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8 Things You Need To Do To Wrap Up Your Year Right


Clean out email 

  • Clear your inbox! – Set aside time to sift through email – don’t go into 2011 with unanswered email over your head.
  • Delete any unread newsletters, articles, feeds, magazines. Let them go – there will plenty more in 2011!
  • Empty your sent, trash and archive files. It will speed up your email program!



  • Pay bills and issue invoices if you’re a SBO or contractor
  • Balance your financial accounts
  • Organize your financial documents in one place – makes tax time easier
  • Make budget for 2013!

Clear your space

  • Tackle paper files - sort, toss & file old papers – condense & organize files
  • Organize your work space – clean slate in 2013
  • Check your supplies – do you have enough to get you thru? Too many?

Tackle your computer

  • Clean up your E-desk - Delete, condense, and organize desktop shortcuts & electronic files.
  • Uninstall programs you no longer use
  • Back up your computer files to an external hard drive or the cloud!
  • Consider your electronic needs and equipment – do you need to upgrade

Evaluate unfinished projects - do they still matter to you? If not, let them go…

Do a review of the year – What did you achieve? What went worked? What didn’t?

Set goals, intentions, focus for 2012… what do you want next year to look like?

Rest - give yourself permission to take a well-deserved break!

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My Ridiculously Simple Secret for Maintaining Order


Hopefully you read the previous post, Create Order the Ben Franklin Way. If you haven’t you might want to go back and read it first. However, this tip can stand on its own.

Herein lies the stumbling block that most run up against. You have to make order the path of least resistance! How do you do that? By having a place for everything and clear focus on, doing what’s in front of you, doing what’s next and doing what’s important.

Let’s take that one step further…

You have to expend large amount of energy setting up and maintaining new systems.
What if I told you that you don’t actually need any “system” to have more order in your life…?

Blasphemous, I know, especially coming out of the mouth, (or from the keyboard) of a productivity proponent. That is not to say that systems for productivity are bad, or ineffective. They can be extremely effective if used properly and consistently. In fact, I have many systems and rules that I live and work by. However, I am a naturally organized 

person, so routines are comfortable. I tend to gravitate to order, so increasing that order or getting back into the groove comes pretty easily to me.

What about the person who doesn’t have my preferences or personality. Are they doomed to hopeless disorganization? Nope, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Shhh, here’s the secret…

Ready? DO IT NOW.

No elaborate system. Just one single rule. DO IT NOW. Take whatever action is required immediately, not in a few minutes, not in a little while, not tomorrow or when I have more time. YOU’LL NEVER HAVE MORE TIME.

Come in the door; take off your coat, HANG IT UP NOW. No coats on back of chairs or stairway rail!

Getting out of the car, grab the wrapper, cups, papers, etc. BRING THEM DIRECTLY TO THE GARBAGE NOW. – Clean car!

Get an email, read it. Take action right away. DELETE, DO, DELEGATE, DEFER. – Less cluttered inbox!

Want to exercise? Get out workout clothes, before bed. Wake up, put on exercise gear first thing, and go DO IT. Absolutely must do it later in the day. Make an appt. with an exercise partner. Put it on your calendar.

Don’t put papers in a pile. Put them where they go. Filing folder, action folder, folder of papers to delegate/deliver to someone else. If you don’t have appropriate folders or baskets, make them. In those situations where a system is absolutely necessary, MAKE IT RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE.

What happens when you can’t do something now? Record it as a task for later. Assign a due date if you can. You don’t have to use an elaborate system with categories if that doesn’t work for you. (If you follow GTD, you probably don’t need this post anyway.) Just write it down so you don’t forget.

Long before 7 Habits and GTD, men like Benjamin Franklin accomplished remarkable things without complicated systems. If you’re like most, seeking more order and complex systems don’t work for you, try this simplest advice there is.

Do it now

Put it where it goes

If you can’t do it now, record it, then when the time comes…do it now.

And cut yourself a break for crying out loud. Ben Franklin didn’t have a corporate office, carpool, and large home to maintain. Do your best to make order the path of least resistance and slowly change your patterns. Over time, you will see disorder lose its grip.

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Create Order the Ben Franklin Way


Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time – Ben Franklin

Centuries have passed since Benjamin Franklin created his treatise on how to live a virtuous life. He stressed the value of cultivating order (the third virtue) to allow him to accomplish more in his daily life. Franklin understood that to get the important things done in life, he had to make sure the little things wouldn’t get in the way.

Our lives today are considerably busier, with more distractions than Franklin could possibly imagine. Order is more crucial than at any time in our history. We desperately seek ways to get more done in the same 24 hours, while at the same time trying to find a sense of balance and calm. A vast amount of advice is available at our fingertips, books, blogs, and experts on how to be more productive, yet despite the information out there, we still have difficulty finding that elusive quality of order in our lives. Why?


Portrait of typical order reformer:

Woman/man decides they’re going to get their life in order once and for all. They resolve to make their bed every morning, tidy the house, clean all their piles organize their calendar, clean out their inbox, set up an efficient organization system. That lasts a few days, maybe a week, and then they fall off the wagon, wondering what went wrong. Sound familiar.

Every time you attempt to organize your life or change your behavior in any way, you’re fighting against our natural instinct to cling to choose the path of least resistance, which generally means, reverting to known behaviors. It doesn’t matter that they weren’t working, what matters is that they are comfortable and familiar.

Herein lies the stumbling block that most run up against. You have to make order the path of least resistance! How do you do that? By having a place for everything and clear focus on, doing what’s in front of you, doing what’s next and doing what’s important.

Want more help? Next, post I’ll share my ridiculously simple secret for maintaining order. Stay tuned…


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Why You Need to Go with the Flow

The entire course of our life follows a cyclical pattern of good and bad, up and down, more then less. Everything flows this way, years, months, weeks, days, hours. High energy, then low energy, creativity, then boredom, tremendous focus, then distractibility.

The key is in understanding how to use these shifts to our advantage. We can channel these fluctuations, if we understand how they affect our moods, actions, and productivity. It can be a valuable tool lower stress and improve the quality of our lives.

How can we do this?


When are you the most focused? The most distracted? The most tired? Energized?

How does lunch affect you? Difficulty concentrating or energized?

Are their times when you prefer to be more social? Periods when you want to be left alone?

Are there periods when you can’t seem to sit still?

When do you find it easier work on long projects?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge?


Look at what you do each day…each week…each month.

Shift whichever projects, tasks, or activities you can so they better match your energy?

Propose changes for activities that involve others. Altering the schedule may help them as well.

Schedule detail work or highly creative activities; designing, writing, idea development for times when you are better able to focus?

Do social tasks/activities during times when you feel the most social; meetings, calls, project collaboration.

Save tedious or repetitive tasks, like data entry, billing, reports, filing for when you can be quiet and alone.

Everyone is unique. Don’t conform to other people’s cycles or moods.

Some things are beyond our control. Manage what you can. Deal with the rest. You’ll be surprised at how flexible other people can often be once they understand why you’re making this type of request.

Big Picture

Think about what happens throughout the year. Some months are usually busier, while some are quieter and more flexible.

Consider commitments that you have in the other area of your life. If you have young children, parent who needs care, or a spouse who travels or works a lot, take that into account when taking on a new project, role, or responsibility.

Our persistent tendency to compel our brains and our bodies to conform to a schedule that conflicts with our individual energy patterns adds stress to our already unbalanced lives.

Stop fighting it and go with the flow…at least sometimes.

Your turn…Thoughts?


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Are You Up for The Challenge?

I challenge you to a race…

A race against time. A race against yourself.

What could you do faster? Where would a bit lower quality be OK if it saved you time? What is necessary, but you’d like to spend less time on it?

Perfection is the enemy of time. Distraction is the enemy of time. Overwhelm is the enemy of time. Mindless activities are the enemy of time.

We are often our own worst enemy of time.

In many cases, we can do something to save, recover, and take back that time.

Challenge yourself to a race.

I’ll be doing it along with you.

Great candidates for a TIME CHALLENGE:

Email –always at the top of the list

Social media – another top contender

Household chores – vacuuming, mopping, dusting, clean up

De-cluttering and purging – tackle those pile, closets, shelves

Organizing – rearrange, put items back, restore order

Filing – just do it

Phone calls – keep it brief, no chitchat

Meetings – agenda, timer

Writing – stop censoring and editing as you write; edit later

There are many others. Tasks you dread. Activities that are time wasters. Necessary, but tedious. Whatever may be on your, “Oh no, not again,” list.

Here’s the simple challenge.

Choose an activity. Decide the amount of time to allot. Settle on the acceptable quality. Set a timer. GO!

How many emails can you get through in 20 minutes?

How many words can you write in an hour?

Can you get the filing done in 15 minutes?

What can you cover in a 30-minute meeting if you stay on topic?

How many calls can you make in 45 minutes if you cut chitchat?

Dusting race – 10 minutes. Good enough is the key phrase.

Sort, purge, piles. 30 minutes. 60 minutes. When in doubt, throw it out.

So many options. So much time saved.

The best part. When you’re done, use some of that recovered time to treat yourself.



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