Tax Season—Let’s Get Organized!

It’s that time again—the dreaded tax season.

Are you overwhelmed?  Do you have a hard time finding important documents?

As April 15th rears its head are you left kicking yourself because once again you didn’t get everything organized for early 2017—like you swore you would this time last year?

Are you left struggling with accomplishing the daunting task of finding those papers and receipts—leaving you in a procrastination loop?

This year skip the unneeded headaches and work with me directly, through Virtual Organization.

I will work with you, virtually, to not only get your documents organized for this year, but for years to come—taking the tax season stress out of your life for good!

Kick those worries of tax extension fees to the curb!

After being a Professional Organizer and Productivity Coach for over 20 years, I have seen it all—The shoebox method, glove box system, bags of receipts in the trunk or under the seats (contractors habit!), and unsorted receipts sprinkled throughout the home and office.

Committing to Virtual Organization means no longer putting off what needs to be done.

Let me gently guide you to take immediate action to get real results. Leaving you with the security and accountability of knowing your de-cluttering project will get done.

Take the last minute stress out of your tax season preparation.
Sign up for your FREE 20-minute consult today!

Working virtually is no different than having me work right beside you. You will be able to ask me questions live and together we will work through any challenges you may have.

Pricing is based on your lifestyle and responsibility levels. All packages are custom tailored to fit your needs. Packages include weekly progress sessions via phone, email, Zoom or Skype.

Available by phone @ 516-433-2330 EST, email laura@InfoSearchers.com, or book your appointment via the calendar here.

Check out our latest blogs, for further inspiration:
Pop The Procrastination Bubble and The Stressful Life of a “Work-From-Home” Procrastinator

Confidentiality:  All information is confidential between us and cannot be shared. 
I work according to NAPO (National Association Of Professional Organizers Code of Ethics.

Pop The Procrastination Bubble

Procrastination is defined as ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’.

It is the one action in life that is only ever realized in hindsight. And what does procrastination always want to latch onto? Your ‘to-do’ list!

Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that ‘to-do’ list won’t get completed…it will, surely—but, when? During the next few days? Months? Years?  That question still remains.

Procrastination is a common denominator in just about everybody’s life—myself included. During those times of procrastination, you always started your task with good intentions, feeling that ‘today will be the day, today I’m going to get everything done!’—only to find yourself an hour later immersed watching cat videos.

This can leave you feeling unproductive, defeated, depressed and guilty. My view is to not beat yourself up. Life is a challenge. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with all the new tasks that keep getting added to the ‘to-do’ list every day, switch your list into what can be completed in a timely order.

How do you do this? With organization! Yes, even your ‘to-do’ list needs to be reorganized.

Follow these steps to take the stress out of your ‘to-do’ list and nip procrastination in the bud.

  • Break the list down into the various sections of your life where the projects need to be completed (ex. kitchen, office, garage).
  • Add priority codes beside each task, within each section.
  • Give yourself a realistic deadline date for completion.

Just by completing this small step, I bet you’re starting to feel a slight weight being lifted off those heavy shoulders.

An important lesson in life is while you may not be in charge of outcomes,
you ARE in charge of your actions and you have a choice to procrastinate or not. 

Over the last 24 years, I have had the opportunity to work with every type of client out there. It has left me with the knowledge and tools to provide streamlined organization tactics, tailored to each individuals need(s). I am proud to say that I have earned the name “Dr. DeClutter” or “Doc’ for short, from a number of my clients. A title I hold dear to my heart.

Right now, Task Management Solutions is offering two programs to help you find the information you’ve been searching for to help you manage solutions to make your tasks easier.

Sign up NOW for your FREE Virtual Organizing Session to Help Prepare for Tax Time

Pricing is based on your lifestyle and responsibility levels. All 1-2 month packages are custom tailored to fit your needs.  Packages include weekly progress sessions via phone, email, Zoom or Skype.

Available by phone @ 516-433-2330 EST, email laura@InfoSearchers.com, or book your appointment via the calendar here.

I can’t wait to give you an overall sense of wellness and calm, so you can get back to being carefree for summer!

The Stressful Life of a Procrastinator

The Stressful Life of a “Work-From-Home” Procrastinator

Do you work from home and suffer from procrastination? See if this description of a typical day describes you:

You get up in the morning with positive thoughts that today will be the day everything on your plate will get  done. Your intent is strong and you are committed.

All is good for the first 15 minutes of your working day as you sit at your desk.  You feel in control…

Then real life kicks in as you start reading your emails thinking (hoping) it will only take a few minutes.

Well, let’s be honest – with today’s deluge of information you’re subscribed to there’s an overabundance of sites to manage all the information coming at you. You didn’t even get to finish your coffee as you’re answering emails and answering phone calls at the same time.

Then other interruptions come up – unexpected fires that you need to put out or get involved in without volunteering. It’s an hour into work and you’re starting to feel the drain as procrastination sets in causing the first wave of hesitation about how your day will go.

Where’s your list of tasks that need to be done?

Yes, its buried on your desk. So you start another list feeling the drain like you did yesterday … and the day before.

You make the list again but it seems larger than the previous one. You’re thinking about what you need to start/finish but it’s in your head because you can’t follow the numerous lists you’ve made and lost.

Of course you didn’t assign priorities or deadline dates to your tasks as you’re feeling the overwhelm. Yes you’re feeling like you suffer from a disease called “procrastination”!

Procrastination stops you dead in your tracks and makes you feel you are captive behind your desk because you know you have so much to do but you can’t remember what.

Hmmm, should have had some breakfast for fuel but you procrastinated thinking you’ll eat … later.  How about some water to hydrate your body and brain to function as it needs to … later. By the way, coffee does not count as it’s not a food group and you never get to finish a cup anyway.  And no, the large breakfast you’ll have on the weekend because you procrastinated about eating healthy during the week will not make up for it.

Procrastination impacts your health and well-being.

It’s 11:00 am and time to start your tasks even though you’ve been at your desk for a couple of hours. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner working from home, you’ll side step it to the shower as you procrastinated about it when you got up.

Now you sit down at your desk after grabbing another cup of coffee and a yogurt or granola bar and you start all over again answering emails, checking social media, returning phone calls …

Now what was that all-important project you put off several times already? Can’t find it because its buried on your desk along with your previously made to-do notes?

Here comes that mental and emotional drain again! 

Regroup – dig through just the top layer of those piles on your desk. Feeling like what you need is there “somewhere”?  Will you procrastinate looking for it as it’s just “easier” to deal with what’s coming at you in the moment?

It’s 11:45 am and you ask yourself what you can accomplish before lunch so you do small, menial tasks that are not “A” priorities – “A”= MUST get done today.  You dilly-dally with the easy stuff.  Yes those must get done anyway so they are justified in your head and gives you some sense of completion even though it didn’t add to your daily income or help you develop those projects that will get you new clients and earn you $.

That keeps you busy till 12:30 pm so you fit in some more smaller, easy tasks before you take lunch as the clock ticks and it’s 1:00 pm. You are hungry as you didn’t have a decent breakfast so you take that lunch break but the symptoms of procrastination (meaning you didn’t get the important tasks done) are tying that knot tighter in your stomach.

During lunch (gulp!) you think about what would make you feel good about completing today, you plan in your head what you will start when lunch is over. It’s 1:30 pm-ish+++ and sitting at your desk feels better than when you left before lunch, so where do you begin – oh yeah its time to tackle that big project … but what are the starting steps? Did you write down an outline of prioritized tasks to follow to completion to achieve that goal?  Oh right – it’s on that (those) buried to-do lists covered up by sticky notes or vice versa! (gulp again!)

You do get bits and pieces of the project done during the afternoon, but was it in an order that made sense? Did you zigzag through the steps without a “map” to follow aka action item to-do list with priority codes and deadline dates?

4:30 pm approaches, time to read and answer more emails, try making some phone calls ….  Its 5:30 pm and you’re still in your office but the knot in your stomach returns as it was another unsuccessful and unproductive day because you have that “procrastination disease”.

If you work from home, you take that dinner break but not with a feeling of accomplishment.  So it’s back to your desk about 9:00 pm after the family and pets have been tended to for another shot at those emails and social media posts.

You answer what you can or do more of those C, D priority items but you’re too tired to tackle the A or B tasks.  But it’s OK – there’s always tomorrow … and you dream of crossing things off your list again.

The lack of systems at your desk has you drowning in computer files and paper piles.  And let’s forget about the personal responsibilities you try to fit in with children and spouses, house tasks, bill paying, exercise …

Hmm, could this be why you don’t feel your best as those knots that keep tying themselves tighter are affecting your health, peace of mind, mental stability?  Yep you’re in the big procrastinators club that most of the population is in.

How do I know all this?  Am I a mind reader?  Procrastination is a common daily feeling for everyone as it’s triggered by lack of systems, lack of direction and hierarchy of priorities, interruptions, delays, clutter …

If this is what your day sounds like, or every day for that matter, we need to talk!  Let’s do a virtual coffee break = free 20 min. chit chat about what’s not working and how I can help eliminate procrastination. Disorganization is at an all-time high with productivity at its lowest point ever.

Book your free consultation now as the spring energy invites a new refreshing perspective.
Available by phone @ 516-433-2330 EST, email laura@InfoSearchers.com, or book your appointment via the calendar here.

Our “Spring Into Action” program starts April 1stSecure your FREE Consultation NOWspace is limited!

The internet makes it easy to work virtually so there is NO excuse as I’m there for you and appointments with nationally known “Dr. DeClutter” are open for evenings and weekends to accommodate you.

How to Have an Effort”less” Outdoor Party

How to Have an Effort”less” Outdoor Party

Enjoying Your Party Instead of Missing it from Working so Much

Spring, Summer and Fall are the perfect times to enjoy hosting a relaxing and fun outdoor party.

The smell of barbecue always livens up the neighborhood with great food cooking on the grill.

These days there are less outdoor events happening in neighborhoods as the cost is overwhelming if you’re doing it alone. However, there are solutions to make it easy to prepare the festivities and include your guests to participate.

After reading this article you’ll be better prepared to host your own outdoor party and I also share a link to get a complete outdoor party planner checklist!

Here’s some tips for planning your next outdoor party:

Pick A Date

Party planner calendarApril – October are great months and shouldn’t be limited to humid July/Aug.

You can easily check the forecast by Googling a monthly weather calendar for your area – it may not be 100% on the money, however it’s a good guide to check rain and humidity expected. Consider picking a rain date if forecast looks iffy.

Send Out Invitations

After picking a date, send out your invite by email including date and start/grilling time. Definitely put an end time to prevent laggers.

People enjoy participating and this can be stress-free by taking them up on their offers of what to bring.

Make it easy by using this outdoor party shopping list and assign tasks by name so they bring exactly what you need without duplication.

This makes your party “easy breezy”  for you to enjoy and not shoulder the work and cost, which is why I’ve heard people have cut down on summer barbecues.

This list makes it super easy to make a budget for the party so you don’t go over your $ limit.

Pre-Party Preparations

Before the party, here’s some considerations to keep in mind for your pre-party preparations:

  • Request set-up and clean-up volunteers who you know are reliable.
  • If you have a pool, make sure it’s cleaned the day before and guests bring their own towel.
  • Have the lawn cut and leaves raked to make your yard inviting and free of debris.
  • Have enough chairs for guests. Rent or have guests bring folding chairs.
  • Rent a canopy if shade is needed.
  • Outdoor lighting needs to be sufficient for your front/backyard and walkway safety.
  • Make sure extension cords are not in pathways or near seating areas.
  • If decorating, you can use piñatas, hang lottery tickets, or string lights.
  • Fans keep guests cool and flies away. Avoid putting them in walking paths or too near food.
  • Keep music at reasonable levels if using a DJ, boom box, iPod dock, or laptop. Do you need dance area?
  • In case of injuries have ice packs and Band-Aids handy.
  • Have fire extinguishers available in kitchen and in yard near the grill.
  • Keep grill area apart from guest seating area.

Bottom line is for you to want to host a party at your home so YOU can enjoy entertaining without feeling overwhelmed.

The new norm is for guests to contribute and share in the planning as it’s a well-known fact entertaining these days is expensive but easy to do so all can enjoy.

“Pot luck” dining is always a good option too. If you’re worried about running out of food, you can simply suggest a “chip-in” pizza delivery for those late stayers but get the approval and $ collected ahead of time.

Keep in mind, most people won’t see the tiny details of how things look so budget, plan, execute, sit back and ENJOY!

And be sure to CLICK HERE to  download the Ultimate outdoor Party Checklist.
 
 
Need help getting organized for your next party? Schedule a complimentary Discovery Session to discuss organizational and productivity challenges we can conquer together.

Are you an ORGANIZED networker?

I remember when I first started my business 23 years ago.  I did the setup steps – started a business based on what I do best, established a name, registered the business, set up a bank account, logo, biz card, and brochure.  I had all the marketing materials – but why wasn’t anyone knocking on my door?  Don’t they know I have a service to offer to help them?  How come my phone isn’t ringing?  Guess I needed to do more to show the world I exist!

 

 

Networking? That was a concept I never heard of.  Hmmm, what’s this Networking Calendar of Events in the business section of my newspaper?  Looks interesting – is it a party?  

So I went to my first networking event with my beautiful business cards.  Walked into a room filled with business women who obviously knew each other and they greeted me warmly.  What – a 30 second intro – what’s that?  Shaking in my boots, I was able to come up with a quick intro how I help people get organized which actually brought some attention to a woman who said “I need you”.  Hey this networking sounds easy peasy!  Continued to go to every group around and saw they were different but had same concept – to make yourself known to get business.  

 

Slowly I was able to secure some business within different groups and became known as “Dr. DeClutter”.  However, I sensed something else needed to be done.  I needed to learn to listen and pay attention to other people selling themselves.  I went to a top notch group who had a form with questions laid out about what to ask the other person you’re speaking with to show your interest during one-on-one calls.  But I’m meeting so many people and can’t keep track of everyone so what can I use to help me pay attention and remember their specific business and needs?  

 

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I created my own networking “homework” form.

 

It had various pieces of info such as the date, time, name, and contact info for the private meetings I set up.  I realized this was about relationship building which is needed for successful networking.  I added key questions to ask the other person – like what’s their business, who are their targets, their background, outside interests, ideas we discussed to help each other, leads given/received, action items I said I would do for my fellow networker (follow through is KEY).  I then noticed my brain was now engaged from getting to know my fellow networkers as I was able to come up with contacts from other groups in my circles to connect people together so they could possibly do business together.

 

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Networking is not one sided.  It’s a mutual respect for each other and for sharing a common goal – to get business.  That meant stepping outside my own picture frame and expanding my interest in learning to build relationships by simply listening and asking questions of the other person.  It shows compassion, a common ground, a real interest in what I could do for them and not just what they could do for me.  It was a lesson in selflessness.

 

Last week I attended a networking event where I ran into people I’ve known for over 20 yrs.  Their welcoming hello’s were proof that doing networking professionally and with consideration pays off.  

 

If you’re unsure about how to go about networking, then try any of these:

  • Check the business section of your local Sunday newspaper.
  • Meetup.com  is great for networking both professionally and personally.
  • Eventbrite has local networking events, business mixers, and more.

 

I’ve helped clients nationally find groups in their location that they didn’t know existed, It opened up a whole new world of opportunity. Successful networking involves being professional, interested, resourceful, and organized!
www.InfoSearchers.com is the best place to find information and solutions you’ve been searching for to manage your life more efficiently!  Schedule a complimentary Discovery Session to learn more …

 

How to not be unproductive and procrastinate

What to Do About Procrastination and Feeling Unproductive

Do you wake up in the morning with a plan of what you expect to get done, but by the end of the day it just doesn’t seem to work out “your” way due to procrastination?

Do you have a constant nagging feeling of guilt because the most important things you wanted to accomplish didn’t get done AGAIN?!  

As the days and weeks roll along, that unproductive feeling becomes an avalanche of undone tasks snowballing into one another….

So, what exactly does being unproductive mean?

Overwhelmed? It’s that moment when you kick yourself in the butt because important action items written on some itsy bits of paper are lost in a pile of other random notes and reminders, some which were written so long ago that you can’t remember what they mean.

Those same random pieces of paper are posted all over your computer, your wall, stuck to other pieces of unrelated paper on your desk, the kitchen counter, your bathroom mirror, or even hiding in one of your drawers…

The bottom line is unproductive means missed opportunities.

Being unproductive means that you are not producing your desired results.  

You are not reaching your fullest potential. Not getting any closer to your end goal.

What To Do About Procrastination

To achieve your goals and reach your desired results, you need a structure with goals and steps to achieve each goal. This structure has to have a map defining priorities of the steps required, and the deadline completion date for each item.  

With my help, you don’t have to figure it out on your own!

to-do-checklistI’m a list maker – seems like I’ve always been.  On Sundays I make my weekly to-do list for each day.  The few times that it went “MIA” (IE: left in a shopping cart or lodged in with the mail when my hands were full) has sent me into sheer panic.

I must clear out my head and write things down and I have clients that still use the same organizational tools I left them with during my last visit.

My experience has taught me that an organized environment and planning productivity work hand in hand.  
It creates accountability and allows us to see exactly what needs to be done and when. It prevents us from “chasing our tail” while scurrying around trying to figure out the next move.

It’s time to stop the snowball effect.  

No more excuses.
No more procrastinating because “the phone rang” or “I had to answer my emails” or “someone stopped at my desk” or “I had an emergency” or “I was supposed to…”.

Sound familiar? You are not alone!  

When I work with a client, we do a “brain dump” and get all those “un-dones” out of their heads and into a detailed “map” to work from.  In a personal setting, we actually make a separate list for each aspect of their personal lives including children and house projects.  

Professionally we list projects that have been put on the “back burner” for months and even years.

It’s amazing how the stress is immediately reduced by simply clearing out your mind.

Imagine what it is like not having those “un-dones” swimming around your head while you’re sleeping?  The use of the “daily map” has rewarding benefits turning your unproductive life into one of accomplishments you can see and feel good about.

It is time to Step Into Action and pat yourself on the back.

Need help? I invite you to click here to set up an appointment for a Free Discovery Session.

I can hear you rustling to take the steps necessary to join my “Step Into Action” Program today.

What You Need to Know About Clutter and How It Affects Your Life

What You Need to Know About Clutter and How It Affects Your Life

Clutter: A Quick Definition

What exactly is clutter? Here’s some thoughts to put it into perspective:

  • Something you don’t need
  • Something you wish you didn’t have 
  • A whole lotta nothin’
  • Useless “stuff”
  • Meaningless mania
  • Unsorted mess
  • Illogical thinking      
  • Junk
  • Valueless items  
  • Someone else’s…
  • Unrelated items
  • Postponed decisions
  • Unfinished actions
  • VISUAL NOISE                                                   

How Clutter Makes You Feel

Can you relate to any of these?

  • Disorganized
  • Unproductive
  • Sloppy
  • SadToo Much Stuff
  • Tired
  • Overwhelmed
  • Like you want to run away!
  • Unprofessional
  • Drained
  • Guilty
  • Out of control
  • Unfocused
  • Out of sorts
  • Guilty
  • Angry
  • Stagnant/Frozen

What Clutter Causes

The sad truth is, clutter can have a very adverse effect on your personal and professional life. Here’s a variety of ways clutter can be causing you costly mistakes:

  • Lost time looking for things              
  • Lost $$$
  • Misuse of valuable time
  • FrustrationPaper Avalanche
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Arguments
  • Miscommunication
  • Paper “pain”
  • A physical mess
  • Lack of space
  • Confusion
  • Inefficiency
  • Depression
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Distraction

If you feel like you’re the only one on the planet who feels disorganized because there’s cluttered chaos in your home or office, rest assured you are not alone.

From my 23 years of being a Professional Organizer, I have heard words listed above directly from clients and those who have shared their feelings in general life conversation.  It takes over your life resulting in the causes I listed.

Huffington Post did a recent survey stating 84-87% of those polled worry their home is not clean or organized enough causing anxiety over maintaining their homes.

What’s interesting is that people have similar issues – a/k/a “symptoms” – however they still need a customized solution.

When dealing with disorganization, I use an “outside-the-box” approach that caters to a client’s specific needs and personalities.  Each person is unique in their situation. I help clients understand the why and then develop a long-term solution.

Why do they feel this way? I listen with compassion and design systems from their comprehension of how it will work for them.

These days home offices are the “norm” which has taken over space unplanned for in their original design and success only happens when systems are set up. Business owners, department Managers, and employees need to be on the same page via an organized, systematic environment improving the bottom line.

Organization starts at homeMost of the time I find that it goes back to their roots. Was organization taught at home? Did they have a place for everything? What role models did they have to show them the logic behind the solutions?

School does not teach you how to keep your bedroom neat or how to keep your kitchen set up to cook with ease.  You learn that from your environment.

I came from an organized environment.  When Sundays used to be Sundays – oooh so long ago – we all gathered at Grandma & Grandpa’s house – aunts, uncles, cousins.  Whoever was left at the end helped clean up assembly style.  

I remember the routine fondly.  The men got the living room back in order the way Grandma had it.  The women handed each other items off the kitchen table in line to the appropriate cabinet to store dishes, glasses, silverware to the exact spot they came from.

My fondest memory was standing in front of the open fridge next to my Grandma and handing her the next item for her to store.  It went exactly in a specified spot.  Just to be a prankster with her, I moved things around when she wasn’t looking and she laughed.  But it always came back to her system.

Little did I know then that she was actually teaching me the profession I so enjoy when I can teach others the logic behind what goes where.  Having set chores on Saturday was a built-in benefit that started young.

I started my business after she passed and I would sense her hand on my shoulder at the end of client sessions in recognition of a job well done!  I will add that she taught each of her 6 children the “art” of organizing.

I never knew what a cluttered home looked like until I had my first babysitting job. I took the task of washing the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen for the parents who were busy with their 5 children – trust me, there were no organizational skills taught in that house so my help was so appreciated!  

Time to DeClutter

It’s Time to DeClutter!

Whatever age you are, it is not too late to learn. Let’s discover together how to remove the “chaotic clutter” from wherever you are nationwide through virtual organizing sessions in your office, home office, or home.

Click here to sign up for a Complimentary Discovery Session 

“Think Out Loud” Sessions also available to declutter your brain!

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