Organize + Energize: 6 Tools I Use to Stay Organized, Efficient, & Productive
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalProv Organizing Expert
I’m probably one of the most efficient people you’ll ever meet! I’ve taken daily/monthly tasks and streamlined them as much as I can to save myself time and energy. I’ve done this in all the jobs I’ve had throughout the years, including this one and have also applied it to my home life. There are tools I use that help with the process.
Here are 6 tools I use to stay organized:
Calendar. I don’t use a digital calendar. I hate them and I won’t use them. Some people love them and that’s ok, but that doesn’t work for me. I have 2 paper calendars. One I use for work and home that I carry with me to work. The other calendar is the planner I’ve created (http://organizinginri.com/our-products.html) and it sits on my desk in my office. It contains all the paper that I need to tackle throughout the year. There isn’t any paper scattered around the house. All my bills, appt. cards, invites, things I have to do are in this planner. It gets rid of the mental clutter. I’ve never missed an appointment, never paid a bill late and never missed an event or redemption of a reward card.
Clock. Time management is my specialty and using a clock helps in the process. When I’m writing articles, preparing my newsletter or doing anything at the computer, I use the clock and give myself a block of time to complete tasks. I keep a clock outside the bathroom to keep my on track when getting ready. When working with clients, I’m always keeping track of our time together to make sure the project is running efficiently and we’re being super productive.
Systems. I’ve created really simple systems in my work and home life. I always tell clients, the simpler the system, the easier it’s going to be to maintain. Creating a space for everything in your home and office is also key. I want to be able to grab something when I need it and go about my day. I don’t want to touch 5 things before I touch the item I need. I don’t want to waste time thinking about where things are located.
To-do lists. On Fridays, I look at the week ahead and create a daily to-do list for each day. I look at where I have to be, what errands I have to run, and I even jot down household chores like laundry. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished gets pushed to the next day and I make sure it gets done by the end of the week. Working with a daily to-do lists keeps me on task for the week and because I know ahead of time which area of the state I’ll be in, I make sure I get my errands done while I’m there.
Live simple. It’s not a tool, but it’s a way of life that helps me run efficiently. When you live simple, you have less to clean up, less to worry about and less to stress about. I like quality over quantity. I like nice things, not too much, but just enough.
Eat healthy. Again, not a tool, but when you eat processed junk food, you’ll usually feel sluggish and who feels like being productive when you feel like that? Eating clean, healthy food and drinking lots of water will give you more energy and in turn you’ll be more efficient and productive.
All of the above have one thing in common: Structure. If you’re living a chaotic life, and want to get organized, it begins with having structure. You may not like structure, and that’s ok, but are you enjoying the chaos?
You may say, this sounds like too much work. I started living like this as far back as I can remember. It’s been my lifestyle for over 40 years. It’s not difficult; it’s actually really easy and simple. It’s not exhausting, but invigorating! It’s not for everybody. You have to think about how much you want it and if it’s the lifestyle you want to live. If so, you’ll reap the benefits of having more free time, less stress, more structure, and you’ll be more efficient and productive.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Flip flop organizer
How many flip flops do you own? Are they thrown all over the closet floor? How long does it take you to find a match to one of them? Bed Bath and Beyond has a $9.99 flip flop organizer that holds 6 pairs of flip flops and hangs nicely in your closet. This is a must-have if you have more than 5 pairs of flip flops. I’ve purchased these for my clients and they work great!
You love your scarves, but it takes you forever to locate one and you have to throw 5 around to find the one you are searching for. Use a scarf organizer and you will be able to see all your scarves and find them at a moment’s notice. Bed Bath and Beyond has a few different types of scarf organizers, including this one for $9.99.
How are you storing your belts? Are they in a tangled mess? Purchase a belt organizer for a cheap solution—they can be as inexpensive as $6.99 from the Container Store.
Keep your ties organized and hanging on a tie rack, or keep then rolled in a drawer organizer. Whichever way you choose to organize them, treat them with care. To take care of both your belts and your ties in one fell swoop, check out this organizer from the Container Store.
This is a must for your underwear, socks, bras, nylons, etc. Drawer organizers will help to maximize space in your closet. You won’t believe the amount of space you will have once you contain these items in drawer organizers!
Are you always trying to detangle your necklaces? Think about how you grab your jewelry and then purchase an organizing system according to how you function. Before you purchase your container, take inventory of what you own and purchase accordingly.
Did you know people who didn’t own shoe racks were 7 times more likely to show up late for an event? Are your shoes in piles on the floor? Get them off the floor and contain them in a shoe rack. There are many options out there, like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond. Choose the shoe rack that is going to fit what you need to hold and fit in the space you are working with.
Are you hanging your clothes on the wire hangers from the dry cleaner? Those hangers will ruin your clothes. Get rid of them and store your clothes on the hanger of your choice, but be consistent and stick with one type of hanger.
How are you storing your handbags? Are they stored all over your closet? Are they in bins or crumpled up on the floor? It’s time to organize your bags. There are many options depending on the space you are working with. You can stand them up on a shelf, you can hang them, or if they are small, you can store them in a canvas bin. The choice is yours. Think about how you function and develop a system from there.
Baseball cap organizer
How many baseball caps do you own? How are they organized in your closet now, and how long does it take you to find one? The Container Store (pictured here), Bed Bath and Beyond, and other stores sell this baseball cap organizer. I have a few clients that have purchased them and they love them!
Function over flash
There are many variations on these products. Choose the product that is right for you. There are some organizing products I would never use, but other people might choose to use them. Choose the one that is going to be the most efficient and productive product for you and your family. Don’t choose a product because it’s pretty, choose it based on functionality. Search online for different products before you rush out and purchase a product. You may find that one store is more expensive than another. Don’t forget if you are going to Bed Bath and Beyond to use their 20% off coupons. If you don’t want to purchase these items, get creative and re-purpose items around the home, or make your own!
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.