Decluttering Tips for Your Home Office

Decluttering Tips for Your Home Office

A messy office is a huge problem. It inhibits productivity on so many levels. Sometimes the problem is not knowing where everything is. Maybe it is just the mental clutter that hinders you from getting things done. I can be one of the most unorganized people I know. I can organize my office and three days later don’t know where my phone is nor can I find a pen. Speaking from experience, taking time to declutter can take valuable hours away from your productivity. The best way to keep organized is to declutter your office and keep the habits up so you do not have to stop to organize. Here are my best decluttering tips for your home office.

Designate a Specific Place for Work

Making a place in your house that is designated just for working has a lot of benefits. First, the distinction between work and home can be good for physical boundaries and mental boundaries. Mental clarity for when you are in work mode versus home mode can greatly improve work satisfaction for those who work at home. Secondly, if you keep all items related to business is the same designated spot, EVEN if it a cluttered office, you know it is in the office and it is not in your living space. Having work materials in living spaces can prevent you from leaving work when you  “go home” for the day.

Organize and Store Documents Digitally

Keep records and receipts in the same place. Use an app on your phone to scan these so you can get rid of the physical paper. Less paper means less clutter. Scanning receipts at the end of the day or once a week will keep the clutter from piling up.

 

 

Plan Your Day

Using a planner either on paper or an online program, keeping tabs of your time is super important. This will declutter your mind as well as your time. I like using a planner I can write in. For me, it doesn’t really “connect” in my head until it is written down. Either way is fine; it just has to work for you.

 

Plan time or build time into your day to stay organized as you go. Throwing trash in the bin, organizing documents or answering emails at specific times can be super helpful on a day to day basis.

 

Organize Your Inbox

 

I get so many emails that it is daunting. As we speak, my phone says I have 42,387 emails.  Honestly, I have just let it go at this point. Here are some tips that I will be using too to get my email to a manageable level. This may not technically be decluttering tips for your home office per se, but necessary tips to staying mentally organized.

 

  1. Go through your lists and unsubscribe to anything that you don’t want. I am sure there are a LOT of emails you do not want in your inbox every day. My favorite tool for this is Unroll Me. Check it out here. It rolls up a ton of my advertisements into one big email so I get one email a day rather than 150 of them. It can also help you unsubscribe to newsletters.
  2. Search by company or address and delete all of those as a way to start cleaning your email up.
  3. Set up mailbox folders and route certain emails in those folders automatically. I get a lot of purchase receipts from when customers pay and they all go into a specific folder to prevent build up in my inbox.
  4. Use the Flag system. On my phone, I can star or flag my emails I read that I know I want to reference later or send a response at a later time. This is super helpful when you do get hundreds of emails a day. It is easy to lose track of ones that are time sensitive or important in between a bunch of advertisements, etc.
  5. Use different emails. I never did this before and I regret it. Use an email to give out for making purchases online so you always know where the receipts go and the advertising emails don’t get sent to your regular email. Keep your work email for work and your home for home things.

Back Up All Electronics and Computers

 

This one is big. If you decide to go the paperless route and keep a lot of documents, receipts, etc. on computers or servers, it is worth the money to have those computers and hard drives backed up at a different location. The best solution is backing up your information onto the “Cloud”. By backing up your information in a cloud you can access your documents anywhere you can connect to the internet!  We live in a scary world and if someone hacks into your computer or even if your laptop crashes, it is still stored somewhere. Your mind will thank you. So will your bookkeeper, accountant, and significant other.
Now that you have decluttered your home office, I will be talking next week about tips to stay organized, both digitally and in your workspace!

 

Do you have tips to keep your home office organized? Comment below or contact me!

 

Come join my facebook group for more ideas on how to look and feel organized!
Networking Tips for Introverts

Networking Tips for Introverts

Have you ever needed to network with other people to grow your business but you can barely stand the idea of talking to others about yourself or your business? If you are not fond of meeting new people or you are someone who loves your space and quiet, you are probably an introvert! Congratulations! However, for a business owner networking is an essential part of owning a business. So how do you overcome it? From a fellow introvert herself, I will be listing some of my networking tips for introverts.

 

But First Off, What is an Introvert?

An introvert is:

“A term introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed inward. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other  people. “
It is estimated that a third to one half of the population would consider themselves introverts. If so many of us are introverts it's no wonder that it is hard for so many of us to get out of comfort zones to productively network. The following are a few tips to help you become comfortable outside your comfort zone.

 

Do Your Homework Before You Go to a Networking Event

Look to see where the event is being held. It is important to know what kind of atmosphere is being held in, what the appropriate dress is, and whether it is a formal or more informal type of event. This helps overcome any anxiety that can happen when introverts are forced to talk to others. (Said from experience…trust me)

Further, prepare ahead of time. What are your goals for going to this event? Is there a specific person or persons with a special skill set you intend to find? The best way to do this is to make a plan ahead of time so you have a purpose for going. If I don't have purposes for going to events, I am more likely to back out beforehand. Looking up a few of the people that might be there is a great idea. Check out their LinkedIn profile and find out if this person might be a good person to find at the event.

Remember, the true key to networking is quality over quantity. It is best to leave with a few meaningful connections than a dozen business cards that get tossed in a drawer when you get home.

Take a Fellow Introvert With You

For me, bringing another person to networking events helps me in a few ways. One, it helps hold me accountable for going. If I know someone is relying on me to go with them then I am less likely to back out. Secondly, it is a bit of a security blanket. You don’t have to stick next to each other while you are there. (I don’t suggest it). Knowing there is someone there to help break the ice together can be a great comfort.

Find other Introverts or Find an Empty Seat

Find other fellow introverts – If you don’t go to an event with someone, find someone else who is being quiet or is sitting next to an empty seat. Not only will you be finding one of your own kind, but you wln't be left all alone either. It is a win-win!

Network Often – It is a Skill You Use or Lose

I personally get into a rut when I don’t leave the house for a few days. It is extremely easy to not have sunlight touch your face for days when you work at home. (Don’t judge!) But the more I make myself get out and talk with people in an unfamiliar environment the easier it becomes. I try to get out of the house a few times a week and talk to three people I don't know. If I stop making a habit of it, I have to work up to it all over again.

Ask Others About Themselves to Find Similar Interests

Lastly, if you don’t know what to say or how to continue a conversation, ask people about themselves. Not only do you learn about them but people love to talk about themselves. People who ask about other’s lives are seen as nicer people who are caring and genuine. This makes the conversation more smoothly and a great way to find something you have in common!

These are just some of the ways introverts can use to make networking an effective tool for them. Know some other tips? Comment below!

 

Better yet, contact me here or join me in my facebook group for ways to engage with others!
Ways to Increase Sales When Business is Slow

Ways to Increase Sales When Business is Slow

Business can slow in any industry for a variety of reasons and, sometimes, no reason at all. Retail in 2017, in particular, was very sensitive to changes in costs, the economy and the ever-changing supply and demand. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. No matter what reason business is slow, an increase in sales is always important. Here are some ideas to think about and implement when business is lagging.

Trimming Expenses to Increase Sales

The first thing to do when business is slow is to look at exactly what money is coming in and what is going out. Many times there are unnecessary expenses that can either be diminished or cut out completely. In the age of credit cards and automatic drafts for subscriptions, programs, or supplies can add up if you are not paying attention. When business is good, many business owners do not have time to look at these expenses or feel like money is good so they aren't diligent in looking at those expenses. However, this is a surefire mistake.

A $15 subscription for a service doesn't seem like a lot. But, for example, if you pay for 10 various subscription services when you only actually use or need 5, removing the ones you don't need or aren't necessary can add up to $900 a year! That is a lot of breathing room over time. As business picks up, you may need those services again for efficiency but they will always be there. Take control of your business now so you can increase the sales and put more of your profit to good use rather than unnecessary expenses.

Focus on Marketing, Networking and Social Media Skills to Increase Sales

When business is busy, things such as marketing, networking or maintaining your social media presence can take a hit. If your business is slow, that is the perfect time to reach back out to your current contacts or former customers. As I will talk about in a later post, relationships are essential to a profitable business. Maintaining relationships are essential to a profitable business and a wonderful way to utilize a slow period. It may not increase sales immediately but it is an investment in the growth of your business for the long term.

Social media is constantly changing. And so many customers rely on social media when making decisions on where to spend their money. For example, Facebook no longer allows many of the “baiting” behaviors of the past. Now all users must be conscientious about posting meaningful and authentic content that others want to engage with. This is a great time to get a better game plan to have better content on your social media platforms. This will increase your brand awareness by using cheaper means of marketing to your advantage!

Make a More Strategic Plan Going Forward to Increase Sales

Many times business owners do not put together an encompassing business plan to get their business off the ground. Successful businesses at the beginning usually don't exactly know what is attrutible to their success. Businesses MUST take advantage of slow times to figure out what they are doing right and where they can do better. It is difficult to know how to do things differently if they don't know what did or didn't work previously. Without creating a better plan for the future, it is hard to think sales will increase or business will flourish again.

As I talked previously about “Wandering Entrepreneurs“, entrepreneurs without a sense of purpose or sense of direction fail to get the most out of their businesses. Owners can easily increase sales or increase profitability if more business decisions are made with care and forethought. Most people who win Monopoly on a consistent basis don't just “walk over” the Boardwalk, right?

Ask for Help!

Entrepreneurs are notoriously strong-willed and stubborn. That attitude and personality are how they got to be an entrepreneur. Stubborn people also find it hard to admit when a problem actually exists. Putting your head in the sand and ignoring advice can be the tipping point that takes your business under.

Talk with other entrepreneurs or mentors you know and trust! In fact, most people may not know you are struggling until you reach out. In addition, true entrepreneurs like to help other entrepreneurs out by providing networking connections, experience or advice. Look for those who are more knowledgeable and can give solid advice. Other's experiences can be one of the most valuable assets to increase sales and overall health of your business.

I want to hear what you do when business is slow! Comment below or contact me! Even better, join me over on Facebook!

6 Fashionable and Classic Wardrobe Essentials

6 Fashionable and Classic Wardrobe Essentials

Minimalism is the new way of living in the 21st century and that includes closets. When you only have so much room in your closet and dresser you need all the fashionable and classic pieces to create the style and look you are wanting for every occasion. But it can be hard to find pieces that are both fashionable AND classic! Here are some suggestions to keep in the closet at all times:

 

1. Classic Demin Jeans (No Low Rise!)

Everyone needs a classic pair of jeans. They don't have to be super expensive but they must flatter your body type and work for nearly every occasion. We all have that one favorite pair of low rise jeans that we can't bear to get rid of. But if you are over the age of 21, you really need a pair of medium-dark straight leg and mid-rise jeans. Don't feel like you have to buy the most expensive pair but don't go cheap. You will have these forever.

 

2. Fashionable Shoes that Go with Any Outfit

 

Let's talk shoes. I LOVE shoes. I love heels. Tall heels. However, after a bunionectomy and an ankle reconstruction surgery, no longer are my days of the 4-inch stilettos or super cheap and trendy shoes that make my feet bleed after an hour of wearing them. Those days have sailed away. Every woman needs the following:

 

  • A pair of ballerina flats (My favorites are Tieks. Don't be afraid of the price tag. Take my word for it – they are worth it!)
  • A pair of leather boots or booties
  • Kitten heel or chunky heel shoes
  • A pair of white tennis shoes
  • A pair of classic neutral sandals

 

3. A Solid White Tee

 

No matter what you wear, a solid white oversized or fitted tee can go anywhere. It never offends people or feels not appropriate for a certain occasion. White tees, whether they are larger or have a more fitted look, bring attention to other parts of your body you want to accentuate. They can also be styled many different ways so it never feels boring. Classic and fashionable don't always mean boring!

 

4. Fitted Black Blazer

 

I have a fitted black blazer I bought five years ago and it has saved my butt so many times. Blazers are the go-to cover up for a cold office or when I am put in a situation that my shoulders should be covered. The best thing about blazers: it can dress up jeans or tone down a fancy dress. And it can show I am here for business or I am here for a party. A black blazer is ALWAYS  an acceptable wardrobe piece.
TIP: Make sure your blazer is fitted to you. If you pay a pretty penny for a blazer that is quality and can be used over and over, it is worth finding a good seamstress to bring in the shoulders, waist or arm sleeves.

 

5. A Neutral Color Dress for Any Occasion

 

You never know what will happen in life. When a relative dies and you need to go to a funeral, the last thing you want to be doing is shopping for a dress that is flattering, respectful, and fits. Another reason you keep a classic and respectable dress in your closet at all times is for when you meet someone's parents. Mother in Laws judge. Don't give them a reason to dislike you. (Trust me on this one as well!)  Keep a solid black dress or another neutral color dress (I don't suggest white) in your closet so you will always have something to turn to that will not embarrass your mother or mother in law.

 

6. A Solid Color Sweater

 

Solid warm sweaters are forever. If laundered property, they should also last forever. This is another piece that is very likely always appropriate. It is never too revealing and can be put on by itself or on top of a collared shirt. You can use accessories to style any sweater up or down for the appropriate time.

 

Extra Tips from Christine

 

First, these items are worth getting one or two very nice pieces rather than 10 trendy and cheaper pieces. Many times price is indicative of quality and length of wear. I would rather have 4 pairs of expensive and quality shoes that I won't be begging to throw off at the end of a workday than 15 pairs that the heel breaks off after the third time I wear them. It may feel like a lot of money for a dress or a sweater, but the amount of times it can be worn over the years is important too.

 

Lastly, if you have a choice to go with a classic piece over a trendy piece, ALWAYS pick the classic. Just trust me on this one. Classic will always be fashionable but trendy will not always be fashionable.
Have a suggestion that should be on this list? Comment below or contact me here! Better yet, are you looking for some of these classic staples for your closet? Come over to my Facebook Group to see some clothes that you can add to your wardrobe!

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