Successful Simplicity, LLC

Saving Time; Simplifying Lives

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                     May Organizing Tips

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                              Are You Sabotaging Your Own Day?

I attended the annual NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals) conference recently. I find the education I get being a member of NAPO is invaluable, and this month I thought I’d focus on some of the knowledge I gained. One session was focused on how to capture back some time in your day. One of the great resources I learned about is Moment. It’s an app that tracks how much time you’re spending looking at your phone or tablet screens. Even when we think we’re just going to check facebook “quick,” before we know it we’ve ended up wasting a half hour of time. Once you get a reality check on how much time you’re on your devices, you can use the app to set limits on your screen time.  

My favorite part of the session on getting back time in your day focused on your personality styles and how that might be sabotaging your productivity. For instance, are you a Firefighter, who tends to rush into a crisis situation and take charge to “fix it?” Being a firefighter means you’re giving prioritizing other’s problems throughout the day rather than focusing on your own agenda. Instead, resist the temptation to jump in and let someone else take ownership of the issue, especially the person whose crisis it truly is.

This topic has come up here recently, and it relates to being a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist consumes a huge amount of time during your day. Instead of buying your sister’s bridal shower gift off the wedding registry, you go out of your way searching high and low for the gift that’s really going to wow her because she deserves the best. It ends up taking a whole day and half a tank of gas. Pick one of these perfectionist mottos and post it in several visible places as a reminder when you’re tempted to start going down the rabbit hole: “80% of something is better than 100% of nothing,” “Strive for progress, not perfection,” or “We can choose to be perfect and admired, or to be real and loved.”

The next personality style that can sabotage our efforts at being productive is the “Helper.” Ding, ding, that’s me! Not surprising considering I got my masters in Social Work and have spent my life’s work in professions that serve others J We’re the people who always say “Yes!” when someone asks us to take care of their kids for the weekend at the expense of our own plans, or be the one child of the four in your family who volunteers to plan your parent’s 50th anniversary party. You can still be a helper without devoting as much time by splitting up the party planning duties between all of the kids, or ordering a weekly Bite Squad dinner delivery to your friend with cancer instead of making dinner from scratch and running it over in person.

The final personality style I’m going to share is that of the Expert. You love it when people come to you for advice, ideas, or motivation. As a result, you’ll spend hours looking for books, online articles, and health magazines to find information for your best friend’s new health diagnosis. Or you’ve already launched your oldest child into adulthood, so you offer to go with your friend and her son to college move-in weekend because you know exactly how to set up a dorm room efficiently. Rather than being the “expert,” be of more service to those around you by being a sounding board and asking good questions so they can come up with their own answers.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Dorothee Racette for the great learning in her conference session!