Visualize Your Home Office into Reality

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2007-03-05 12:46:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Last week I made a presentation to a group that included a visualization at the beginning. I wanted to talk to this group of nascent entrepreneurs about their home offices.

For me, one of the best things about having my own business is my home office. It’s not fancy, but it’s mine! This visualization is about on how your office should feel, rather than how it should look. The thing to focus on is visualizing whatever makes you feel joyful and centered.

Start by imagining it’s tomorrow morning. You’ve awakened naturally after a good night’s sleep. There’s no need for an alarm clock because you’re in charge of when you get to your office. You feel alert and relaxed. You look out the window, starting to feel what kind of day you’ll create for yourself. Maybe it’s raining, maybe it’s sunny. Whatever the weather, it’s a brand new day for you to create wonderful things with your business.

You arrive at your office feeling eager to work. Your office may be a separate room, or a desk in the living room or a laptop computer on the kitchen table. Wherever it is, you arrive there knowing that you are in your office.

You have arranged it to suit yourself. You have a comfy chair, a cup of your favorite morning beverage, a window to look out of, whatever makes your office a pleasant place to be. You might have a cat in your lap, or your dog lying next to your chair.

Perhaps there are other people there whose presence supports you in your work. You may be wearing your favorite sweater and some nice, warm socks. You may have some music playing that inspires and motivates you. You have all the materials and supplies you need close at hand.

Take a few moments now to see your office in your mind. If you don’t have one yet, imagine one that you can create when you get home. If you do have one, imagine yourself there now and see if there’s anything else you want to add to make it an even nicer place to spend time. If you have a home office space that you don’t really like, this is the time to improve it. Don’t think about what you dislike about it. Stop reading for a minute or so and close your eyes to do this.

You’ve set your own office hours. Maybe it’s afternoon or evening instead of morning, if that suits your schedule better. Whenever it is, now it’s time for you to focus on your business. You’ve arranged to be free of distractions during your office time so that you can use all your energies toward creating your business. There will be plenty of time later to handle non-business tasks. You set aside this time because your business is important to you.

You know how much it matters to work in a pleasing and comfortable environment. The happiness you feel being in a place that supports you translates into more creativity, more joyful interaction with your clients or customers and greater ease in producing your work.

Now imagine doing whatever tasks your business needs doing. If you make a phone call, imagine that the person you are calling is happy to hear from you and that the conversation is productive for both of you. If you’re doing billing, feel proud and satisfied with the work you’ve done for that money. If you’re paying bills, reflect on how successful your business is and how much each vendor helps it be successful. If you’re starting a task that makes you feel unsure of yourself and your abilities, turn your thoughts to the great service or product you’re providing and know that your efforts are aligned with the highest good for all. Stop reading for a minute or so and close your eyes to do this.

Next you get to take a break! Reward yourself for the good work you’ve done. Choose something that feels like a treat to you. Maybe you want to call a friend on the phone. Maybe you want to take a walk. Maybe you want to plan something fun for the weekend.

Take a moment to remember the good feelings you have about the office you visualized. Remember the positive attitude you felt while doing your work. Any time in the future you can recall those feelings and give yourself a lift. Stop reading for a few moments and close your eyes to do this.

Now we’ll come back to the chair you’re sitting in, today. Bring yourself gently back to the present. When you’re ready, open your eyes. Stretch a bit if you want.

How did that go for you? Did you hook into a good feeling that you can bring back whenever you want? Remember to jot down any great ideas you got about arranging your home office!

Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2011-05-12 15:48:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Two years ago, Jenny’s life turned upside down. “The Universe,” she says, “picked me up and spun me around.” She landed in Detroit with her computer and a few bags of clothes.

Nothing else.

At first, she missed her books and her photo albums, but none of the other stuff. Not a thing. That came as a big surprise.

Not only didn’t she miss her houseful of possessions, she actually felt good that it was gone. Relieved. Liberated. So she decided not to get bogged down in crap in the future. Now, she can pack a bag and go somewhere, tomorrow. Possessions will never weigh down her life again.

Having less stuff means having freedom.

We get attached to stuff. Jenny’s previous life was relatively prosperous. She had crafts supplies and baking equipment and lots of other things she rarely used. The intention of someday using them kept her tied to them.

“Purging gets easier the more you do it,” Jenny says. “As you give stuff away, you’ll start to feel freer and want to do it more. And your place will look better! When I did my purge, in every cubby, in every closet, there was just shit. Shit I hadn’t seen in years.

“The aha! is how much psychic space things take up.

“I don’t judge my self worth based on the stuff I have, so I didn’t expect to react strongly to getting rid of those things. I certainly didn’t expect the feeling of liberation.”

Me: Now that you have all this physical and psychic room, what has come into your life?

“What hasn’t? It’s opened up so much. When I look back, it seems like I was helpless with all the things that happened, but on the other hand I took charge of my life in a way I hadn’t before. I freed up space for new possibilities and the new possibilities just keep coming.

“Once you realize you can do something like this, you realize that not only are you okay, but you feel a lot better. It opens your mind to a lot of possibilities. Maybe other assumptions you have are wrong too. It was a very strengthening kind of experience.”

Me: How do you resist the lure of the new and shiny?

“There’s nothing to resist. The realization that I felt better having less stuff was so strong for me that it wouldn’t make any sense to start acquiring stuff again.

“In fact, there’s tension and hesitation when I think about bringing something new into my life. I don’t think that collecting junk is anyone’s goal. There’s an unconscious grabbing, buying and keeping.

“Having things is a false comfort. It’s a lie.”

Me: How can people get this kind of freedom without jettisoning all their belongings and moving 500 miles away?

“I encourage people to push their comfort zones and get rid of a lot more than they think they can. You think you’re going to miss it but actually you feel very free and light. It’s counter intuitive.

“I don’t think I would have discovered this if I hadn’t been put into a situation as I did. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but purge just a little more than you thought you could.

“Have the intention of freeing up space for yourself.”

~~~~~

The lovely and talented Jenny B Bones runs an empire dedicated to changing the world through words. Because she pared down and simplified her life, she’s got a laser focus on doing what she loves and what she can help others with. Read her spicy, witty blog here.

In case you were wondering, I help people with purges large and small. Too much stuff in your home, on your desk, or in your head? Click here to find out how much better it can be.

A To-Do List by Any Other Name

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2011-04-19 14:23:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ‘Tis true. If it were called bog shrub we would love it just the same.

It’s not true for your to-do list, however.

A to-do list should have a handful of concrete tasks on it that are related to your projects. Problems start growing when it’s used as a catch-all for everything you have to do.

This is a common problem for creative, expansive thinkers. They have no difficulties filling up to-do lists. When I did a brain dump recently with Nancy, she told me her head was churning out ideas like a popcorn popper.

As we talked about her list, it became clear that some things needed to be done right away so that other things could happen. Some things she really wanted to do now. Then there were other things that could wait a bit.

It was confusing to have all of these on her to-do list. I suggested that, for starters, she put the things that could wait onto a new list and call it the “deep freeze.”

Simply dividing and renaming the list let Nancy mentally set aside those ideas so she could concentrate on today’s work. The ideas don’t get lost or forgotten. They’re safely stored for the future. She can review that list anytime to see what should be moved onto it or off of it.

How can you divide up your too-long to-do list?

Some people use names like “projects,” “work,” or “personal.” Those are fine, but it might motivate and focus you to use more descriptive phrases such as “deep freeze,” “back burner,” “holding pen,” “bucket list,” “next in line,” “crystal ball,” “wait ‘n’ see” or “parking lot” for the things you’re not going to do now.

For the tasks you want to do try “cool stuff,” “dream bag,” “love it,” “empire building,” or “world domination.”

For current stuff, try “right now,” “today,” “just do it,” “on fire,” “yes!” “in progress,” “daily specials,” or “full speed ahead.”

Those phrases all have different feels to them, don’t they? It’s important to choose names that inspire you. If you’re motivated by urgency, for example, go for something like “on fire.” If you like metaphors and themes like Havi does, call it something like “the pony corral.”

Be totally silly and call your list “Debbie.”

There are two points here. First, divide your list into things you will do today and those you’ll do in the future (the latter can be several lists). Second, pick names for your lists that are evocative and meaningful to you.

List names are significant. They help us clarify and categorize our thoughts. Names have attitudes and moods associated with them that we can use to motivate us. Plus, they can be fun, and, ahem, we all need that.

The Seven Deadly Organizing Sins: Wrath

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2009-11-05 12:37:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mad as hell This is Sin #5 on the list, which also includes lust, gluttony, greed and sloth. Wrath, or anger, is sinful because it’s destructive. It can harm others and it can harm you as well.

Here’s a scenario: Overwhelmed Olivia decides to beat clutter once and for all. She buys an organizing book and sets aside a weekend. By Sunday night, she’s only on the third cabinet and she feels frustrated. Then she gets mad; mad at the book, which she throws behind the bed, and mad at herself for not being able to get this project done.

Her anger really comes from trying to achieve a goal with an impossible timeline. Even if you’ve got a team of people dragging all your stuff into the driveway for you to make rapid fire decisions on, you’re still not going to finish in a weekend.

Olivia’s goal also may not be realistic because of other time and energy commitments. She’s bound to feel angry if she never has a spare hour to go through that back closet.

To avoid sin: Be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing your best and that perfectionism is your enemy. Do no compare yourself to others, especially people on TV shows! You have your own unique talents, energy levels, working styles and preferences.

Declutter the Digital

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2008-01-17 12:27:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Rule of thumb: it’s easier to organize things when there are fewer of them.

How often do you look through a folder or collection of digital photographs and find only a handful that you want to show to anyone? The rest are too dark, out of focus, more versions of the same thing, make you look fat, or you have no idea why you even took them. If you get rid of them now, it’ll be easier to find the ones you like and share them.

Next time you download your camera, really look at each photo and decide whether you want to keep it. This is also the ideal time to tag your photos so you can find them again by keyword. If you’re making the effort to tag them, the pictures should be worth keeping.

Tags can be very straightforward, such as names of people in the picture, where it was taken, what the occasion was, etc. Also, think about what else is good about the picture, or why else you might want to look at it or share it with others. Is there a fantastic sunset in the background? Is it similar to other pictures you’ve taken in the past (and might want to compare it with)? Is the mood calm or energetic? Do you want to remember what camera and settings you used?

Pitch those Pix
I know, you’ve got plenty of space on your hard drive. But think of decluttering your photo collection as a good-habit building exercise. Review all your possessions regularly and get rid of the ones that don’t fit, are beyond repair, have been replaced by something better, are ugly or you don’t like anymore. If you can make this a habit, you will automatically declutter your life. Automatic is good!

Goals vs. Tasks

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2007-10-04 10:26:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

You need both goals and tasks, and they’re easy to confuse. A big reason that people don’t get things on their to do list done isn’t that they procrastinate, but that the list entries aren’t really do-able.

Does your to do list look like this?

  • Design the book
  • Increase sales this month
  • Find an accountant

These are actually all goals, not tasks. A goal is reached via a series of tasks. Once you identify a goal you need to figure out what the first thing to do is. Do that, then figure out the next thing. And so on.

Here’s a real to do list based on the list above:

  • Narrow color schemes down to 2 choices and create palettes
  • Contact top three clients this week and remind them of the new products
  • Ask Maya and Rob if they can recommend an accountant

Notice that to do’s are much more specific. They are active, they have deadlines and they involve particular people. As soon as they’re done, they’re replaced by the next logical step, for example, schedule a meeting to present the color schemes, or follow up the client calls with mailed brochures.

If something is languishing on your list for weeks on end, it might be a goal. To find out, just ask yourself, well, how do I design the book?  You know the answer already; you just need to put that on the list instead.

Get a Deadline

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2010-03-17 15:45:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Calendar At a presentation I did the other day, one of the participants came up with a great way to manage her time better: get a deadline. Someone had asked her for information and she wasn't willing to take time from her own work to give it right away. However, she didn't want to leave the person hanging either. If she knew when the info was needed by, she could work it into her schedule and not let it interrupt her.

Be proactive and give deadlines yourself. Make it easier for others to help you by letting them know exactly what you need and when you need it.

Where Does Clutter Come From?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2012-05-08 10:40:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Clutter comes from many sources; a primary one is what we call delayed decision making.

That’s when things pile up because you haven’t made a decision to move them on to their next stop: being put away, thrown away, taken to the cleaners, returned to their owner, tossed in the Goodwill bag, shredded, mailed back or foisted off on someone else.

Work in progress Clutter can also come from projects in progress.

It’s understandable to want to leave everything out until you finish whatever you’re working on, but if you’re working on more than one thing at once and you’ve got the kitchen table, the dining table, your desk and the living room coffee table covered with projects, there’s no room to eat dinner or set down a tea cup.

Here’s how to combat this problem:

  • Make it easy to put things away
  • Get in the habit of putting things away
  • Embrace the idea of completion

Make it easy to put things away by getting a box or special
case (for jewelry making, for example) to keep your project supplies in. Use a
container if the place you work is different from the place you store
the supplies so you can easily carry them back there. Or set aside some
space on a bookshelf or in a drawer in the room you work in to stash
your project.

Get in the habit of putting things away by remembering and visualizing
how you want the space to look when you’re not working. Think of
putting things away as setting them up for your next session.

These techniques make tidying feel like a positive and beneficial activity, rather than a big drag that you want to avoid.

Completion means that even if your project is unfinished, you still put things away after each session of working on it. Don’t rely on seeing your stuff out on the table to remind you to finish. If you’re busy and have several projects going, that kind of reminder just doesn’t work. It often has the opposite effect; to make you feel guilty that you haven’t finished!

For each session there are three steps: get out your supplies, work on the project, put everything away. Don’t stop after step two!

Keep Tabs on Your Credit

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2008-02-26 09:36:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Recently, I got a brochure in the mail about identify theft from the Federal Trade Commission. It reminded me that it’s time for my yearly request for free credit reports.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that all three of the major credit reporting agencies offer free credit reports to everyone once a year. It’s a good thing to do, to make sure no one has taken out a loan or applied for credit in your name, and to make sure the information they have regarding your accounts is correct. They’ve even created a website where you can get all three at once. There is a maze of menus to get through, but it’s worth it. You’re also entitled to a free report anytime you are denied credit.

The brochure also reminded me, and I will remind you:

  • Shred any documents with sensitive financial or identity information on them
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number unless you have to. On request, most entities will issue you an alternative identification number
  • Don’t click through any email links regarding your finances or identity!

This last point bears repeating. Just don’t ever do it! Your bank, your credit card company and everyone else you do business with will tell you that they’ll never ask you for sensitive information, nor to update your account via email. Believe them! Many otherwise intelligent people I know have fallen for this.

If you’re still curious about an email link, just visit the sender’s website yourself by opening your browser and typing their address manually into the address bar. Log in to your account and see if there are any messages for you. That’s the failsafe way to do it.

Tip for Purging Email

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2010-03-09 16:18:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dump truck I admit it, there are tons of unattended to emails in my inbox. The vast majority of it is reading. I'll probably never get to it, but I don't mind it being there. The rest is threads about events or plans that needed some back and forth before getting resolved.

Just going backwards in time is a slow and unappealing way to find emails to delete. Sorting your email by subject first and then by sender will give you two distinct sets of emails that will already be grouped in nice, tossable chunks. You'll get all the emails about the long passed "January 10 meeting" or all the ones from Ellen Campbell. 

If I do start getting rid of my "to read" emails, I can easily sort those by sender too and decide to dump all but the most recent few months, in hopes that I might actually spend time reading them.

Lots of people love email folders but I don't. I use a few for archiving (i.e., things I may never look at again but it there's a slight chance I will) and that's it. When I tried using folders, I'd forget for long periods of time that they existed, and happily got along without them.

How do you decide what to unload from your email inbox? What about folders? Yea or nay?

Dump truck from @cdharrison's photostream