The new year is a great time to get your­self or­gan­ised at home and at the of­fice, says BRY­ONY PARR

The Star Early Edition - - LYFESTYLE VERVE - For ever

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 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.

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