March recap and in-progress projects

Wow, this month was something else.

I haven’t been as overwhelmed with work in a long, long time as I have been this month.

Picture this – working on a Friday and telling yourself, I’m now up to date with last Monday’s work (almost two weeks behind). Basically that kind of thing times ten. As you know, I’m an ESTJ, enneagram 1, and an upholder, so you now know this being behind business doesn’t sit well with me at all.

I’m not out of the woodwork yet – who knows when that will happen? – but I set myself 5 mini work goals and I achieved those, so I’m feeling satisfied with some progress at least.

I’m planning to do exactly the same every month so that even though things are crazy, I can still feel somewhat accomplished. I’m also sleeping well and exercising to take care of my body, and of course, doing all my tricks.

exhausted and depleted!

On the whole, if I look at my entire life, not just work, it was still a good month, but it didn’t feel that way, largely because we spend so much time at work.

There were many life-giving things though – books read (more on this next week), house projects, connections with friends and family, and lots of fun. And at the risk of being superficial, I got my hair done and coloured this month, so that is awesome, if expensive!

Have you downloaded the monthly review sheet from my site yet? It has 6 questions and an “on a scale of 1 – 10, this month was a ____” to help you review your month.

You can write one word answers or a whole paragraph – it’s completely up to you.

You don’t even have to use the printable if you want; simply copy the questions into your bullet journal.

I honestly find it to be one of the most helpful tools I’ve ever created, and I want you to enjoy using it too. I’m focusing on a different question each month in these blog posts although I do the full review privately.

One of the questions on the printable is Do I have any in-progress projects?

This month my in-progress projects are:

  1. tons of work things (there is literally not one client who is completely up to date with everything). To that end, my mantra is “I let go of the need to be completely up to date, and to process all client requests according to my self-imposed, currently hugely unrealistic deadlines”)
  2. insurance claim for a leak in my house due to heavy storms a week ago
  3. getting us all into a new nanny schedule (we’ve reduced her hours)
  4. sell table, etc.
  5. weeding in garden!

I am thrilled that all the upstairs painting is done. The rooms spark joy every time I walk into them. This feeling is what I need to focus on when I think of the mess of painting!

What are your in-progress projects? House? Life? Personal?

3 ways to Konmari your digital life

You all know I’m a big fan of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

And I know exactly why she calls it life-changing – because then you start thinking of every area of your life in terms of sparking joy.

I have on my list to write about Konmari-ing your to-dos but for today, I want to talk about Konmari-ing your digital life!

Because we can’t see digital clutter as obviously as we can see physical clutter, we often don’t realise it’s there but believe me, it’s still affecting you, especially with distraction and overwhelm.

When you open your inbox, you feel drained at the sight of all those emails, your computer runs slow because there’s so many photos on there and when you go into Instagram, you can’t believe how much some people post because you were on just this morning and your feed is full again.

Sound familiar?

Let’s look at 3 places where you can Konmari digitally and then add some joy into your life again:

1. Free printable downloads

We women like free things, don’t we? As a result, we download anything and everything we can find that’s for free. If it’s free, it’s got to be good, right?

Actually, it’s not all good. Not only are you cluttering up your computer but you can’t possibly use all the things that are out there because we now live in an information-overload society.

I’m not immune. At one point I had about 6 different grocery shopping lists on my computer, all of them free downloads.

What I do these days is honestly ask if I’m going to use something. If not, I don’t even download. And when I clear out my document folders, I ask myself if that cute printable really sparks joy. If not, I delete.

Also, here is your permission to delete my free stuff too if it no longer serves you. I know it works for me but we’re all different.

2. Emails and email notifications

My organizing clients need help with email more than any other thing in their office, and paper’s a close second. That’s because email’s so fast and because we don’t use it correctly.

Get familiar with the delete key (my favourite key on my physical and phone keyboard) and start deleting. Delete immediately once you’ve replied to an email and don’t file unless you absolutely have to. Sometimes you need to keep an attachment but not the email.

If you’re trying to save money or (as in my case) not buy books, unsubscribe from all the deals emails. If you really need to know about something, trust that it will still come your way (like through Instagram stories, in my case!)

Something I personally do is delete from and send quick replies “thanks for the payment” on my phone, but I answer emails that need longer responses from a computer.

Disable all the notifications from Facebook, Instagram and the like. I only get friend requests, messages and notes on my wall in my inbox. The rest I’ll see when I log on once a week or so. I’ve long disabled Facebook and Messenger from my phone – best decision ever.

Here again, decide on your comfort level for emails and make sure you process until you feel joy again. For me at work, that’s when I can view all my emails on one screen.

3. Instagram

How many people are you following on Instagram? Are you aware of how long you take to read all of those posts every day? Do you set a limit for yourself or is it only the upholders among us?

I’m as guilty as you are even though my Instagram use has shortened dramatically over the last two years.

Just this weekend, the same thing popped up from a number of people in my feed.

Stop scrolling through everyone else’s lives and run the race set before you – Christine Caine

Take some time to go through and declutter the feeds of those you tend to skim over. Get to know your comfort number. I still try to create before I consume any content but yes, it’s hard, especially when you’re tired.

I read another great quote on Lara Casey’s site last year – “idleness … is different than truly resting”. Often we tell ourselves that we’re resting but really, when we’re done scrolling Instagram, do we feel truly rested?

I feel like this is just the start of an Instagram conversation because I have More Thoughts but please tell me how you feel about Instagram.

What are your biggest battles? Do you use it to escape or when you’re bored? Or is it true inspiration, connection time with friends, or build your business time?

Your coaching challenge for this week should you take me up on it is to work on one of these three areas, and come tell me in the comments which you’ll do, and give us feedback when you’re done.

What energised me in January?

Well, we’re four weeks into the year and it’s time for the first monthly review of 2018.

I know, I can hardly believe it myself.

What I’ve decided to do differently this year is to focus on a different question on my monthly review sheet (do you have yours yet? Sign up here to get your copy) and share that one question with you here.

If I get tired of doing it that way, I will stop now that I know about upholder tightening 🙂

So let’s get to it. For the record, there are 6 journaling-type questions and then the “on a scale of 1 – 10, this month was a ____”. I’ve printed the two-page PDF as is if I want it in A4, and if I want to glue/ washi tape it into my bullet journal, I print using the horizontal setting in Adobe so that it prints in A5 size. Like the pic at the top. Get your copy here.

Interestingly, I often find that my number changes if I write down the number first before doing the proper work of unravelling the month.

What energised me this month?

This is a new question I’ve added to my review sheet after I heard an episode of The Next Right Thing where she talked about life-giving and life-draining lists.

  • holidays with amazing views and cold, mountain air

I posted some of those views on Instagram and they were truly soul-nourishing. I also loved the cooler weather for most of the holiday, and even on the hot days, the mornings were cool for a couple of hours.

  • book club

We read a book called The hate u give this month and the book discussion was lively with varied opinions.

  • reading many, many books

I’m in the middle of 3 books right now but I’ve already reached my goal for the month. One notable energizer was a re-read (or rather, a listen to) The Happiness Project. When I read it 6 years ago, I gave it 4*; this time when I listened, it got 5*. Truly fantastic.

  • times of connection with my family

take four people out of Joburg and have nothing but nature, board games, outdoor games and you have some really good family time.

  • friend dates

besides book club, I managed to have 3 friend dates this month which always energise me.

and it wouldn’t be my blog if I wasn’t 100% honest with you – doing a full and thorough review of 2017 and setting goals for 2018 energised me so much. Now I’m ready for the year ahead 🙂

What energised you this month?

If you care to share, did anything drain you?

3 kinds of lists for your bullet journal

Do you know what I’m really excited about these days? It’s how bullet journalling has made it cool and trendy to write things down 🙂

When you write things down, it frees your mind for more big picture thinking and you don’t have to worry too much about the details because they’re written down so they’re not disappearing anywhere.

Here are 3 types of lists you could use to help manage your time effectively. You can make the lists in your bullet journal or download them from my website.

Master to-do list

1. Master list
This is a place for a “brain dump”, a place for ideas you might want to pursue in the future or possible projects you need to tackle.

You can work off one master list for months, like I do with my business or blogging ideas.

I also have a master list of things to do in the house. I write up a new list every year and I work on that list the entire year.

To-do list

2. To-do list
This list can be monthly, weekly or daily. I post a weekend to-do list to Instagram every weekend.

The difference between this list and the master list is that this one has a time deadline attached to it.

I have a monthly to-do list, which is really my monthly goals list. I keep this one with broad goals like go to the gym 8 – 12 times, a weekly to-do list with about 3-5 business tasks to get done and then my daily to-do list which spreads out those 5 tasks so that I have only 1 or so to do daily.

Sometimes 1 task is very big and takes a couple of days so I’ll leave a couple of smaller ones to do all on one day.

I want to caution you to only put a maximum of 6 items on your daily to-do list so you don’t become overwhelmed!

My checklist to live my best life

3. Checklist
This is a place with a list of items which you check/ tick off.

This list is ideal for anything you need to do regularly, like the order in which you do your photo backups, a list of weekly business tasks, travel checklist, shopping list, etc.

My favourite checklist used to be my “newsletter” checklist which walked me through a process of ensuring I repurposed every bit of the content I create. These days, the one above is my favourite checklist 🙂

Once you start using the correct list for the task at hand, you’ll be flying!

You can download a variety of lists in the free pack on my website.

Do you prefer to print out your lists or to write them into your bullet journal?

And… everybody gets planning and calendaring freebies!

Hi friends

I have three things to tell you about:

1. If you haven’t yet downloaded your Let’s Do This guide for 2017 (a super simple way to close off 2016 and start 2017 on the right foot), you can get your free copy here.

2. Then, I made an intentional calendar for 2017.

Pages: 1 2

3 quick things, one of which is the end of an era

Happy Human Rights Day!

  1. Well friends, tomorrow will be exactly 10 years since I first registered the domain takechargesolutions.org and it’s also the first time I’m not renewing that domain.

Instead I’ve bought marciafrancois.org and everything has been transferred over there.

So goodbye, old friend 🙂

Fullscreen capture 20160321 034510 PM-001

2. Many of you know that friendship is very important to me and as such, I like to be very intentional about connecting with my friends.

I wrote about how I have a friends spreadsheet here to help me get organised.

Tomorrow I’m sending out a copy of that spreadsheet to those who are on the list.

If you’d like a copy, make sure you’re signed up 🙂

Se7en

3. And last but not least, I want to highlight my one organising book, Live Organised. This is a very practical guide to getting and staying organised, and because we’ve been messing around with all the website pages, it’s now only $5. Boom 🙂

Get yourself a copy and be spurred into action. Thank you for your support.

What are you doing this Human Rights Day?

PS We’ve been grocery shopping, done cleaning, prepared our books for the Se7en library project, and I’ve done the budget while the kids coloured/ did wordsearch, etc.

3 different versions of end-of-year reviews and new year planning

I like to keep things simple but I also like to do things thoroughly, so I tend to take bits here and there, and piece together my own version for whatever I need.

For the last couple of years, I’ve taken 3 different systems and worked through all of them.

Let it never be said I don’t take my goal-setting process seriously 🙂

  1. Let’s Do This guide

This one is mine and I featured it on Monday. Get it for free here.

If you don’t really like goals, intentions and so on, this is the simplest one I’ve found 🙂 If you do no other review, please do this one.

2. Unravelling the year ahead 2016

This one is by Susannah Conway. 33 pages of comprehensive reviewing of the year behind and unravelling the year ahead.

I take this one to a coffee shop (by myself!) and complete it the old-fashioned way, with a gel pen.

She also has a calendar at the post I linked to, and a free “find your one word” course if you don’t know how to choose your word.

3. Amazing Life Workbook

This one is not a freebie and in fact, that is my affiliate link and I will earn a commission if you purchase yours through this site (thanks for your support). I use this one for my comprehensive planning.

Can I tell you a secret? Most years I fill the thing in in Dec/ Jan and leave it doing nothing for 3 months, when I check in for quarterly planning. Even just doing that is so worthwhile because you’ve set your goals for each area of your life properly and become intentional about your year ahead.

Gentle reminder – Leonie is into things like oracle readings but I just pull out those pages (I think there are only 2 pages I pull out every year but since I haven’t started mine yet, I can’t say for sure) and I’m good to go.

 

The one thing all 3 of us agree about is this:

You have to properly review and look back on the current year before you can embrace the year ahead.

Have you done your 2015 review yet?

Free 2016 goals pack

It’s that time of the year (my favourite time!) when we talk goals, intentions, word of the year and other such good things.

I’ve updated my goals pack and it will be sent to you automatically when you sign up to my new mailing list.

 

2016 Let's do these goals | www.organisingqueen.com

I like to print it in booklet form – it saves paper and is cuter 🙂

Subscribe to my mailing list




2016 Let's do these goals | www.organisingqueen.com

If you haven’t yet signed up, what are you waiting for?

The best thing about this is the 2015 review because you can’t move forward til you take stock…

Share this blog link with a friend and make a date to virtually work on them together.

PS for much more detailed how-to on goals, you have 4 days left to grab my goals products before I close the store. Here you go – discount code CLOSINGDOWN gets you 50% off.

{Free printable} 2015 organising plan

Are you ready to do some light planning?

I’m a big fan of setting very realistic expectations rather than be disappointed by a big list.

Baby steps work!

I made a form for us all to plan our organising projects for the year. You’ll get it immediately together with your time management pack when you sign up for the mailing list right here.

How I’m using it:

  1. When I do my monthly goals planning at the beginning of the month, I simply add a few (three) organising projects to this list.
  2. For this month, these are bigger projects than I’d normally add to my list (I prefer to add projects only I need to do) but it is the beginning of the year so it’s time.
  3. After January, I’ll simply do one project every weekend with one weekend to rest 🙂

January’s a good time to:

  1. Back up your computer
  2. Take the photos off your iphone
  3. Set some intentions or goals for the year
  4. Declutter your kids’ toys
  5. Go through your clothes
  6. Set up a menu plan system for the year

What’s on your list for January?

Free Printable – Christmas planner

I’m sending out this month’s printable in 30 minutes but don’t worry, even if you subscribe a little late, it will be included with your welcome pack for the next month.

free Christmas planner | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Christmas in Africa 🙂

We’re early with this one purely because I think the earlier you start, the better off you will be.

With Christmas, of course.

When you download it, please remember…

Just because someone creates a printable doesn’t mean you have to use all of it, or even any of it.

I don’t want you to feel any pressure. Okay?

Now, please tell me the ONE main thing you want from Christmas this year.

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