the Organising Success Pack with your free e-book, Organise your Life.

More importantly, tomorrow when I send out the mailing with the discounts and this week's article (7 secrets to the Super Organised), you'll also get it.

And now, I'm off to bed. My cut-off for computer work is 10pm and we're just about there :)

Tackle-it Tuesday - decluttering my bookshelf

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My bookshelf has been bugging me for a few weeks so I decided to tackle it.

When I finish reading a book, I rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. I only keep 8's and above. But then I don't keep all 8's either.

So I have to go through this decluttering process every so often because I refuse to expand my collection to other parts of the house.

Before - from the side

and from the front (I had to sit to get the whole thing in because there's only 1m to work with)


these are the 10 books that were decluttered

Look at this section on the bottom shelf. Do you see how I layered the books on the left so they fit in nicely? And I like how that Keri Smith book sticks out. It says "play is the most important element in discovering who you are". Those orange post-its are marking the good bits as I mentioned before in this post.

And this is that same section from the front - now you can see the spine of Keri Smith's Living out Loud (thoroughly recommend it, by the way)

What did you tackle today, or what do you need to tackle?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 20 August 2007

Last week we stuck to the menu plan the whole week except for Friday when we deviated slightly (still toasted sandwiches but with eggs).

I've been bored with my healthy meals so I bought a recipe book last week in a cool format - the recipe ingredients on the one side and the "how to" on the other. I'm going to blog it on Wed.

I know you're tired of hearing this but I need to lose some weight! Last week I didn't eat anything after supper (baby steps) and I went to gym twice (some more baby steps). Next week my gym is closing for a month so I get to visit other gyms in the franchise. I've already printed off the timetables for two near my home and office, and I actually got excited (!) when I was planning my new classes. Which just goes to show how much I need a change of something!

Anyway, here we go with this week's menu plan:

Stirfried chicken, veggies and noodles

Chilli con carne, rice and carrots

Sausage and potato casserole (I'll blog the recipe on the other blog this week)

Thai chicken curry, rice and pumpkin

Pasta with kidney bean and tomato sauce

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

My favourite websites

Last week Monday I was tagged by Suzanne to tell you my favourite sites. I've waited nearly a whole week because I can't think of 5! 5 blogs are easy but not 5 sites. So you're going to get a mixture, Suzanne!

1. Google - my favourite search engine and of course, within the Google arena, Google Reader is my favourite.

2. Wikipedia - for looking up words

3. Blogger - to blog!!!

4. Flylady - where I learnt about control journals

5. The productivity pro - once I go in here, I can spend hours browsing and reading all her great articles

I'm going to tag
Laura - org junkie
Beth - encouraging coach
Corrie - web genius

My interview's up

Friday, August 17, 2007

Book review - The organized life by Stephanie Denton

The organized life - secrets of an expert organizer by Stephanie Denton

I loved so many things about this book.

It is small enough to hold comfortably and best of all, has gorgeous, bright, thick, glossy, coloured paper. I’m a very tactile person and this book feels just yummy in one’s hand.

I also loved the way it was written – not too wordy, but extremely rich in content.

The one thing you need to remember on each page is set in a huge font, like “the less you have, the less you have to organise

It’s divided into different sections for clutter, paper, closets, kitchen, time, storage, home office, bed and bath, garage, holiday shopping, photos and kids.

There are gorgeous pictures on the pages, checklists, questions to consider and it is chock-full of great tips that you can implement immediately afterwards.

There was one page I disagreed with:

The author says that we need to shape our day according to our energy levels. This is exactly right – I teach the same thing.

She gives a couple of examples of tasks that are low-level (filing papers and paying bills) and high-level (making important phone calls). And all I’m saying is that what’s low-level for one person is not necessarily low-level for another.

Many of my clients need to be in real high-level mode to take on these supposed low-level tasks above :-) and I feel that you need to determine your low-level and high-level tasks according to your personality.

However, this is only one page out of 217 and I would definitely get the book. In fact, I considered buying my own copy. It’s only when I thought about where I would put yet another organising book that I thought twice about it.

If you've read the book, let me know what you thought in the comments!

Did you know this specific book is going around the world?

It started off with Suzanne in Arizona, made its way to me in South Africa and is going to Laura in Canada next.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My favourite organising tools #4 - masking tape

I saw this excellent tip from Deniece Schofield’s book, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, when I read it 5 years ago. And I have used it since – in fact, I’m still using the same roll of masking tape!

If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favour and read it.

Masking tape makes the easiest labelling tool ever. Why?

  1. your label can be as long or as short as you like

  2. tape is flexible

  3. it is easy to remove when you want to re-label a container

  4. it is easy to write on

Some of the ways I use masking tape for labelling:

  1. food in the freezer
  2. fridge shelves
  3. pantry shelves
  4. storage containers
  5. computer cords

labelling the shelves in my fridge

My tea & coffee shelf - soon I'll be clearing out all the hot chocolate. No!

flour containers - btw, I write the best before date on the label too

Do you use masking tape in your house? Can you think of other uses?

Button by Tina - isn't it gorgeous???

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - cooking with meat

I really don't like looking at or touching raw meat or chicken. I try to handle meat as little as possible which is why I separate bulk packs all at once so that it's DONE!

So when I cook, I put a sandwich bag over my hand before I touch the meat. In this picture, I'm making chilli con carne.

This is something that definitely works for me - it keeps my hands clean!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday's tag - Marcia & organising

Megan from Disorder2order tagged me to talk about ME!

Here are your questions... feel free to pass on and/or "tag" a new friend!

1. What is your most difficult org. challenge?
Paper - it's never-ending and as much as we try to live in a paperless world, it's not paperless enough for me! Add to that the fact that I'm a visual person and I need to see my to-do lists and mark things off means I have a lot. But on the bright side, I declutter ruthlessly :)

2. Who inspires you?
Hmm, difficult to say. Anyone who has done something before me! I always think, "if he/she has done it, then so can I" and I have quite a strong will so I usually do achieve what I set out to do.

I also love when people tell me that I've inspired them. Love it - that's my mission in life, people.

3. How did you start organizing?
I was encouraging a friend to start something she would be really good at and instead, I got hooked :-)

I've been organised for my whole life (thus far) and have organised systems, work flow, people, etc. in Corporate SA for the last 10 years.

4. What do you love about organizing?
Sorting, categorising and labelling. And maintaining. And decluttering.

No, definitely categorising!

5. What is your guilty pleasure?
Only one, Megan?

Handbags. I say that unashamedly :)

I'm tagging
Corrie Haffly (Corrie, I love your new site)
Suzanne McLoone
Tina (Mummified X5)

Organising my sideboard

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Take a deep breath.

Can you smell that lovely "new wood" smell of our new sideboard? :)

I was so excited to finally get this that I skipped gym to organise it. Wasn't a hard sell, trust me. But I can't live with a mess and all my stuff was on the dining room table while this beauty got moved into her new home.

We chose a very dark wood to match our dining room table. I like simple, practical furniture - no fuss!

There are four drawers on top with four cupboards underneath each drawer.

Drawer 1 - serviettes, serviette rings and coasters.

Drawer 2 - table runners and spare oven mitts

Drawer 3 - "good" cutlery and serving spoons

Drawer 4 - placemats (these are the ones I use when I set a proper table). The other everyday ones are in the kitchen. (store things where you use them)

Left side of cupboard - more mugs and entertainment stuff at the bottom

Right side of cupboard - two crockery sets and tablecloths

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 13 August 2007

Thank you to all of you who have been visiting me over at the new Clutter Control Freaks blog.

And if you haven’t been over there yet, click the button over on the top of the sidebar --- > >

I had such a hectic week last week – my Google Reader was showing 100+ items by Wednesday but I’m pleased to say I’m all caught up. And I read everything. Of course I didn’t click through on the partial feeds but at least I have an idea of what’s been happening in the blogosphere.

Stirfried chicken, veggies and noodles

Chilli con carne, rice and carrots.

Pasta with chicken, tomato and mushrooms

Sweet and sour chicken, carrots and rice

Homemade soup; toasted cheese & tomato sandwiches

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.
Have you been following along with my favourite organising tools? Check on the main blog page for the post below this one!

Friday, August 10, 2007

My favourite organising tools #3 - Post-It notes

I love post-it notes to help me get organised.

And if you get the proper ones, they stick on everything and last forever. Don't waste your time with the cheap stuff. I use them in the fridge and they just don't lose their stickiness - ever!

The reason why they work is that they are quick and easy labels so you don't need to guess what's in a particular box.

My uses

  1. in my fridge
  2. on storage boxes
  3. on shelves
  4. magazine holders
  5. planner
  6. Bible
  7. books
  8. videos
See all those purple pieces of paper sticking out of this book? Those are all the good bits in the book I will reference again

That orange sticky marks the chapter I'm reading in my Bible (cool Bible, hey?)

This big, blue-grey post-it is where I write down what I've taped.

Sorry, this is a bad picture but see those yellow post-it flags sticking out? Monthly events and blogging notes!

Where else do you use post-its?

I've just been catching up on Google Reader and I saw all these other uses for sticky notes on Scott's blog.

Other posts in this series

Notebook and pen
Flipfiles/ display folders

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 6 August 2007

Here in South Africa, it is National Women's Day on Thursday (and Annie's birthday, by the way) and a public holiday.

I have a really busy week until Wednesday evening. A meeting for half the day on Monday, then catch-up before being out of the office on Tues and half of Wed for a strategy conference. Then ... I have the privilege of talking to the women at one of our big banks on Wednesday afternoon.

And then only can I relax! So I'm practising my own coaching advice and taking a day off on Friday to make it a 4-day weekend :-)

My menu for the week...

Out for supper - it's my birthday

M - out (work function)
D - takeaways

Stirfried chicken, veggies and rice

Chicken & spinach pasta

Hot dogs and chips (carried over from last week)
Have a great week!
By the way, please tell me if my blog is loading faster - I removed Google Adsense because I'd only made about $5 in two months! Crazy!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My favourite organising tools #2 - flipfiles

What are flipfiles?

Handy clear plastic files, neatly bound in book format. Slim and light for easy handling, storage and carrying. Anti-static-allows quick insertion and withdrawal of documents. Will not lift ink from photocopies.
Outer-cover insert replaceable with users own title page.


Why I love them

  1. You can have lots of categories
  2. They take up very little space
  3. They come in 10-page, 20-page and 30-page
  4. They are perfect for the lazy organiser - no punching, you just slip the pages inside the plastic sleeves.
My uses

  1. Health
  2. Fitness
  3. Creativity
  4. Passion
  5. Financial
  6. Personal Control Journal
  7. Marcia's organising file


  1. Christmas ideas
  2. Recipes - one each for biscuits (cookies), main dishes, muffins (I love making muffins - what can I say?!)
  3. Household Organising File
  4. Appliance manuals (blue file in picture below)


  1. Storage solutions
  2. Business control journal
  3. Workshops - one for each workshop (goal-setting, time management, discover yourself, etc.)

The ones that live in my study

From the kitchen...

appliance manuals - one pocket per manual


1. What do you call flipfiles?
2. What do you use them for?