The new year is a great time to get yourself organised at home and at the office, says BRYONY PARR
BRYONY Parr at Oh So Organised shares a list of handy tips to ensure you start the year off on the right foot.
First things first! Get a diary or a journal, something you can carry around with you all year, it doesn’t have to have dates, it's more so that when you have to make a note quickly or need to remember something you have paper at hand – that way no matter where you are or what time of the year – you only need to look through one book. Make a list of important dates from last year – a birthday and anniversary calendar for the year ahead so that you can collect information and plan ahead, Facebook has everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries. I print out empty Outlook Calendars and tape them to the fridge – that way everyone can see the events coming up.
Spend a few hours making a dream board and goals for 2017 – this is for everyone. It’s a great way to get the creative juices going – I put mine up on my office wall and I’ve taken down and saved the items I’ve achieved.
Make sure that it’s somewhere that you see every day – 10 positive affirmations “I am beautiful”, “I am successful” that you remind yourself of every day, so when you need some inspiration, it’s there. Write down your goals for the year ahead – if you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there?
You won’t achieve everything but it will show you what you have and give you direction for the next year. It gives you a reason to celebrate over a nice meal or a little spoil to congratulate yourself. Don’t over-complicate goals – it makes them hard to achieve – the success of achieving simple goals make you more motivated for the bigger ones
Make a budget for the year – there are great apps that link to your bank accounts and can show you what you have spent your money on. Some remember your purchases and groups them and you can change them to suit you. If you plan to live within your means, you can prevent needing to buy on credit.
Make a list of all your accounts and how much you owe; make sure you budget for your repayments so you are able to make payments – there are plenty of people who don’t know how much they owe and how many places they owe too. To prevent being blacklisted, it’s better to have your finances in order.
Book the family in for medical and dental checkups – prevention is always better and most medical aids reward you for checkups.
Arrange "no spend" weeks to save money – it’s only seven days which makes it easier. Cut out snacking on the move and takeaway or buying lunch at work – make meals at home and make dishes with groceries at the back of the cupboard – it’s great using food you bought ages ago without spending unnecessarily. Have a quiet weekend at home and save yourself some cash to put towards more needed things.
Instead of going onto social media, why not go through your phone and delete contacts, messages and apps you don’t need, keeps your phone more organised – there is nothing worse than a slow phone that is running low on space.
Check your passport is still valid, bearing in mind most visas require six months in your passport past your travel dates in order to apply for them.
Have a "smalls bag" of refillable small shampoo, conditioner and body wash and moisturiser – that way whenever you travel you can just pop them into your bag ready to go (an overweight bag is costly). If you keep them in your hand luggage with a facecloth, a change of underwear and top on a long haul flight – google the airport you are transiting through, most have showers and you can use your layover and feel refreshed for your next leg. Sort your desk out
The best time is Friday afternoon when you don’t feel particularly productive – this is the best time to do your filing, make a to-do list for the day/week/month/year so that you don’t spend time on unnecessary tasks.
Wipe down your electronics, desk and chair and drawer handles – we spend so much time at our desks and they can collect lots of germs.
Go through your mails and make to-do lists or send out meeting requests.
Take home anything at your desk that isn’t work related.
Only have the things you need at your desk, make sure your top drawer is filled with items you use daily, like stationery you use every day. Further down are for lessused items. Make a stationery inventory and check it every Friday when you do your desk clean to avoid running out of anything.
If you don’t have drawer dividers, use empty cereal/ rusk boxes, cut to the depth of the drawer to maximize the drawer space or Tupperware. Your desk belongs to the company so don’t use the drawers to stock all your hand creams and food and personal belongings – food belongs in the kitchen – have a Tupperware with your name on it with your bits in it and keep all personal items in your bag.
Cables make a mess of most desks. Cable organisers are great for holding cables in place – like that PC charger that keeps dropping down the back of the desk. And neatens the space.
Backing up is great especially for critical data. So is using something like Dropbox or Google Drive. If you don’t have either, an external hard drive works just as well – set a reminder to every Friday and prevent dreadful losses of information.
A wonderful utility I like to use that pretty much does everything you need to optimise the use of your machine is Glary Utilities http://www.glarysoft.com/. It cleans out temporary files which is a major space hogger. Temp files get produced every time you visit a website or view an image and pretty much any file you work with. Most people have around 5-20GB of these pesky files taking up space on your machine..
Delete e-mails that aren’t important – you don’t put your mail back in your mailbox at home, do you?
Remove yourself from mailing lists you don’t read.
Network your computers to give access and ease to all staff.
Delete your deleted folder in your mail t Go through and delete all your drafts.
Tidy up your desktop – label your computer files so that should you have to direct someone to find a file over the phone, it’s easy.
By the time you have done all of these things it will be 5pm and you will be ready to rock Monday morning.
Invest in a decent chair – you can do long lasting damage to yourself by sitting badly for long periods of time. Pack away all the things you don’t need, like printer paper, into cupboards l Go through all your hard copy user manuals, download them and save them on your computer; throw out the paper version – saving you time when you have to search for them and reducing the clutter.
Transfer all your 2016 files into archive boxes and make sure your files are ready for the new year.
Time block – we all have those pesky tasks that we hate doing and so we put them off. If you block out time in your day – stick to it – even if you don’t finish the task, at least you have done more than if you avoided it all together.
Business cards and promotional material
I know we spend a large amount of money on creating these items but we are moving into a digital age and often I find my clients have a huge box or business cards and fliers stuffed into drawers and not being utilised for their value.
My rule with promotional info
Write where you met the person on the card.
Take a photo and store it on Sam Card / Camcard. These apps create live links on the card so you can e-mail and call from the photo you have saved
Create an Excel spreadsheet and add the business card details to it (name / business/ website / where you met them / important info /contact number.
E-mail the person and follow up with a phone call – great first impression and if you call on their mobile, smartphones now recognise numbers from e-mails and that way they have your mobile in their phone.
Throw business card away.
You have made contact, stored their info and saved your desk from being cluttered.
Clearly defining your work and private e-mail addresses.
If you use your work e-mail for private communications – your boss has every right to read them, as the computer is property of the business. So create your own personal e-mail – that way should you leave the company then it prevents confusion for your replacement.
Mobile phones and technology today have blurred the work hours with personal time – gone are the days when FB was banned from business – nevertheless, don’t check private e-mails, social media or take private phone calls unless you are on a tea or lunch break. This will improve your concentration and impress your boss – you are at work, focus on work. Then when you are having a five-minute tea break at 10, tell your boss / colleagues you are just going to stretch your legs and make a phone call and they will respect you more for it. Transparency is KEY in the work place, you are refreshing your mind three times a day and you are defining your time.
Lunch breaks – get up and eat away from your desk – this reduces the risk of you making a mess and it gives you a break from your desk and encourages blood flow. Meetings out of the office
Try to arrange one day of the week where you are either out all day doing your weekly meetings or have them all come to you to minimise coming and going and minimising wasted transit time
Booking a whole day of meetings means that they are unlikely to go over time (also known as time drains) and will make your time management more effective.
I have been booking meetings for 11 months now and when I initiate meetings I always suggest the time I have available to them and seldom are people unable to make it.
Obviously this may not always be possible – but getting into the habit makes it easier. Paper
Avoid printing out bills/ invoices unless you have too – pay them online and keep proof of payment e-mail as record, if you e-mail proof of payment to the creditor you can always search for both invoice and payment in your e-mail if needed in future
Use archive boxes at the end of every year, use string to attach the paper from the current file and slide into the box, they are easier to stack, label and store and you can empty the whole box out if they are over five years’ old
Papers to keep 1 month – have a jar for receipts, ask the cashier to staple the card and receipt together and write card/ cash and reason for purchase at the top for easy future filing
5 years – chequebook stubs, bank statements and invoices
– birth/death certificates; property purchases and improvement documents and invoices; car purchases; medical cover; wills; contracts; insurance
To-do lists – always have a to-do list – it prevents you having to remember everything and you can keep track of what you have or haven’t done – write these in your journal/diary you carry so that all the info is in the same place Daily – work Daily – private Week Month Filing trays are very necessary on any desk – piles of papers make everyone feel overwhelmed! Urgent Not so urgent Filing
When these are full – deal with them – don’t let them grow to be unmanageable (i.e. Friday afternoon)
Keep a box for gifts or freebies that you have received and can’t return, they make excellent stocking fillers or birthday extras. There is no point holding onto gifts you don’t want – rather give them to someone who can use them.
Use a standard shopping list that you can take with you with everything on it – it will jog your memory and prevent you forgetting anything. I will be loading printables up onto my website soon.
Consider ordering home supplies in bulk – it's more cost effective and they often deliver so it saves you lugging heaving bags home from the grocery store. I use Chempac.
Throw away all duplicates you have and magazines you aren’t reading – they take up so much space. Take photos of the articles you like and you will always have them.
Have all your appliances serviced – aircons, your plumbing and your electrics, to prevent any unforeseen disasters. Plumbers will check all valves, water sources, piping and geyser. The electrician will check all power points and can perhaps replace bulbs in unreachable places (have you been sitting in the dark for a while because you can't reach them?). They will be able to supply low energy bulbs reducing your carbon footprint and save you money.
The call-out fee for simple checks will be much cheaper than an unplanned disaster.
Take your car for a free check up – most places offer them – that way you know what you may need to pay for in the coming months and you can plan for it.
Have you got damp absorbers in all your cupboards? Our warm climate and humidity can destroy clothes and linen – put them in now and make a note to replace them before winter. For more info, e-mail
Bryony Parr from Oh So Organised shows how quick and simple it is to organise your wardrobe as seen in the before and after shots.