Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Welcome Viewers!

Welcome WGGS-TV viewers! We're delighted that you stopped by our blog.

We post one-two encouraging posts a week. You can also purchase any version of our book via the links on the right.

Thanks for your interest and happy organizing from the heart!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Organizing a Cabinet

by Beth Beutler

Once you get started in organizing projects, it's easier to stay motivated.

Back over Thanksgiving, I decided to organize a large cabinet in my home office. I had intended to do two, but only got to one. But thats okay!

Basically, the cabinets had become collection spots for lots of "stuff." So I removed everything from one shelf or section at time, putting it on a table set up in the room. (See the photo of all the stuff to sort through!)

Then I wiped down the shelves, and returned items little by little, discarding or putting in a "give away" bag things I didn't think I'd need. I did NOT do detailed sorting. For example, a have a number of CD-Roms and DVDs that I probably could have discarded. Since they did not take up a lot of space once arranged neatly in a CD holder, I decided to avoid the mental energy it would take to decide what to do about each one. I also kept one bin of miscellaneous technology items such as cords and SD cards. You see, my personality handles details to a certain degree, and then I get tired and overwhelmed to pursue deep details. So I am content with having things reasonably contained. Then if I get the urge, I can take one container at a time and really sort through it. That wasn't my purpose in this project, particularly since it was also time to do some Christmas decorating.

Several days later, the cabinet was much better. I had freed up space, grouped things more logically, and even found items I could repurpose for better use elsewhere. For example, the miscellaneous technology items mentioned above had been in a three drawer plastic organizer, which would have better use on my craft table. Thus, I transferred those items into one bin and moved the drawers to the craft table. For the win!

Organizing doesn't have to be overwhelming, if done in small parts, if 1) you start with an empty cabinet/section, and 2) you only sort and make decisions in a way that matches your natural bent.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guest Blog: Handling Email

by Rachelle Adams

I read a tip recently from Beth Beutler in her book, 52 Ways to Be More Organized:
“Unsubscribe to email distributions you do not need/do not read regularly.”

I thought about the nearly 5,000 emails in my inbox. The majority of those were from email subscriptions, were unread, and were preventing me from seeing important emails that needed responses.

When I arrived home from school the other day, I felt prompted to tackle my inbox. I spent the next two hours unsubscribing to email distributions, deleting emails, and apologizing for not replying to a few important emails I had overlooked.

My inbox went from nearly 5,000 emails down to TWO emails. That felt great! Since then, I have not had nearly as many emails flooding my inbox each day, and I've been able to manage my inbox and reply to important emails in a more timely manner.

A few thoughts from my experience:

Depending on the email service you use, try to group your emails by sender. This will allow you to review your emails quickly, unsubscribing as necessary and deleting much more quickly (you can delete all of the emails from one sender at a time).

Be honest with yourself. Do you skip emails from a certain sender (such as an online clothing company) more often than you actually read them? If so, consider unsubscribing. You'll save time by not having to skip them, and your important emails won't be lost among the unimportant ones.

Several of the sites that were sending me emails said it could take up to 10 days to process my request to unsubscribe. I plan to review my inbox again in a couple of weeks to determine if I need to follow up on previous requests or unsubscribe to any other emails.

My husband uses his inbox well, and I'm attempting to follow his lead! The only emails in my inbox right now require follow-up. Everything else has been archived (I use Gmail and choose not to use folders, because the search function works well).

This really was worth the two hours I spent on this task, and it may not take you nearly as long as it took me, depending on how many subscriptions you receive.

Beth, thank you again for the tip, and thank you for the chance to guest blog!

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Please select one answer

Thank you for reading this blog. As we consider how best to serve you, we'd like to know how many posts per week would most encourage you. We don't want to overwhelm you, but neither do we want to not be intentional about regular contact and encouragement. So, please help us serve you well by selecting how many posts per week you would like to see on the blog. Our poll will remain available on the blog through the end of February. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fear and Time Management

Add©2013 Jupiterimages Corporation caption
By Beth Beutler

One of my biggest time management challenges is allowing enough time for each errand or task of the day. I am not strong at estimating how long something will take, or allowing for the inevitable interruptions or setbacks (i.e. from technology) that come my way. Sometimes I think there is a deeper reason for this than simply underestimating. It can become a heart issue, based in some fears, such as the following:

Fear of boredom. I am the kind of person that really enjoys being reasonably busy--meaning that I have plenty to do but like to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think I fear being bored, so I enjoy having valuable tasks ahead for the day. But I can easily reach the tipping point of having too many tasks on the list and then get stressed trying to meet all the self-imposed expectations.

Fear of insignificance. I like to do things that cause people to think, to change, to grow in their walk with God and others. In a strengths finder assessment, one of my strengths is significance--the desire to be important to people and do important things. But I can allow my personal drive to prove myself significant to cause me stress and pressure.

Fear of failure. I get a rush out of accomplishing a lot in a day. So I keep going because I don't like the feeling of things being left undone. I was valedictorian in high school and have always been at least somewhat driven by achievement. I don't like to fail at something and want to do a lot of things naturally well.

Fear of work. this may sound counterintuitive since I have workaholic tendencies. But, sometimes, hidden in that, is a laziness. For example, I can be on Facebook for an unreasonable amount of time each day. I can get a lot done because I'm fast, but that doesn't mean I always do things well or give them enough thought in the process.

I could apply some time management principles to this, but the bottom line is that my fear interrupts me from receiving the love and grace God has for me, and finding my value simply in being His daughter, not in what I accomplish.

Does any of this resonate with you?

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Bumper Pads for Adults

Add©2013 Jupiterimages Corporation
By Beth Beutler

Today's practical tip is nothing new, if you've read or heard other time management material. Sometimes referred to as adding a cushion or margin to your day, let's think of it today's tip as "bumper pads."

When someone welcomes a new baby to the home, they often set up a lovely nursery. One of the components is a crib that is lined with soft, pillow like material called bumper pads. This is meant to protect the baby from getting caught in the rails of the crib, and provide a soft barrier from the hardness of the wood.

We need bumper pads in our lives, too. To manage time well and stay organized, you need to strategically place bumper pads in your day, that will absorb the inevitable interruptions and distractions that can hit the day hard. Here are some practical ways you can add bumper pads to your day:

Add at least 10 minutes to any drive time/commuting you expect to do (more, depending on where you live.) This will help with traffic jams, detours, etc. If you live 30 minutes away from most places you need to go, plan for a 40 minute drive.

  • Cut your to-do list by at least 25% after you write it out for the day. Put the lesser-priority  list in a different spot that you can go to if you happen to have an extremely productive day and want to do more. 
  • Overestimate how long a task will take. If it usually takes you 15 minutes to fold laundry, allow for 20 to 30.
  • Expect, and plan for, interruptions. I'll write more about techniques for this at another time, but watch for "pattern interruptions" such as visits, phone calls, coworker chats, and the like that tend to happen frequently, and determine a plan to avoid them from throwing your entire day off track.

Speaking of patterns, do you see one here? It comes down to "expect less." We expect way too much of ourselves in terms of what we can get done in a day. It is not healthy to continue to have such demands on our minds and souls. Prayerfully consider what are realistic expectations for the day, keeping your relationship with God as highest priority. He will guide you if you ask for wisdom. (James 1:5)

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