{Organising} Office odds and ends


Years ago I had this nice, new pink shoe bag I bought in the kiddies section of Mr Price Home that I used in my study for cables, chargers and such.

Office odds and ends, if you will.

It had shoe bags on both sides so when the one side started looking too grubby, I just turned the thing over and used the other side.

But a few weeks ago, I took something out in a hurry and the pink pockets tore.

I looked closely and saw that the whole thing was actually long overdue for the rubbish heap because it was falling to shreds.

Still, I’d had very good use of something I paid R40 for at least 6 years ago.


I try not to go shopping for something unless I’ve totally exhausted in-house possibilities so I went looking in my cupboard and sure enough, I found a mesh bag that is actually intended for the shower.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be organised.

Determined not to exceed these 6 pockets, I ruthlessly decluttered to make it all fit.

Tell me, why do we keep old cell phones that nobody would even want to have?!

Here is the result.



Took me about 15 minutes to decide what to keep and put it all back neatly.


(taking the photos and editing them took longer)


For the record, I keep an iphone charger at my desk and another on my bedside table. I also keep the kindle charger in my bedside table drawers.

Where do you keep your office odds and ends?

Fun on Friday – organising with bowls

I have a bit of a love affair with this blue bowl. It’s the perfect shade of blue, the perfect size and depth and it just makes me so happy.

It’s held washi tape, paper clips, post-it notes and other desk paraphernalia and I never get tired of it.

Currently those are some gift tags ready to washi and make pretty, pegs, some fabric tape pegs that I made and lots of very cute paper clips and glass magnets from a friend in the USA.

I also use bowls to hold some paperclips in my desk drawer.

How do you use bowls to organise items in your office?

Are you drowning in email?



While the majority of people mention paper as their biggest organising challenge, a close second is email.

Did you know that for every email you send, you get two back?

(that was accurate a few years ago; it may have changed since then)

The revamped Organise your office product bundle has some new thoughts and techniques on managing emails and information, e.g notifications from social media sites.


Of course in addition to the email, paper and the computer also need to be organised, both of which are tackled in this product.

If your office is less than what your dream looks like, then please take a look and see what you think.


I know this will help you!

For fun, tell me what the worst part of organising any office space (whether physical or digital) is for you..

A tour of my desk

To end off office organising month I thought I’d take you on a tour of my desk.

Something interesting happened though. I didn’t tidy up my desk to take pics – it looks like this when I’m not working. And you can see a certain little 3-year-old boy left a torch on my desk 🙂

When I’m working, there’s either a glass of water/ mug of tea, my phone, usually a nail polish or two and an open notebook with pen.

However, once I looked at the pics, I didn’t like the layout so I’ve since moved a few things around a bit.

When I find some energy (and good light) I’ll take a few new pics 🙂

I have pens in a cutlery holder, some plain Project Life cards (that I use for lists!), binder clips, a frame and a perpetual calendar in this corner.

and a lovely print from Artsyville.

On the other side of the desk I have a holder with business cards, idevice connector and the USB drive I use for printing a lot of photos at the photo printing place.

And then I have this file folder box. I bought it at a plastics shop for about R25 – R30 and it holds all my folders I use on a regular basis.

This blue vase serves absolutely no purpose but I think it’s very, very pretty 🙂

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I’m sure some of you want to know more about what’s in the file folder box?

What’s on your desk?

Messy desks – do they bother you or not?

There are two types of people in this world – those who can work on a messy desk and those who can’t.

I’m one of those who can’t.

I’m very affected by my environment (I can’t even concentrate very well if I’m cold) and I like to have things in order.

The interesting thing is that my desk gets very messy WHILE I’m working but to start working, I need things clear and nicely sorted.


This is a picture of my desk after an office move.

Need I tell you I was very annoyed that they came to move me outside of the time period I’d booked?!

Because what did that mean? I had to take an hour or so to position all my files and sort out my desk.

Over to you.

Can you work on a messy desk?

PS I spent some time yesterday taking a few pics of my desk at home. Would you like to see it? I thought it might be interesting to three of you to see how I do things for maximum productivity at home.

{31 days of easy organising solutions} – email

Confession time – both my email boxes (home and work) have been full to overflowing… for me (50-odd emails) … for the last month or so.

The reasons were valid at work – too many meetings and so on – but at home I realised that my email basics had slipped.

I took a couple of hours to put some things back into place and I’m breathing easy again.

1. Check Pinterest and Facebook notification settings

I unsubscribed from all the Pinterest and most of the Facebook notifications. I now only get messages, notes on my wall and photo tags from Facebook. I haven’t received Twitter notifications for years but I hardly use Twitter anyway. Maybe 3 times a year? And that’s really only to quickly “chat” to one or two people who are very active on there but not very email-responsive 😉

2. Evaluate Facebook groups

I’m being very conscious about joining groups. At the moment I’m only in the one active Facebook group, the Everything launch team for Mary de Muth’s new book.

Just this morning, I had to tell a friend (very nicely) that I can’t join her group because I don’t have the time to participate. Of course it wasn’t comfortable but it was honest and 100% in integrity.

3. Get off lists you don’t read

I realised that I skimmed over a lot of newsletter lists and hadn’t actually looked forward to or read them for months. Time to get off those lists.

I said a few months back to my newsletter subscribers that I take no offence if my newsletter is one of those they need to unsubscribe from.

After all, we all go through seasons in our life.

Don’t just delete the email; take a few seconds longer to click through and unsubscribe on the website in question.

4. Make decisions immediately

I noticed that I’d get pics or documents that I wanted to save but I’d hang onto the email instead.


Laziness, I suppose. Laziness to make appropriate decisions.

From now onwards, I will stop, pause for a few seconds to make a decision as to where I want to save it (if I do) and just do it there and then.

5. Focus

Quite honestly I could write a whole article on the power of focus.

But as it relates to email management, this is what typically happens. I start answering an email and another pops into my box. I see the little window at the corner of my screen so I click on it to open. My mind is now focussed on that email and I’ve forgotten about the first one.

I’m learning to ignore the bright, shiny emails and focus on what I’m doing until completion.

These 5 steps are really the back-to-basics of effective email management for me.

Do you need to take back control of your email box too? Start by putting into place these 5 steps and let me know if you need more help.

I have FOUR one-hour sessions available from now til the end of November. You can use them to pick my brain about anything… from how to leverage your time better, how to set up your own e-courses, write your book, delegate effectively, get your kids organised, get control of your time, etc. They’re $197 each – first come, first served.

Read more here and book your spot today.

If your goal is to get your home organised, then get the revised (and cheaper!) Organise your Home system for just $47 now.


Have you checked out my book, Live Organised, yet?


PS I know that a lot of you have the luxury of a closet but in South Africa we don’t have them. Some people do have a dressing room with tons of space but again, rare.

5 steps to a tidy desk

You won’t believe all the excuses I get from people about their untidy desks.

“It’s because I’m creative” or “I know where everything is”.

Sound familiar?

This may very well be true. However, for most people, an untidy desk makes you feel overwhelmed and out of control. It also gives other people the impression that you’re less than competent.


The good news is that getting your desk organised is a lot easier than you think. You can have a tidy desk in just 5 steps:

1. Set up your desk properly

If you answer the phone with your left hand, then keep the phone to the left of your computer. Now this might seem obvious but you’ll be surprised at the number of people I encounter who have to scramble and reach behind their computer to get to the phone. It’s like playing Twister.

2. Touch each piece of paper once only

This is going to force you to make decisions – throw away, action, forward or file. Those are the only choices you have 😉

3. Have one notebook for all your notes

When you take messages or need to quickly jot down a note, write it in your ONE notebook. You shouldn’t have 10 post-it notes and lots of other pieces of paper on your desk. Better still, write the date on the top of every page so you can reference old information quickly. And start each day on a new page, literally!

4. Clear junk regularly

Every time you get up to go to the loo or for a coffee break, clear your desk of empty mugs, glasses, snacks, etc. The same goes for all those dry markers and pens that don’t work. Throw them out!

5. Have only the papers you’re actually working with on your desk

I have a rather strong fondness for plastic envelopes. I use these nifty tools to keep my many projects sorted. When I want to work on something, I just grab one of these and open up the contents on my desk.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

You can also have a neat and tidy desk in just 5 steps.

Now what you should do is do a quick, 30-second tidy every evening when you finish your work so you’re ready and raring to go the following day.

On the scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being very messy, I can barely find my keyboard to 10 being my desk is like a Pinterest pic, where is your desk?

Click over to the comments and see what number I give my desk 🙂

Quick! Organise your office

It’s hard to be productive when your space is not only a mess, but also disorganised.

60% of people are visual (I am too!) so clutter and “stuff” strewn all over the place will just drive you up the wall!

 Before we start, let’s get ready:

(a) put on some upbeat music (not slow love songs – fast music!)
(b) make sure you have a BIG wastepaper basket
(c) get another plastic basket for items that belong in another room
So what do you need to do?

1. Back up your files

Do NOT open your email programme, Twitter or Facebook before you start or you’ll get sidetracked!

DO put a recurring reminder in Outlook to do this on a monthly basis, or more frequently than that.

I lost EVERYTHING on my flash drive once but it only translated to about 2 hours’ work because I’d backed up my computer a few weeks before that.

Now, while your computer is backing up…

2. Clean off your desk

You can do this in 30 seconds (that’s why you have the upbeat music). Yes, really. Play a game with yourself and say, “by the end of this song, my desk is going to be clean”. Works for me 😉

Put all items belonging in another room in the plastic basket. Don’t go to the actual room to put away – you don’t want to get sidetracked!

Throw any cooldrink cans, sweet papers, etc. in the wastepaper basket. Put all the little notes inside your desk notebook (you do have ONE desk notebook, don’t you?) and set to one side.

If you don’t use the item on a DAILY basis, it shouldn’t be on your desk. By the same token, if you use something every day, make a place for it within arm’s reach.

E.g. My headset for Skype calls is on a hook on the wall above my desk – near enough that I can just reach for it, but not taking up valuable real estate on the desk.

See? 30 seconds and you’re done!

I *do* know this is the Quick & Easy way – if you want ALL the detail, check out the organise your office system.

3. Sort out the paper

Take out the desk notebook with all the little notes. I use a spiral-bound notebook with a lovely, bright yellow and lime-green cover because it makes me happy to write my notes in a beautiful notebook 😉

Write down all those bits and pieces – your internet provider’s helpline, website addresses, people to look up on Facebook, etc.

Throw away all the junk mail and paper you don’t need (and take it to your recycling bin later).

Put all the filing in ONE pile – you can do this in front of the TV later!

Now doesn’t that feel better? A nice, neat and organised office!

 Can you work with a desk full of paper?

I can’t but when I only have a few minutes, I push all the paper to one side, focus and get it done 🙂


We all have 15 minutes

One of the biggest organising myths is that you need a HUGE chunk of time to organise anything.

That’s simply not true.

I actually don’t know many people who happen to have hours and hours free just for the purpose of organising.

The thing is, you have to make time.

One of the ways you make time is by looking for the little gifts of time throughout your day.

Even if you think you have no time, I guarantee there are bits here and there.

If you start looking for those treasured moments, you’ll realise you can get a lot more done.


I remember when the babies were just newborns (you mothers will know how crazy that time is) I thought I’d never have time to myself again.

Then I realised that I had 5 minutes here, another 10 minutes there and so on.

I could read ONE article in a magazine in those 5 minutes and maybe even churn out a blog post in the 10-minute stretch.

All that time adds up if you’re ready to take advantage of it.

It’s the same with organising.

You may not have an hour to organise your entire desk but if you find 15 minutes a day for 4 days, you do have that hour.

A change of perspective = opportunities 

You can always organise something in 15 minutes.

Here are a few quick ideas:

• Quickly reply to 3 – 5 emails. The rule is if you can attend to it in 2 minutes, just do it there and then. There are more fabulous tips in Organise your Office
• Organise photos (one of my ongoing projects to use a “spare” 15 minutes)
• Declutter a pile of paper
• Tidy your wallet and toss out old receipts and business cards

See? There are 15-minute slivers of time all around us if only we’ll just look for them.

Make a list of 10 or more quick organising projects you can do in 15 minutes and get started today.

Are you an all or nothing person? Do you tend to look for the big chunk of time versus the little bits?

If you need some help, book a Success Strategy Session with me.

Google Maps

Inspiring spaces #7 – home office

This week I’m very proud to feature the organised space of one of my clients, Ricci Jackson, an interior designer.

Ricci and I had a telephone session and she also bought the Organise your Business system.

Since part of having an organised business is having a space to work in that supports and doesn’t sabotage your business goals, one of the components of the system is 7 easy steps to organise your office.

Ricci sent me an email and said this:

Marcia, I just wanted you to know that I am making strides.

I organized my office the first week, bought files, a label maker and even created zones.

I am inspired to work in my office again.

While it was never a mess,  I found myself spending way too much time trying to find where I put this or that.

Now having everything in its prospective zone is deliciously satisfying.

Don’t you love how she described it? Deliciously satisfying!


I always say that organising is not just something you do for organising’s sake; it’s to enable you to live your life to the full.

Without having to search for things, Ricci is now able to use that time to work on her business.

Because her space inspires her, she can better inspire her clients.

That’s what it’s all about!

before she bought Organise your Business
(there is a section on organising your office)


she’s used at least 3 different ideas and tips that are clearly visible to me 🙂

and here is the lovely lady herself. Doesn’t that colour look great on her?!

Thanks, Ricci, for letting me feature your inspiring space!

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