Use This Tool to Relieve Tax Time Stress – A Tax Time Checklist from SMEAD

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Office, Paper, Time and Money Management No Comments »

Paper. Receipts. Files. Documentation. STRESS. It’s tax time!

Here’s a novel idea… instead of struggling with it, just do the doing, let it go and enjoy your life!

It is what it is, and all the complaining we hear people do doesn’t change it.

I HAVE A HELPFUL CHECKLIST FOR YOU!

I follow several office supply stores, I love office supplies. And SMEAD has a great TAX TIME page and FREE TAX TIME CHECKLIST for you.

They say, “Reduce your worries this year by following this step-by-step tax time checklist as you prepare your return or meet with your CPA or tax advisor.”

Checklist: Tax Time Checklist

Download Checklist

Review the checklist.

Download the checklist.

B-R-E-A-T-H-E…

Do the doing.

Get your taxes done BEFORE the deadline!!

BAM. DONE!

You’re welcome! 

By the way, SMEAD is women owned. You can tell. Check out all their cool lists and helpful paper/office organizing ideas!! Go girls!

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Organize Your Finances – Get Your Credit Score For Free

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Business Success, Office, Paper, Time and Money Management No Comments »

money - bills and credit card by wallet

Do you know what your credit score is?

Is 300 better or worse than an 850 credit score?

Do you know why you need to know?

Whether for your personal life and/or business life, you need to know your credit score.

  • Your credit score is a three-digit number derived from detailed information about your credit history, and it can be one of your most valuable assets.
  • Your credit score will play an important role in your financial future: it can mean the difference between being able to purchase a home with a mortgage or having to continue renting.
  • It can also drastically affect the rate of interest you pay on your loans (car loans, home loans, privately consolidated student loans, etc.). The higher (and better) your credit score, the less interest you will have to pay each month and overall.
  • Your credit risk is evaluated, largely by reference to your credit score, any time you apply for a credit card or any type of loan. Keep in mind, though, that landlords, utility companies, and potential employers may also take this information into account.
  • A poor credit history may mean having to make a large deposit in order to open an account with the electric company or to sign a new lease. It could even mean the loss of job opportunities.

Various organizations provide different credit scores, though all are similarly calculated. The FICO score is the best known and most widely used credit score. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850, and those with scores of 740 and higher are typically entitled to the best interest rates.

So, how can you get your credit score today, for free?

According to The Wall Street Journal, a handful of companies are launching services that give consumers at least a glimpse at their credit scores free of charge and also offer a window into the key factors that go into calculating your score, what you can do to improve them and how your credit stacks up against others. Here are three:

Credit.com Inc.

Credit Karma Inc.’s CreditKarma.com

Quizzle.com

 

Sources:

Personal Finance @ Duke

The Wall Street Journal

Ebook-ImpDocs-2-246x300

 

Do you need help getting your vital documents in order? Order my ebook to get organized quickly and de-stress over these life issues that affect you and yoaur family every day. How To Organize Important (Vital) Documents.

 

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Paper VS iPad – Who’s Side Are You On?

Change and Transition, Office, Paper No Comments »

 

Good job, Emma! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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How To Replace Important Papers Lost In The St. Vrain River and Boulder Creek Floods

Disaster and Preparation, Office, Paper, Safety and Security No Comments »

org - social security card

If you’ve ever lost your driver’s license, you know how frustrating and stressful it can be to a) realize it, but b) to get another made.

Now, add to that all of your important documents, like birth certificates, social security card, insurance papers, credit cards, passport and more.

No matter where you live, if you go through a flood, hurricane, tornado, fire or other disaster where you can’t retrieve your important documents, it can feel overwhelming.

How To Replace Important Papers Lost In The St. Vrain River and Boulder Creek Floods

The Longmont Times-Call Newspaper ran an article to help you out.

Go to the link below for the article to help make this process much easier.

http://www.timescall.com/news/colorado-flood/ci_24118431/how-replace-those-papers-lost-st-vrain-river

My prayers and thoughts go out to you and all in 15 counties devastated by the flood waters this past week.

Do You Have Computer Vision Syndrome? Take Care Of Your Eyes While Using Your Computer

Aging Well, Health and Medical, Office, Paper, Stress Management No Comments »

computer - eye in computer

With all the time we spend in front of the computer screens these days, we should not take for granted that our eyes (neck, back, etc.) are “just fine” without special consideration.

3 Steps to Keep Your Eyes Healthy While Using Your Computer and Other Tech-Gadgets

Opticians are telling their patients to exercise their eyes using the “20-20-20 Rule.” Here’s how this simple exercise works. Start today and take care of your precious eyes.

computer - looking out window

STEP 1: Give your eyes a break. Look away.

One of the biggest causes of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue when using anything with a computer screen and up close. Use what eye doctors call the “20-20-20 Rule” to help yourself starting immediately.

EXERCISE: To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen,

….. 1. look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and

….. 2. gaze at a distant object at least 20 feet away (if you can, look outdoors at nature which also helps your brain health)

….. 3. for at least 20 seconds.

Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue. You will also notice that you breathe more deeply and relax when looking away from the screen. This is good for your whole body health.

Reduce the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up

EXERCISE: Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this 10 times.

This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up” (a condition called accommodative spasm) after prolonged computer work.

Both of these exercises will reduce your risk of computer eye strain. Also, remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye. eye care - blinking eyes in work LOOK

STEP 2: Blink more often.

Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

We “stare” at our computer screens for long periods of time without blinking, in fact, about one-third as often as we normally do.

According to studies, many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems.

If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day. You can also buy over the counter “tears”, like Refresh Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, Moisture Drops for Dry Eyes.

NOTE: Don’t confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops formulated to “get the red out.” The latter can indeed make your eyes look better — they contain ingredients that reduce the size of blood vessels on the surface of your eyes to “whiten” them. But they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness and irritation.

EXERCISE: To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this:

Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes all the way and very slowly, as if falling asleep. This will help rewet your eyes.

man - on scooter

STEP 3: Take a break.

To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome, as well as neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent breaks during your computer work day.

EXERCISE: Time permitting of  course, one should walk 20 paces after every 20 minutes of sitting in one particular posture. This also helps blood and oxygen circulation for the entire body as well as the eyes.

How can I do this and is it going to interfere with my work?

Many workers take only two 15-minute breaks from their computer throughout their work day. According to a recent NIOSH study, discomfort and eye strain were significantly reduced when computer workers took four additional five-minute “mini-breaks” throughout their work day.

And these supplementary breaks did not reduce the workers’ productivity. Data entry speed was significantly faster as a result of the extra breaks, so work output was maintained even though the workers had 20 extra minutes of break time each day.

During your computer breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.

I hope this is helpful. Now, excuse me while I take a 20 second mini-break away from my computer screen! 🙂 //

 

 

Create Healthy Habits: Declutter and Organize

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Business Success, Office, Paper, Sorting, Stress Management, Time and Money Management No Comments »

before 1 - sam desk

Whether in your office, or all around your house, how does clutter make you feel?

If the answer is “not good” and “stressed out”, then creating healthy declutter and organizing habits is the answer.

When you have healthy habits around how your stuff and things sit, stay and move in your life and environment, life flows much more smoothly. Healthy habits will keep you from chaos and crisis like:

  • mislaying your keys
  • forgetting to pay a bill
  • paying the consequences for said unpaid bills in the form of overdrafts, late fees and service charges
  • lost and unfiled documents
  • add your own___________________________

EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE

Having a specific place for everything makes it easier to find what you need, when you need it. It also keeps us moving through our day without unnecessary barriers and adrenaline surges from fear – that are very, very bad for our health.

after - sam desk 2

 

Let’s face it, life is naturally going to throw us enough curve balls that we have little or no control over in any given day without our continually contributing to the stressors that we do have control over.

Clutter makes us feel bogged down, out of control, confused, and tired. Studies have also shown that it can contribute to weight gain!

For many people, when clutter is allowed to build up, it is a measure of lack of interest in self-care and in decision making, commitment and solving problems. Putting off organizing projects and tasks, delaying and escaping them is not the answer.

If a person has a deep enough lack of care for themselves and their surroundings, they might not be taking care of their health either, hence, weight gain.

So, lose the WAIT!

To live a healthier, happier life, make it your mission to stop waiting and putting off what is right in front of you. Tackle the clutter in your home or workspace.

A perfect home and office is not necessarily attainable (and not necessary), and for sure won’t happen overnight. But, you can make a plan and set a schedule of doable time blocks to start and get moving on your TO DOs that you can TO DO and get TO DONE.

MAKE IT A HEALTHY HABIT

Make it a daily habit to get and stay organized.

Plan for one to three or more hour declutter projects as well as daily 15 – 20 minute “clean up and put back into place” ones. See how much you can get done and how much better you start feeling.

Don’t let another summer go by without taking care of what is screaming at you right here, right now. You’ll feel so great when you’re done, like a some of my clients here!…

“I struggled with my clutter for so long and Kim helped me see that if I just step into it and start I can make changes quickly. I hired her for big and small projects alike and we got done so much so fast I was amazed. Her teaching me how to do the doing, as she calls is, really helped too.” ~ Carmen, Ft. Collins, CO

“I would not have imagined that you could help me get organized over the phone! My piles and stacks are sorted and organized. Thank you for working with me long distance, Kim. It really worked well and I’ve told all my friends to call you from wherever they live!” ~ Candice, New York, NY

LET’S GET YOUR STUFF ORGANIZED TODAY!

Contact me today and let’s jump into your piles and clean them up so that you can feel better and better and enjoy your life NOW!

Call 303.485.5280, email kim@drdeclutter.com or read more on my site.

 

 

7 Ways to Declutter Your Email Inbox

Business Success, Office, Paper, Stress Management, Time and Money Management No Comments »

computer with HELP on screen

How many emails do you have in your email inbox?

How many can you really read in this lifetime?!

Is your inbox stressing you out?

Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and press the DELETE ALL button, declutter your inbox, and start over.

delete key

Cluttered, overloaded inboxes waste time and sacrifice productivity. Use these 7 simple ways to declutter your inbox and get time and space back quickly.

1. Set up Priority Inbox.

If you use Gmail, there’s a feature called Priority Inbox. Priority Inbox puts new emails in two different places within your inbox – one for those it considers important, and another for ones it considers unimportant, based on the sender and subject line. So, even though you might have 90+ new emails when you fire up your computer in the morning, you can immediately see the 12 that need your attention, rather than getting lost in a sea of “daily deal” offers and cat slideshows until lunch.

Check your email provider options and see if it has something like this.

2. Create filters.

Many email providers allow you to set up filters for certain types of emails. You can use these filters to do lots of things – apply a certain label to an email, delete it, send it immediately to a certain folder and more. For the emails that you get a lot of that aren’t urgent, set up filters for them to skip your inbox and go straight into a certain folder to look at later. Then, once a day, go into that folder and see what’s new. I use this for topics I research often and get great ideas to help my blog readers.

3. Create and name folders.

This is like using the auto-filter system, but you create the folder and then click and drag, or click and move the email to your specified folder.

4. Use Boomerang For Gmail.

Boomerang is a free plug-in for Firefox and Chrome with Gmail that allows you to do things like schedule an email to send in the future, bring an email back to your inbox at a certain time (like your flight itinerary the day before your trip) or return an email back to your inbox if you have not received a reply to it after X days. Rather than leaving an email in your inbox just to remind yourself to follow up on it or have it to easily access for later, use Boomerang to clear it out for now and have it come back when you actually need it.

5. Unsubscribe from 90 percent of the lists you’re on.

The 80/20 Rule says we only use or don’t use 80% of what we have. With email, it’s usually more like 90% that  we really don’t read, and can’t, there’s only so much time. So, decide on the 10-20% that is important and focus on those.

While you probably just delete most of the unwanted emails every day — like snail-junk-mail that you keep recycling but don’t actually get off their mailing list — they clog your inbox, keep coming back, waste your time checking them off and then pushing delete, and make it hard for you to see the emails that actually matter. Time to unsubscribe.

Ways to unsubscribe:

a) If your email system will sort under the FROM column (Gmail will not unfortunately), click on FROM and they will line up A-Z. Find the ones you want to unsubscribe from and click open only one in that group. Find the unsubscribe link within it, usually at the bottom, click and complete. Then, go back into your email and delete all from that same sender. Done!

b) Or, for a span of about a week or so, every time you get an email you do not want to receive take the time to open it, scroll down, and unsubscribe from the list. It will require a little more time upfront but it will pay off in the long run when the number of emails you receive on a daily basis goes way, way down.

c) Use the Swizzle. You can also use a service like the Swizzle to help you unsubscribe from a ton of lists all at once or to opt to receive daily digests from certain lists instead of individual emails.

d) Try JustDelete.me.

6. Use your calendar rather than your inbox.

People often leave emails in their inbox to remind them to do something – to make a call, start a project, or to follow up with someone. Instead of taking up valuable inbox space with emails you have already read, schedule these to-dos in your calendar to remind yourself. If you’ve been meaning to call to make an appointment somewhere but the place doesn’t open until Tuesday, create an event in your calendar for Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. as a reminder, rather than leaving the related email in your inbox (which you might not even see on Tuesday anyway because you have another dozen to 100 that came in since then and it’s just too overwhelming).

computer - finger clicking key with light shining

7. Delete them all and start over!

The co-founder of Twitter says that he has “email bankruptcy every 30 days.” He deletes all emails in his inbox and starts over. He said that he gets thousands of emails a month and doesn’t have an assistant or anyone to help, and wants to keep it that way and personal. So, he dumps them all and says, “If someone really wants to contact me, they’ll email me again, or, try Twitter!”

Like decluttering anything, when you finally do it, it really does feel great.

2 BONUS E-DECLUTTER IDEAS:

Make a self-imposed rule: Like material clutter, every time you opt into a new  ezine, you have to unsubscribe from one.

Or, just like “you can’t buy anymore because there’s no room, no place to put more,” think of your inbox the same way. You can’t “bring any more home” unless you declutter first!

Personal Note: Of course, I hope you enjoy my newsletter enough to not delete it or unsubscribe! But, it’s okay if you do too, I understand. 🙂

 

book cover - BYHD

 

Find more information on decluttering home and office/paper and more in my information packed ebook

Burn Your House Down! And 99 other ways to create an organized life.

 

 

9 Tips To Keep From Getting Your Computer Hacked When Using Free Wi-Fi Anywhere

Business Success, Office, Paper, Safety and Security No Comments »

Wait for a quick ad and then you’re in!

 

Using your laptop at your favorite cafe, latte’ lounge or airport?

Many computer and data security experts say you should avoid public Wi-Fi all together due to the rise in free Wi-Fi hacking.

There are ways to be more secure. If you need to check something on the internet, you can follow these suggestions to keep your risk to a minimum.

Here are 9 suggestions and tips to help you out.

   You can also read more about FREE Wi-Fi tips from John Sileo.

1. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection.

Check with your work or school to see if it offers this connection. Turning on a VPN connection on a public Wi-Fi network is like creating a secure digital tunnel your data can travel through that is out of reach of hackers. Data is encrypted. Some companies will provide you with a VPN client, which is software on your computer.

2. Use encrypted browsing.

When connecting to websites, see if there is an “s” after “http” in the your browser. It should look like “https://” This insures the data you’re sending and receiving from this website is encrypted on a Wi-Fi network. Watch out while using websites that don’t use this type of browsing.

3. Turn off sharing!

Many laptops have “sharing” enabled on some of their hard drives and printers. This allows someone using the same network as you to open up whatever you have “shared.” To find out how to turn off sharing, you can usually find the answer in the help section of your computer software. Right-clicking on your hard drive and folder icons can also open up the properties section in Windows so you can disable sharing.

4. Set up firewalls on your computer or device. Firewalls can be set up using software that will filter data. Firewalls can be set to stop connections to certain websites while on a public Wi-Fi network.

5. Don’t do any banking or shopping on public networks.

Even if you’re using an encrypted connection, it’s best to avoid plugging in credit card numbers while using pubic Wi-Fi. Thieves have been known to watch people type in their credit card numbers on keyboards.

6. Don’t automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks.

Some devices and computers have a setting that allow you to “remember” Wi-Fi network so you don’t have to repeatedly click on it to connect. Leaving this function on can cause your computer to connect to the network without your knowledge.

7. Use reputable anti-virus software.

Hackers can also install malware on your laptop if you’re using their bogus Wi-Fi network. The malware can be used to log your keystrokes.

8. Question the Wi-Fi network.

If you must use public Wi-Fi, ask the business behind it to make sure you’re connecting to the legit network. Employees or management at a hotel or coffee shop should be able to recognize the network.

9. Change your passwords routinely and use multiple passwords.

Hackers know people have a habit of using the same two or three passwords for their email, banking and social media accounts. Try not to use the same passwords and routinely change them to something complex. Avoid incorporating children’s names or birthdays in your passwords.

See this full article and tips at Denver 9news.com.

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9 Reasons To Send Holiday Thank You Notes

Holiday Organizing All Year Round, Inner Clutter: Consciousness Building and Self-Care, Office, Paper, Time and Money Management No Comments »

While growing up in my parent’s home my mom was adamant that we kids thanked people for gifts, as in “Thank you notes.” I’m really big on sending thank you’s. I love sending them and receiving them! Mom did a great job of training us up right on this one for sure! Well, at least I learned it!!

Thank you notes are important for any reason, but for this post I’m focusing on the holidays.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A THANK YOU NOTE IN OUR HIGH-TECH CULTURE?

There a lots of ways to say thank you.

1. Make a phone call.

2. Email.

3. Text.

4. Facebook DM.

5. Tweet.

6. But, really, this is the way I’m talking about – mail, real paper and envelope and stamp in “snail” mail.

Why real mail?

Our tech-savvy world is all interesting, necessary and etc., but standing still, taking real time, effort and thought and truly being grateful is getting lost quickly in our digital age.

Real cards in the mail mean a lot to people. They really stick with us as opposed to a fleeting email or text that is lost in the e-stack of others, read so quickly that, like Teflon, it slides right off our mind, emotions and memory.

Have you sent thank you’s to people for your Christmas gifts yet? Don’t wait until February, do it this month while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Click on card above to order if you don’t have any!

9 REASONS TO SEND THANK YOU NOTES

1. You are grateful, appreciative and thankful for the gift, gesture, event or whatever, right? Show your gratitude.

2.  We all love to be acknowledged for what they are doing well.

3.  By sending a thank-you note, you show others common courtesy and respect.

4.  A thank-you note lets you say lots of other good stuff too that you might still want to share, a nice completion to Christmas before the new year rolls in and over us too quickly and it’s all forgotten.

5. Because, love is a verb.  A thank you note means that you took your time and attention and “loved” this person and what they did.

6.  Sending a “real” thank you note is a learned skill for most people that is all about social skills, communication skills as well as life, business and relationship skill building. (Teach your kids now!)

7. You will get good back 180 for doing this. What we give, we receive 100 fold in ways that may surprise you.

8. Because it feels so good! And, when we feel good and share love back, we are helping our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves.

9. It keeps us grounded and human in our fast-paced, distracted, detached world.

Writing thank-you notes shouldn’t be hard, but will take a bit of your time. Find or make the time and love others back with a real thank you today. My mom will be proud!

 

Here are more generic examples. Click to buy now if you don’t have time to shop! Use all year long for all notes of appreciation!

 

Holiday Clutter Prevention: Stop Donation Clutter from Coming into Your Life

- ORGANIZING TIPS AND TOOLS, Environment: Green, Sustainable, Recycle, Reuse, Holiday Organizing All Year Round, Office, Paper, Time and Money Management No Comments »

Do charities and causes reaching out to your mind and pocket during the holidays wear you down?

During the upcoming weeks you may be bombarded with “opportunities to donate” in the form of pamphlets, flyers and whatever else comes handed to you at the doors of your grocery store (feed the poor); at work (give); on your door (donate); at your place of worship or community (upcoming events), in your mail box (we need your support again this year) and more.

Flyers. Pieces of colored paper promoting something important. Are they really?

STOP PAPER OVERWHELM

Yes, well… some of these things ARE important and you may even want to be a part of them, donate or whatever. However, you don’t have to take the flyer to do it. The plan here is to stop more unwanted, unsolicited pieces of paper from cluttering up your car, purse, briefcase, pockets and house.

KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOUR SELF!

I’ve learned that the easiest way for me to do this is to keep my hands in my pockets or behind my back. I “used to” be one of those people who just automatically accepted stuff that was put in front of me. The first couple of times I didn’t accept those pieces of paper I felt odd, kind of wrong, like something was missing. I got over it!

HOLIDAY DONATION CLUTTER PREVENTION PLAN

It’s okay not to accept pieces of paper, including business cards! It’s okay to listen to the pitch. It’s great to give and participate. But, be selective.

1. Plan your giving. You literally can not give to all charities or causes. It’s not possible.

2. Do all accepting and giving from an open and loving heart, not begrudgingly or from duty.

3. Feel free to contact the cause organization and get off their mailing list.

Happy Holidays. Give from your heart and have a wonderful (less cluttered) holiday season!

Kim

 

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