Lovely things to do this year

I have some routines I like to do around my birthday every year which I thought I’d talk about and link to, so that you can be reminded to do them too, if you’re so inclined.

If your birthday’s at a completely different time of year, put a link to this post in your calendar, a week or so before or after your birthday.

If you’re reading on a mobile device like an iphone, tap the square with an arrow pointing up, copy and paste the link into your calendar.

Here’s my annual birthday routine:

1. Organise a celebration. I believe that every year on this earth is a blessing so I like to celebrate my birthday every year.

2. Do a birthday review. This year I changed one or two questions but the main 4 questions are the same as my monthly review: what worked well, what didn’t work well, what did I learn, what do I need to let go of?

As a reader mentioned in the comments last year, it is a brave thing to do, to face up to things may not have consciously considered, but it’s always good to take an honest assessment of things. If you need some hand holding as you do this work, please book a coaching session with me.

3. Make a list of lovely things to do this year. This is purely a fun list 🙂

I put things on this list like books I’ve always wanted to read, restaurants to try, fun things to do like take a photowalk with a friend to take photos of the jacarandas, things I want to do with Dion or the kids, and recipes I’ve wanted to try.

So far on my list I have to (finally) buy new frames because I’ve had my current frames for about 3 – 4 years (lenses have changed, but I kept the frames).

I also have some fun books I want to read, and I think I finally need to read the Total Money Makeover. I also want to listen to Andre Agassi’s Open.

Keep checking my Instagram because I’ll be sure to post my list when it’s done.

I have a friend who schedules a massage on her birthday, another who always takes a day’s leave to “think about her life” and still another who books all her appointments like gynae, eyes, mammogram in her birthday month. Fun, thoughtful and practical.

Please tell me about your birthday rituals and if you’re not signed up to my list yet, please do so if you want the free “lovely things to do this year” printable. My next newsletter goes out on Tuesday 15th.

Have you done your annual birthday review yet?

Creatives can’t get organised. Myth or truth?

It’s true that creative people need different ways to organise themselves because traditional methods usually don’t work too well for them.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to organising; in fact, since each person is unique, each person’s organising system should also be different.

Let’s look at four areas to organise yourself for success:

  1. Attitude
    It’s a myth that creative people can’t work in a structured environment. On the contrary, having a bit of structure in your life actually enables you to be even more creative and to do better work.

A few years ago, a client emailed to tell me how she’s been energised and has been creating beautiful things again.

What was the difference in her life? We’d worked on organising her office space and within the new-found order, she could be creative once again.

Stop telling yourself that you can’t be organised; rather tell yourself that you organise yourself in non-traditional ways.

  1. Schedule
    Traditionally, we’ve all been told to work according to the clock. I’m telling you to work with your energy cycles; don’t try to battle them.

If you know that you go through a bit of a slump around lunch time, maybe that’s when you want to run errands or exercise to give yourself an energy boost.

If you design websites and you know that you’re most creative at midnight, then design your websites at midnight  Who made the rule that you have to start working at 8am?

  1. To-do list
    Scrap the to-do list. Yes, you read that correctly. The to-do list may set you up for failure especially when you feel you’re not getting things done.

Rather use an Eat the Frog list. This list helps you be more flexible so you only need to get the most important things done. My clients are always a bit shocked when I tell them, “the fewer items you have on your list, the better it is”. Just make sure those are truly important things on your list.

  1. Workspace
    When you can find your equipment and supplies easily, your valuable energy is used for actual creativity and not wasted on looking for things.

It’s so important to have your workspace set up according to your organising style. Are you a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner? Are you a paper or electronic person? Maybe the reason you can’t seem to get your papers organised is because you’re actually an electronic person.

I’ve had clients with very messy offices whose computers are perfectly organised, and vice versa. It’s so important to play to your strengths.

My friend, Suzanne, admitted on the podcast that she hadn’t been creating because her workspace was too messy. She then took up my challenge to organise her environment so she could create again. Look at these fantastic results!

My challenge to you
Check your attitude and start telling yourself you can get more productive once you organise according to your style.

Tag me on instagram to come see your workspaces and creative environments. I can’t wait to see.

Are you creative? What are your particular challenges with regard to your workspace?

PS I wrote about my space to create on the blog before.

I’m on the So Suzy Podcast

Is anybody out there still reading from 10 years ago?

If yes, you may remember my organising buddy, Suzanne Moore.

Suzanne and I both blogged about organising way back in the day when people still commented on blogs. Ah, it was a glorious time back then.

We even met up in Scotland in 2008 and spent 3 wonderful days together in Stirling. Here’s my favourite photo of the two of us at Loch Lomond.

Suzanne also had a podcast back then called Let’s Talk Organizing but nobody knew very much about podcasts back then.

Anyway, Suzanne invited me onto her new podcast and, after some wrangling (what could I possibly have to say?!), I accepted her kind invitation and it was So Much Fun.

Please go and listen at any of these links

iTunes

iHeart Radio

Stitcher

Go have a read and let me know what you think 🙂

Suzanne’s instagram

 

My 7 steps to a balanced life

I know it’s popular these days for people to say they don’t believe in life balance.

Perhaps I should tell you why I still believe in it.

Because when I feel like my work gets enough of me to stay under control while I’m satisfied with my contribution, and my home life is ordered, comfortable and fosters connection, then I’m happy.

I’d wager a guess that our definitions might be different but all of us have some sort of standards for our personal and our professional lives to run well. And when that happens, we feel calm and happy.

  1. Realise you only have so many hours in the day

We all only have 24-hour days. Some of us think we’re Superwoman and have more time than that. We don’t. The sooner you realise this and work within the limitations of time, the happier you’ll be.

  1. Write down your different roles and the time commitment required from each

Don’t forget to add in managing your home time and personal time!

The idea is to see if you’re a time optimist or if you’re being realistic with your time. Sometimes we think a certain activity only takes, let’s say, two hours a week. When you factor in travel time plus preparation time, it may increase to four or five hours. No wonder you always feel frazzled when you think about this specific activity.

  1. Check in with yourself and ask the hard questions

    Am I too busy?
    Am I trying to do too much?
    Am I being realistic about the amount of time specific commitments take?
    Do all my scheduled activities spark joy?

What do I need or want to focus on at this stage in my life?
What can I cut out?
What can I delegate?

  1. Implement good ideas immediately

I am terrible at many things but I’m a great implementer because I’ve put systems in place. You can be too.

When you see a good idea or hear of something that resonates with you, screenshot it, jot it down in your bullet journal and then schedule it so that you can test it out.

You’ll know within less than a week if something works for you or not. But if something does resonate and it works with your style, you’ve just found a new trick.

  1. Be honest about your priorities

I do an exercise with my time management clients where they tell me all the different areas of their lives. Some people have many balls that they’re trying to juggle. That’s okay…. as long as the priorities are in order.

Don’t neglect your home and family commitments just to look good on a committee.

My preference is to do less and do those things well rather than to feel overwhelmed by taking on more and more, and then do nothing well.

However, if your work is a priority during a particular life stage, don’t feel bad about that. Admitting it to yourself will free you from guilt.

  1. Realise that when you say yes to something, you automatically say no to something else.

Some things in life are just for a season, like the newborn stage. So while reading and going to my dance classes are extremely important to me, I personally did a lot less when my twins were little because I had to sleep whenever I could.

Yes to sleep, no to reading.

If you need to work late, you’re saying yes to work and no to one or two evenings of bedtime stories. That’s okay; there are no rules. We design our own lives.

  1. Keep evaluating and tweaking

I can guarantee that just when you think you have things figured out, suddenly something won’t work anymore.

That’s normal with organising anything, and especially your time.

We figured out the first term’s extra-mural activity schedule for the kids and then they all change. Completely normal. The key is to realise this so you don’t get frustrated every time you have to tweak.

Keep evaluating where you’re at – I do this on a weekly and monthly basis – and tweak, tweak, tweak. Just because it suited you to work really long hours a few months ago doesn’t mean it still suits you to do so now.

That’s how I create balance in my life. By realising it’s fleeting, always moving and needs constant attention. Just like a toddler!

How do you create a balanced life? Is balance an important value to you?

If you’d like to work with me to create more of a balanced life, I do have a few coaching spots open. Please contact me to find out more.

Is your space working for you?

One of my biggest frustrations is when a space doesn’t work properly for me.

I feel like I don’t want to spend time there, and then I’m easily distracted while in that space too.

Can you relate?

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Example 1

I saw a room on Instagram that gave me an idea for one of our spaces. The person had a daybed/ bench in the kitchen area and it looked so inviting that I thought, “oh, I’d like one of those” and then I thought of something I could do.

So this weekend I moved one of my couches to the dining room. I still have the table and chairs; there is just more space to relax with the couch there.

Dion is still not sure about it but the kids and I love it there. I find them sitting and reading on the couch because the light is amazing in the mornings.

Do you need to move things around in one or two rooms to make your spaces work better for you?

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Example 2

I’m not a fan of beige anything 🙂

When we bought this house I knew I’d have to jazz up my kitchen somehow.

I decided on 4 smallish things (compared to a complete kitchen renovation – which we choose not to do because we prefer money to pay off our bond :)) and I’m delighted with the results from just 3 of the 4 so far.

The 4th thing is proving a lot more money than I initially thought so it will take a month more of saving to do that.

I’m going to put up pictures and such on Monday to talk you through some of my thinking.

But for now, I have a little thinking exercise for you.

Think of a space where you spend a lot of time – kitchen, bedroom, kids’ play area, study, etc.

Take a few minutes to evaluate your physical space and see how it’s working for you.

  1. Do you feel happy when you look at the space?
  2. Are you energised when you’re there?
  3. Does the space function well?
  4. Can you say with complete honesty that not much irritates or frustrates you there?
  5. Is it organised enough for your and your family’s needs?

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Your coaching challenge

  • If you couldn’t answer yes to at least 3 of the 5 questions, what are 3 small things you can do to brighten up that space and make it work for you again?
  • Do you need to move furniture around? Shop your home first before you think of going to buy new items.
  • Consider this the first draft and keep tweaking until the space is fully functional.
  • Don’t get caught up in Pinterest perfectionism – it doesn’t have to be pretty to be functional, organised and bring you peace.

If you’d like to talk through some of your space issues, let’s set up a free 15-minute chat for you.

I’d love to know which of your spaces you want to make work better for you, and what the first thing is you’re going to do.

What I learned in October, and goals for November

As you know, this is my favourite time of the month.

It’s goals review time!   img_7227

So how was October?

I asked Connor (my 7-year-old) to help me with my review and we filled up almost a whole page with highlights 🙂

Aside from a few days where I was a tad too stressed for my liking at work, it was a great month.

1. A social media fast is really good for me.

I loved praying for people during my social media fast.

We received TWO offers during that week of prayer. We accepted one and now we’re waiting for the bond to come through.

2. I’m dreaming about not paying for two houses

How do people manage multiple properties? The mental load is just way too much, not to mention the expense. I’m going to be really glad when all our money can go towards paying for this house.

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3. It feels really good to get things done off my to-do list

This month we automated our garage doors. Game changer. If you’re local and you need someone, I heartily recommend this company. I have not had such excellent service in years. It almost felt like a pleasure paying over the money.

We also did some boring things like get electrical and plumbing work done, and some exciting things like painting our kitchen cupboards. There’s a story to this which I will post about next month.

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4. I’m really looking forward to the 5 Love Languages workshop on 19 November.

I’m super passionate about the 5 love languages. May I be so bold as to say even if you’ve read the book, I still recommend that you come to my workshop. There’s a different energy to learning with people, hearing things “live” vs reading from a book. I’ve read both books and attended two workshops – one as a participant and one to get certified as a facilitator.

5. I learned that I’m really quite grumpy if I can’t work from home now and again

I’ve had laptop problems – it basically only worked connected properly to the network with a cable! So it’s been very challenging.

Also, when I work from home, because I cut out commuting time (nearly 2 hours) I get to run a few errands during the day, keeping me on top of my life admin.

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6. Intentional friendship is a really beautiful thing

I have all kinds of friends – both local and some that live far away. The far away friends and I often just arrange phone dates which is the best ever.

Or we whatsapp for 15 – 20 minutes and that’s also good. There’s also the option for voice messages which is so nice to get an unexpected treat during the day. I love it.

I also have friends who must have arrangements planned well in advance and some who you can phone up and say, “are you free for tea tomorrow? I’m going to be in the area” and they say yes, always.

7. Muscle memory is a real thing

I thought I wouldn’t be able to learn the complete spanish dance syllabus by exam time and while I’m not completely polished yet, I’ve been practising hours and hours every week, and that’s paid off. Perseverance and telling myself I just need to do it enough and it’ll (eventually) click. And it’s working.

11 days to the exam… and last night I had a dream where the examiner told me we’d run out of time and therefore I couldn’t do the dance, the one I’d been practising for weeeeeeeeeks on end. Ha!

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For November I have one BIG goal – and that’s to NAIL my Spanish exams – and one important goal: for each person who comes to the 5 Love Languages of Children workshop to leave changed and understand exactly how to talk their kids’ love languages.

How was your October?

How do you create time for friendship?

Are you joining me for the workshop? If you’re not local, let me know if you’d like to book a 60-minute Skype session.

The adult colouring business…. and the 5 love languages

So the adult colouring craze is still going strong here.

And by strong I mean about 2 – 3 times a month, I pull out “my” colouring book and I colour with one of the children, never alone.

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I eventually bought myself a book – it’s a kids’ book actually pitched at age 8 – 12 – so it has big things to colour 🙂

I call it “my book” because then the kids respect it more. They are not allowed to rip out pages and always put it away in its place. They are much more inclined to cut things out of their own books. Strangely, neither of them like colouring books but they do like colouring in my book.

Hmmmm.

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It’s one of the best ways for me to spend time with Connor, who is my quality time child. Other than that, we take the book and the pencil crayons with us when we go out to eat so we can talk and colour while waiting for the food.

The other day Connor came to me and requested that I draw something for him to colour. I don’t draw as such, but I drew this flower. He didn’t like this one so I had to draw another and then we each coloured in our own flowers.

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*Very important announcement*

I’ll be holding a series of 5 love languages of children workshops in the next couple of months.

Let me know if you’re interested (there is no commitment – I’m not holding you to anything) so I can start light planning.

Think of two of your kids’ best friends’ parents, come on over and in two hours we will identify the kids’ love languages and I’ll teach you many ways of filling their little love tanks. This workshop is for parents, caregivers, teachers and grandparents of any age children. I could identify my kids’ love languages from about 9 months.

The first workshop on 19 November is at my own house or if you have at least 8 people, I can come to you…. and then you as the host won’t pay.

The cost will be R200 per person, or R360 for a parent couple.

You can leave a note in the comments on this post, or email me on marcia AT organisingqueen.com if you’ll be joining me.

I’m very passionate about this subject – let’s make it happen!

Are you joining me on 19 November?

What’s no longer serving you, and what’s really going on?

I wrote another article with this same title a few years ago.

The focus then was mostly on organising spaces.

This time I want to talk about time.

true north | www.OrganisingQueen.com

One of the podcasts I listen to is Elise gets crafty and one of the more recent episodes was an episode on time.

During that episode she mentioned that since she’d stopped writing her own blog about 9 months ago, she’d also stopped reading a lot of blogs, but then she became aware that actually reading blogs wasn’t really adding to her happiness so she just stopped the whole blog reading thing. Just like that.

I found this radical for two reasons:

  1. she’s been blogging almost as long as I have, and to just cut it off seemed a bit sudden to me. But then I thought, “well, why not?” If it’s not going to #sparkjoy, then should it be in your life?
  2. it’s brave to make choices that are right for you yet don’t make sense to others

January goals | www.OrganisingQueen.com

On another episode, she mentioned to a guest that she was scrolling through her instagram one day, saw a family frolicking on a foreign beach, and felt some envy. But then she stopped herself and said, “wait, I don’t even like travelling or being out of routine and being on the beach with two little ones is far from relaxing, so what’s going on?”

The answer was that she wanted more togetherness and fun with her own family, but she wasn’t attached to how it happened.

Isn’t that powerful?

If you’d like me to coach you and help you arrive at your own insights about things that are no longer serving you, send me an email for a half-hour session. I can’t wait to talk to you.

What are you envious of, and when you probe deeper, what’s really going on?

How to do an annual birthday review

Before we start today’s post, a quick announcement:

I’ve finally written the FOUR posts on how I paid off my bond in 5 years. I thought it would be one post but it was way too long and the information is too valuable to have you switch off halfway through reading 🙂

So look out on all the Thursdays for the rest of this month. And please can you talk back even if to say I’m crazy? I feel quite vulnerable…

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Birthday reviews are a little harder to do than the standard annual, end-of-year reviews, but only because it’s no-one else’s birthday but your own, and there’s no end-of-year madness to pull you along.

However, I’d almost venture to say they’re even more important to do because this is a review that’s completely focussed on you, to be done in your own time.


Create mental and physical space

I like to dedicate an entire evening to this practice. It won’t need an entire evening but it’s nice to not feel like you need to rush because of other things.

I make a mug of tea and assemble my favourite notebook for these purposes (Piccadilly) and all my favourite pens.

Review the year that’s just passed

Some questions you may want to ask are:

  1. what went well?
  2. what didn’t go well?
  3. what do I want to keep doing?
  4. what will I stop doing?
  5. what do I want for this next year?

Do a version of the core desired feelings

You are aiming at answering the question, “how do I want to feel over this next year of my life?”

Think about all the categories like body, mind, spirit, relationships, work, etc.

If you want, ask God for a scripture

Mine is John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled 🙂

birthday review

You can make it even more complicated than that, but I prefer not to, so that it actually gets done 🙂

Have you done a birthday review recently? What was the most interesting insight?

If you would like coaching through your own birthday review, please email me to book your 30 or 60-minute session.

Just a quick courtesy note

I know you’re busy but I wanted to give you a quick reminder just in case last week’s email got stuck in your email box (by the way, Organise your office will help you) 🙂

Here’s the email I sent out last week.

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Eat sleep read shop

 

Happy Friday!

As promised, it’s the annual holiday s.a.l.e. and I’m really hoping this will be just what you need to get set up for next year.

I’ve heard too many people say that they can’t wait for 2013 to be over.

Well, don’t wish for that but do start thinking intentionally about how you want your life to look next year.

But……….. without further ado, here’s the deal.

I want this to be a win-win-win for all of us.

– You (or a friend – you can gift my products to a friend too)… because you’ll get fabulous products at a hugely discounted price
– Trisha… my virtual assistant doesn’t know this but I’m giving her a % of all sales because, well, she’s fabulous and I wouldn’t know what to do without her.
– Me… to inch me closer to my annual income goal.

Win-win-win

The deal is SUPER simple this year… and ends at midnight on Friday 13th EST (Saturday 14th 6 am South African time)

1. Buy one, get one fr.ee of the same price products OR
2. 50% off anything

If you’re going for option 1, just click through on one of the products, pay for it and in the NOTES TO SELLER, tell me what you want for your free product.

If you’re going for option 2 (50% off anything), then divide the price by two and paypal that amount to marcia AT organisingqueen.com (again, put the product name in the notes to seller).

Here are the products:

Organise your home
http://www.marciafrancois.com/products/organise-your-home-2/

Organise your office
http://www.marciafrancois.com/products/organise-your-home-office/

Organise your time
http://www.marciafrancois.com/products/i-need-more-time-e-course/

Organise your business
http://www.marciafrancois.com/products/organise-your-business-system/

Big, Juicy goals
http://www.marciafrancois.com/products/big-juicy-goals/

Break out of overwhelm
http://www.marciafrancois.com/products/break-out-of-overwhelm/

As an added incentive, the first 20 people who buy anything will get a f.ree copy of 10 steps to your financial freedom or Simplify your life (tell me which you prefer in the NOTES TO SELLER 🙂 – if you already have it, you can gift it to a friend)

Happy shopping!

Much love
Marcia

PS the sale is not on the $1,99 book, 31 days. We make just about 70 cents on that one and we can’t justify the costs to administer it as a sale item. Thanks for understanding.

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