Technology and your Tendency – part 1 (work)

I follow a podcast, Best of Both Worlds, that I recommend especially if you’re a full-time working mother who works at a workplace, not at home. Let’s face it – most podcasts (or most that I listen to) are hosted by either SAHMs or WAHMs whose time is a lot more flexible.

Sarah wanted a podcast that more represented her life so she started one (very Upholder-ish) with Laura.

On this episode, they discuss the role of technology in their lives and ask some really great questions, both on Instagram and in the blog post:

My technology philosophy

  1. I’m a big Dr Phil fan (even though I last watched an episode when I was on maternity leave 8 years ago!) and because I believe that “you teach others how to treat you”, I believe that you need to communicate your preferences to the outside world.
  2. I also believe that if you respect your time, so will others. The reverse is also true. If you don’t respect your own time, why would others respect yours? If you’ve heard me speak, no doubt I’ve said this during my talk 🙂
  3. Design your life around priorities, and then let the other bits fill up your time. No surprise here.
  4. Technology is a tool so to my mind, that means I am still the master. I love technology – I love that I can FaceTime my friend in Dallas at the start of her day and the end of mine, and I love Whatsapp Audio for podcast club.

Technology at work

I work in a highly email culture. Even if I talk to a client about something, I have to follow it up with an email, and then save that email in a client folder on a shared drive.

This is life in a highly regulated industry and doesn’t bother me at all.

I don’t feel the need to have my work emails come through to my phone unless I’m at a seminar/ client meeting and therefore out of the office for more than say, two hours at a time.

Once I’m back in the office, I turn off those emails.

Then, when my out of office assistant is turned on, I specify that if something is urgent, to call or text me.

(to date, I’ve had maybe 10 messages and I’ve worked at this company for over 3 years)

I don’t mind texts/ Whatsapps from clients if I’m away from the office but as a means to chase up an email, I simply don’t respond. I will then respond to the client’s email in the usual manner (and I don’t even reference the Whatsapp).

Can you tell that I’m an Upholder yet? 🙂

I have a Questioner colleague who blocks clients once they whatsapp her. As she said to me, why would they want to do that if our official communication method is email or phone?

I will take work calls from 7:30 ish to about 6 – 6:30 if I know we’re working on something urgent. Otherwise I just don’t answer my phone.

I am very reliable, hardworking, etc. and very prompt so it’s never necessary to chase me up, and I think I’ve trained my clients to expect that I will get back to them as soon as I can.

I don’t make friends with people I work with on Facebook. I had some very inappropriate comments made about my Facebook activity many years ago by a work person so that’s it – I blocked, unfriended and unfollowed this person.

What is the role of technology in your life? How do you relate to it in a work context? And how do you see this linking up with your Tendency?

I love to talk about this stuff – please ask questions in the comments!

Part 2 will be published next week – if you know your tendency and especially if you’re a Rebel or a Questioner, please email me and tell me everything, if you’re so inclined. It will really help me flesh out my next post.

What I learned when I had no internet

My internet service provider gave notice to all its customers and, long story short, we went with a new one but cancelled during the cooling-off period due to terrible service. Signed up with another and we have wifi again 🙂

During this time, I could use data on my phone but it’s so, so expensive that I tried not to revert to my phone and just do without.

I learned so many things during the month:

  1. I slept a lot more. My average sleep time for September is 7 hrs 46 vs 7 hours 25 for August.
  2. Life was very quiet on the friendship front too. I realised I make quite a few whatsapp audio calls and also couldn’t Facetime with a friend I normally have a monthly date with.
  3. I read a lot more than I usually do. I read 13 books in September. My average is 10 books a month, but in August I only read 8.
  4. I got a lot of organising done in the house – my wardrobes, kids’ wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, etc. And much pottering!
  5. The photos were completely up to date. Absolutely up to date. I don’t think I’ve ever been that up to date before 🙂
  6. I learned that my cell phone provider offers a free Instagram day every 6 days, and free Facebook every 6 days too. Those were the days I scrolled a lot, and on other days I used data to get on Instagram to post, and then I got off.
  7. I downloaded podcasts at work to listen to in the car.

Of course, I’ve made up for all that non-wifi time but I’m very conscious now that when I choose to scroll Instagram, I’m choosing not to go for a walk, read, sleep or get stuff done on my list.

Have you had a period of non-internet time? What did you get done during that time?

Have you considered going phone-free every week or month?

PS I heard on a podcast about Andrea Lucado (Max Lucado’s daughter) who takes the weekend off social media every week. It feels quite radical and strangely freeing too 🙂

PPS there’s another person (whose name escapes me) who takes the last week of every month off!

Does the thought of going offline feel freeing or terrifying?

 

Mental nourishment in the form of unplugging

My year of happy project is nourish, and for me, a huge part of nourish is making sure you’re in a place where you feel mentally and emotionally nourished.

Today let’s talk about social media 🙂

If you’re on any of the social media platforms, you’ll regularly hear your friends/ followers mention that the noise is too much.

The social media noise, that is.

We’re all aware of Facebook envy, where you imagine that people’s lives are the sum total of their updates, because nobody posts about the flip side of the coin, real life.

Instagram has made it a little worse for some people, I’d imagine, with beautiful pictures of families, homes, baking, and so on.

I remember when we went on a beach holiday, scrolling through my phone pictures, I’d see both Instagram-worthy photos (the beach…) and also the moments between Instagrams, like time outs and laundry day craziness.

The truth is I’ve never really felt like I needed to unplug because I try to live life on my own terms and not compare myself to others… and I feel relatively well balanced.

You see, I set up some boundaries for myself years ago which are now very firmly entrenched habits:

  1. I like to be more of a contributor than a consumer on social media. If I’m on a particular site, it’s first to contribute (post, photo, etc.) and then to consume (check other people’s pretty pics and status updates).
  2. I also use social media to connect with people. So if I scroll through my feed and see something I enjoy, whether a post or a photo, I’m probably going to comment or “like” that snippet. I want people to know I’m reading, watching and enjoying catching up with them, no matter how superficial.
  3. And of course, being a time management coach, I do have very firm time boundaries for myself.

Also, very old-fashioned of me, but I actually still use Pinterest for my original reasons, storing bookmarks and websites I may want to reference again, and of late, as a search engine for pretty things.

I have, in the past, prayed and felt like I couldn’t hear very well because my brain felt too cluttered.

I sensed then that I should take a bit of a social media fast to clear my head a bit.

Since I didn’t feel that it was completely necessary to not have any involvement, I did a “light version”:

  • I blogged in advance for the week ahead.
  • No internet at night after supper. Night times were now reserved for cooking, husband and kids, gym, photos, prayer and Bible reading and other projects… like the good old days!
  • When I’m at work, I only read blogs while eating my lunch so if I could only read and comment on three blogs during that time, then so be it.

What were the results?

  1. I got a ton of things done around the house.
  2. I heard a lot from God – I journalled too so I wouldn’t forget it all.
  3. I felt calmer and more peaceful.
  4. There was more time so I slept more during that week. My usual was 7 hours back then and I was getting in 7.5 – 8 hours daily.
  5. Of course my Feedly had about 200 items in it (I was subscribed to about 75 blogs) and I unsubscribed from a few feeds, the ones where I wasn’t even slightly tempted to do some catch-up reading.

I still don’t think I’ll do it very often but I think I’m sold on doing at least a quarterly social media fast.

What about you?

How do you think this could benefit your life?

Is it time to do a social media fast?

 

PS I’ve even heard of someone who does one every weekend, and another who does a week once a month. If you’d like to chat about getting help with your own time boundaries, contact me.

Memory-keeping: the system that works for me

Since this month is a month I want to focus on relationships, I thought I’d write one post to show you all about my memory-keeping, and at least I can then link to this one instead of the 5 or so on the blog 🙂

Cutouts

  1. I take tons of photos on both my camera and iphone, and use photos from both devices for my albums. I’m still partial to my big camera (Canon) but life is much easier with my iphone 6 since the quality of the photos is so magnificent. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. And I add, keep your big camera out so you’re more likely to use it.
  2. I do a 52-week photo project of the kids. This is my third year.
  3. I then choose 4 pics per child per month, and 4 pics of them together. Because I take so many photos, I purposefully choose images for that are not from our 52 project pics. One day soon, I’ll just print the 52 photos for our album but that day has not arrived yet. These limitations have given me a lot of freedom.
  4. Then I do project life. Here’s how I used to do it and here’s how I now do it.
  5. The key to successful memory-keeping is being realistic about time and money.
  6. And here’s where I talk more about money because all of this stuff costs money so the key is to think about what will work for you.

How do you preserve your family’s memories?

What have you found is the most realistic method for you, both in terms of time and money?

If this is one of your goals for the year, join me for monthly accountability coaching to get your things done this year!

So I did a social media fast

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I’ve only done a social media fast once before, about 3 years ago.

I can’t remember exactly what my restrictions were then, but I do remember not blogging or reading blogs was one of the big things.

This time I just had a sense that I needed to stop the noise for a bit and use that time to pray.

And then our church just finished a celebration week called #nationscalledtoprayer which inspired me to get going.

I chatted to a friend who agreed to do it with me but I would have gone the distance alone too (I’m an Upholder, remember?).

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Some of my self-imposed rules:

  • only allowed to post to Instagram and reply to my own posts’ comments
  • no random Facebook scrolling
  • I don’t do twitter or snapchat or any of those other things
  • no blogging – both posting and reading – I had two posts scheduled
  • no non-Christian podcasts
  • no fiction; only allowed to read the Bible and non-fiction Christian (more on this later)
  • email was allowed

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Here are some of the things I learned over the week:

  1. When I posted on Monday morning, I asked for prayer requests. As these came in, I wrote them down in my bullet journal and prayed over them faithfully every day. I’m still taking prayer requests and I won’t stop praying for your situations. I honestly felt privileged to pray and while prayer is not really my thing, I love praying for others. I prayed a lot for rain (it rained twice!).
  2. I’m a more engaged mother, wife, friend, colleague when I’m not seeing my phone blinking at me. No surprise.
  3. I read some hard bits in the Bible that spoke to some things I’m going through. I learned that I need to be unplugged to hear some things clearly.
  4. I have to leave my phone to charge outside my bedroom every single night (I’d got lazy over the months). It’s amazing how focussed you are with reading when there isn’t a blinking phone to distract you.
  5. By the same token, life is better when I leave my phone in my bag when at work. One day I worked from home, my computer was having trouble connecting to my work emails but my phone was working, so I was answering work emails on my phone. And if you saw comments or “accidental” likes on your posts, it probably happened that day 😮
  6. I loved checking in with my friend to encourage and be encouraged by her. We spoke twice last week, and whatsapped daily, and emailed a couple of times. All of this was great to keep us both on track and remind us both to stay focussed.
  7. It was hard for me to see my podcasts piling up……. but awesome to get up to date with my photos.
  8. There’s so much time without social media. Seriously, hours and hours in the evening. I practised my Spanish, cooked, ate, and then there were still 3 – 4 hours left before sleep.
  9. I felt like while I connected less on social media, I connected more fully when I did engage with people whether in person, on the telephone or even via whatsapp.
  10. I really need to be reading fiction. My usual routine is to start a book on a Thursday night, just enough to whet my appetite for my weekend reading. On Friday I could no longer resist and I started a book which felt all the sweeter because I hadn’t read any fiction for 4 whole days 🙂 To make up for my lapse, I made sure to finish my non-fiction book on the weekend.

That’s it.

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Will I do it again?

Undoubtedly. It was one of the most fun weeks I’ve had this year, a wonderful time of sharing with my friend and a great time of praying for other people.

In fact, I think I want to do something like this for a couple of days a month but

How might I change things?

Next time I will allow myself some fiction reading daily so I don’t binge when I start (I read that book in about 6 hours flat).

Have you ever done a social media fast? What were some of your restrictions?

One year on Instagram

I remembered last week but then completely forgot that on Wednesday 18th May my Organising Queen Instagram feed turned ONE.

(yes, it’s a thing)

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My first picture was of two notebooks (of course!) and Instaport is not co-operating so I’m not able to show you right now.

Anyway, these are the 3 posts with the most likes: (I’m pleased to see my floors featuring :))

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And these are the 3 posts with the most comments:

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This year I have 3 main goals for my Instagram:

  1. to increase engagement (that means I want you to talk back) both on Instagram and on the blog
  2. double my followers
  3. keep my content pretty and, most of all, inspiring

What would you like to see on the Organising Queen instagram?

PS next big date is 25 May, anniversary date of my book 

 

The highlights of the Organising Queen month

Happy Leap Day!

Dion and Marcia - Ireland 120

Dion and our friend, Craig – Leap, Ireland (May 2008)

And now a round-up of highlights this month…

Top 3 posts

I know how she does it

My 5 favourite stationery finds

Kids and toy clutter – I re-read my post and I love it even more after writing it 🙂

Top 3 Instagrams

The pictures in this post 🙂

I still want to do a post on the Christmas cards – do comment and let me know what your policies are.

Most commented on

This one

 

Saving you money

My R600 mistake

Saving you time

Using social media time for your hobbies

Putting you first

Make your life easier

Most useful post for me to write

How I Konmari’d my nail polish

 

PS bonus points for the first one who can tell me the company that slogan was used for – no googling 🙂

Which was your favourite post this month?

How to print Instagram photos (on the cheap)

Late last year I decided that I wanted to print my Instagrams for the year. I investigated a lot of options but they were all too expensive (for me) – maybe you don’t mind paying that much… I do.

So I googled a bit and eventually mished and mashed a few things together, and this is now my system that works REALLY well.

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Export your photos from IG via www.instaport.me. I only do this once a month, except when I first started and I had nearly a whole year to work through.

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Extract from zip file (open the zip, copy all and paste into your folder)

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Make sure they’re sorting themselves by date order.

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Open Picasa and all your photos will fly in (it really does :))

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Select all the ones you want in batches of 6 – I really do aim for one print a day (best I’ve done is probably 48 over a month). Collage each batch of 6 in a grid format to print in a 10 X 15 size. (6 squares make a standard 10 X 15 – I had to experiment a lot)

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Print and put in your album.

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Cost?

I bought this 200-page album at CNA for R90 last year. They now go for about R130. It will comfortably last at least 2 years.

Prints are R4,50 each at my local print shop. I love the quality so I pay more. If I’m printing more than 50, I get a discount per print. The last batch cost me R3,80 each because I printed 60.

I end up with about 10 every month which is at most R45….. and R540 for the year. As with most things, doing this on a monthly basis means it is very affordable.

All in all, you’re looking at R600 per year – R50 a month. Much cheaper than any of the places that print instagrams.

But if you’re looking for only a few select instagrams instead of a “book” concept as I was, then by all means, please use the specialist instagram printers.

How to print from Instagram | www.organisingqueen.com

Do you print your Instagram photos?

Have you done a book? Or do you print individual prints?

What does your system look like?

{For bloggers} How I organise photos for my blog posts

My process with photos is to download into folders, process the folder and right there and then, compress the photos and post them to a draft blog.

However, this wasn’t working so well because I’d forget that I had all these draft posts and in the moment, sometimes I’d get sidetracked and start messing around in the blog when I was supposed to be organising photos.

So as of this year, I decided I’d split my processes and create a “to blog” folder.

I still use Picasa for my photo editing (cropping out errant arms and legs :)), highlight the ones I want and click on email. It compresses them automatically like magic. You can choose the size of the compressed image by clicking Tools, Options, Email and then selecting the size you want.

I then highlight the photos, click copy and paste them into a new folder within my To Blog folder.

Fullscreen capture 20140508 124707 PMLet’s look at one of those folders…

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Once I’ve blogged the particular set of photos, I delete the whole folder because the originals are still in my original monthly folders.

And if I blog a couple of photos from my Everyday moments folder, I simply delete those til the entire folder is empty, and then start again. Easy-peasy.

Fullscreen capture 20140508 124829 PMThis is so easy and makes it so simple for me to know exactly how many posts I have to do, I can’t think why I didn’t do it like this sooner!

Hopefully this will help one or two of you.

Otherwise, what’s your best photo organising tip?

{Mission} Tidying your online spaces

I’ve spent a couple of hours tidying up the blog a bit.

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When I had my blog makeover last year, a few things got lost in the switch and I never made the time to fix it all properly.

But that was one of my goals for this year – to tidy up the blog, especially the sidebars that were annoying me way too much. Like the missing search button that I also use when people ask me for things that I know I’ve blogged before.

(I actually have lots of online places to tidy up – I started with Pinterest a few weeks back, my website is also on my list to update testimonials and so on)

So, the place is neater and hopefully more organised but please do me a favour and poke around – sidebars, menu bar, etc.

Tell me if there’s a corner I forgot to clean 🙂 and I’ll get right on it.

Thank you and happy weekend!

Do you need to tidy up your online presence a bit? Polish your bios and profiles on social media?

Next up… the kids’ blog 🙂

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