Google Docs

You might remember my first introduction to cloud computing was a client who used Google Calendar.  My first business e-mail was a Gmail account and as I was looking around, I saw Google offering Docs.  So, as I was building this business, I used Google Docs as a way to share ideas and collaborate with others.  Google also offers spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and forms, though I’ve not used any of these yet.  All you need to use Google Docs is a Gmail account, which you can get free.

I’ll be honest; I don’t use Google Docs much these days.  When I was collaborating more, it was a great way to share ideas.  I still use it when I need to grab some text for various things – like when I post ads to Craigslist or someone wants a bio.  Part of this is that I’ve not bothered to get many of the files onto my computer and it’s simple and easy to get it from Google Docs.


Google Docs Screenshot

Google Docs Screenshot

I appreciate the simplicity of the layout – you can see that along the left side are the options for creating new documents and uploading files.  Below this are more categories and then folders that I created so my overall file list was easier to navigate.  The center shows the complete list (based on the selection – in this case, “all items”) of my files.  This includes files I’ve viewed from other’s shared collections – I was surprised to see “Heartbreaker Valentines.pdf” there.  This was something I looked at and never realized it was part of Google Docs! The right side is something relatively new – where it provides some additional information on the file that’s highlighted from the middle.

I like how they’ve set up the collaborating options – since you can create files that are public, anyone with a link to the file, or private.  Even when you decide to keep the settings as private, you can still share the file with others and controlling whether you want them to be able to edit the file or to just view it.  When you share a file, the person you’re sharing it with does not need a Gmail account – which I think is wonderful.

With how I’ve tended to use Google Docs, I’ve never needed or wanted many editing or formatting features –for my purposes, they have what I need.  I’ve heard there’s some struggles with creating and editing tables with Google Docs.  I find the editing tools easy to find and use – and without many the additional options I rarely use even with MS Word.  I also like that they frequently save your work as you go – mostly seamlessly – but include a “save now” button so you can also save it when you need.

As with all cloud computing, it’s accessible whenever you have an Internet connection.  I’ve found the accessibility to questionable with other devices – Google Docs has only recently been improving their functionality (in my opinion) for smart phones and other devices, like the iPad.  Just the other day I was using my iPad to access Google Docs and I kept getting an error message – while other applications that need the Internet were running perfectly.  I’m pleased they’ve been improving their mobile accessibility, and am hopeful it will become useful.  At this point, I avoid doing it if possible.

Google Docs is free and easy to use.  I love the idea that anywhere I am with some time on my hands and an Internet connection I could sign in and be productive.  Is this something that would benefit you and your life?

Organizing Your Kitchen

Is your kitchen where people congregate when they visit?  We’ve probably all seen our fair share of TV shows and movies where people gather at the kitchen table and talk – hence the idea of the kitchen being the heart of a home.  Then there’s the other side where the kitchen is only peripheral to socializing.  Whatever the case may be for you, having an organized kitchen only makes life easier – simplifying preparing food, storing food, and cleaning up.

The idea of organizing your kitchen might be daunting; there are so many different aspects of it.  If (or hopefully when) you decide to organize your kitchen, here are some steps you can take to make it easier.  As you begin to sort through your kitchen items, think about the kitchen work triangle.

The kitchen work triangle typically focuses on the cleaning/preparation area, the cooking area, and the refrigerator, as the cold storage area.  These are the areas where you spend most of your time and if you can simplify the process of moving between these areas – the easier your time in the kitchen will become.  This may not be the time to actually rearrange things, but a good time to think about if there are better ways of placing things.

First, break it into distinct steps – don’t pull everything out all at once.  Depending on the size of your kitchen and the items you have, decide on pots and pans only.  Pull all of those out and see what you have.  In our small kitchen, we could pull all the dishes out and not be overwhelmed, but this will depend on your specific situation.  The idea is to break the groups into manageable sections – you need to decide that for yourself – and try to err on the side of too little, so you won’t become overwhelmed with all that you’ve pulled out in one fell swoop.

Some idea of distinct groups

  • dishes
  • glasses and mugs
  • pots and pans
  • baking pans
  • plastic containers
  • silverware
  • utensils

We often use only 20% of what we own and this applies to our kitchen things too.  As you look at the duplicates or close to duplicates, consider whether one thing actually functions for other items.  If you have 5 frying pans – all different sizes – are there two or three that use almost exclusively?  How many do you need – what’s the largest party you’ve had?  Going from there, you can potentially eliminate the rest of the dishes.

As is usual for me – I am not telling you that if you don’t use something all the time that you need to get rid of it.  It’s completely appropriate to keep things you only use once a year – for me that would be the cookie cutters!  There’s only your conscience to guide you as you evaluate your things.  If you recognize what you use infrequently, you can then find a place to store it that won’t take up valuable space.

The second step will depend on the time you have and the size of your kitchen and number of things, which is then to put them back into the cupboards and drawers.  It can feel counterintuitive to put things back in if you’re going to be rearranging some of the groups.  This is when you need to be realistic (this can be challenging) and avoid rushing or doing too much at once.  Even if you’re just putting them back in temporarily, it’ll be easier when you are more prepared to rearrange.  As you decide where the things are going, you want their placement to be easy to access for pulling them out as well as putting them away.

Corner cabinet shelf

Baskets for under the shelf










Under the cabinet cup storage - sliding or not

This is also the time to consider whether some cabinet accessories might help your organization. Ideally, you want to keep things simple, so don’t stack plates and pans too high.  In our kitchen, these tools don’t work since the height and depth are minimal.  Some items to consider are: shelving (like the corner shelf), under the shelf baskets, or cup storage.  Deciding on accessories will come preferably after you’ve sorted and purged what you want.

In an average to small kitchen, pulling out a different group one at a time can still be accomplished in a four-hour time frame.  It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, yet it’s still important to work with each group independently.  I believe that there’s always room for improvement – my husband and I have been talking about going through our kitchen and look for ways to improve the organization and work triangle.

Pendaflex I-Organize Storage Binder

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pendaflex Storage Binder

That bit of red is part of the new binder technology.


  • new technology for securing items into binder
  • selection of accessories for use in binder
  • the fasteners secure behind accessories when not in binder
  • sturdy materials
  • customizable for your needs
  • strap to close binder


  • shaped like a traditional binder
  • only two sizes of binders
  • hard to find locally to look at and handle in person


At some point after the 2010 NAPO conference, this arrived in the mail for me – a Pendaflex Storage Binder with several accessories.  I was excited, as I’d admired this binder at the conference.  Initially what caught my attention was the different technology they used for securing things into the binder.  They did away with those rings and put in “channel slots” with a release lever at the bottom. It makes it easy to use and your fingers aren’t at risk of getting pinched.

There are 8 different styles of accessories that work with the binder, and this is critical due to the way the binder functions. They are all made of poly material.  The clipboard is the most interesting and unique to me – as it clips into the binder while still being sturdy enough to use independently.  They offer the more traditional media file, envelope with string closure, a file folder with elastic closures, and a single and a double (“twin”) pocket.  They also offer a display book and a project pocket – neither of which came with my binder.

Pendaflex Clipboard

Pendaflex Clipboard

Each accessory has a piece of plastic on one side for slipping into those channel slots, and when they are being used outside of the binder, they bend behind and can be held there.  This makes them look like your basic accessory – clipboard, document pocket, document envelope, etc.  This is a wonderful feature for offering those accessories for multiple purposes and not limiting them to use only with the binder.

I’ve talked before about how normal binders are just OK to me, I dislike how their shape affects their utility when not in use, whether upright or on their side, it doesn’t make them conducive for stacking or keeping on a shelf.  These binders are shaped in the same way.  I do appreciate the elastic closure they’ve included and if you prefer not to use it, you don’t have to.

These binders come in only two sizes.  In some ways, this might not be a detriment; it forces all of us to limit how stuffed we might be tempted to fill it.  It certainly won’t stymie us with choices, as there are two choices for the binder – the presentation or the storage style.  Of course, there are all the different accessory pieces we can choose. The binder has 8 channel slots, so you can fit your choice of 8 accessory pieces.

I realize that the world is moving more and more to online shopping, but I really prefer the ability to see and feel products before I decide to spend my money on it.  These do not seem to be available locally – OfficeDepot offers them on their website, but only for delivery.

Note: All my reviews are done without consideration for the company (sorry!) – as unbiased as possible! I don’t receive anything from any of them and most don’t know I’m even reviewing their products.

Use Your Time Intentionally

With that title, do you think I’m going to talk about being more productive?  I’m certainly a fan of being as productive as possible and always striving to find ways to improve productivity.

But, that is not my point with this title.

It’s about being aware of how you’re using your time; of asking yourself periodically if you’re currently using your time in a way that you want to be.

Maybe the best example is a couple of weekends ago, my husband saw me sitting on the couch playing a game and he asked me “is this how you want to be spending your time?”  My answer was “yup.”  What he hadn’t been aware of was that I’d just stopped being productive and was taking a few minutes to relax before jumping into the next task.  I was using my time intentionally – since I had decided to take a break and play a couple of games.

In what felt like an occurrence of synchronicity, one of the sessions I attended at the NAPO conference this year, talked about having an “intention awareness.”  A couple of month’s prior, I’d started asking whether my husband and I were using our time “intentionally.”  It was a way to simply pay attention to how we were spending our time, and whether there were other things we needed or wanted to be doing.

You probably know, as I do, how easy it is to lose track of time.  I love Sudoku, and there are times when I sit down to play and the next thing I know, several hours have passed!  Eeekk!  That wasn’t what I wanted to be doing – at least not for that long.  I’ve had that happen on the other end of things, where I’m working on something around the house (or even with a client) and before I know it hours have passed.  It was “productive” time, but at least with the housework, was it what I needed or wanted to be spending all that time on?

It can be challenging to even remember to ask yourself the question about whether you’re spending time the way you want to – if it weren’t, you probably wouldn’t lose track of time at all.  It can be helpful to have someone else around to gently ask the question, as my husband did to me.  Yet, he’s gone all day and I’ve gotten in the habit of first – randomly asking myself, whenever it occurs to me.  Second, I use cues around the house, like when a plane goes overhead (which happens a lot) to stop and consider if I’m using my time in the way I want to be.

This second approach is actually what the session talked about – finding some ways to cue yourself to stop and think.  Ideally, it will be somewhat randomly and periodically throughout the day, since it’s something you want to think about more than once a day.  Even a timer that you continue to reset can help here.

I’m fascinated with time.  It never changes, yet it certainly feels like it does – our perceptions of time are erratic and inconsistent.  I’m amazed how easy it is to lose track of time – whether we’re being productive or goofing off.  Everyone I know, professionally or personally, seems at least a little discontented about the way they use their time.

Here’s a question for you – are you aware (and happy) with how you’re using your time?  I don’t believe we can ever be perfect, yet I do believe that there’s always room for improvement – are you ready to start asking yourself “is this an intentional use of my time?”

Bookmarking Websites

One of my first forays into cloud computing was most likely with Delicious, a social bookmarking site. Again, my husband encouraged me to sign-up! Part of me was resistant, and I see a pattern, don’t you? – I’ve resisted adopting new technology, repeatedly. As so often happens, once I jump on board to trying it out, I realize the value. Just because something works “fine” as it is, doesn’t mean that there’s not room for improvement. This is exactly what I found with Delicious, an improved way for bookmarking.

Delicious essentially offers you a place to collect various websites you want to bookmark. You create a free account and will have access to your bookmarks on any computer with an Internet connection. Since it’s not located on your computer, you’ll always have access to your bookmarks. If something were to happen to your computer, your bookmarks are safe and accessible.

When you add a bookmark to your Delicious account, you create tags – or keywords so you can find the bookmark again when you need it – and as many tags as you want. Also, you can create “tag bundles” so you can group similar bookmarks together by more than just tags. Of course, you need to make sure you add tags regularly – ideally as you’re bookmarking, or at least relatively soon after creating them – otherwise it can become cluttered. I wish multiple word tags would work, but you need to include punctuation to make it work – i.e. Under_Cabinet.

Yet, those features do not cover what is the strongest feature of Delicious – the ability of sharing your bookmarks with others. Just like the social media craze; you follow other users and can see their bookmarks. I’ve created a page with resources at that anyone can see (or subscribe to) – from the various local places for donating, the vendors at the last two NAPO conferences I attended, and some specific items I’ve found to help various clients.  You can check it out without even signing up – so go check out what I’ve bookmarked.

NAPO 2011 conference vendors websites

Screenshot of JenniferLinnig Delicious page - NAPO2011

I also like that I can search for what others are bookmarking on various subjects – like organizing or productivity. As long as people don’t mark it as private, you can see what others are bookmarking. Often these results are more helpful than a general search using Google or Bing.

I’ve been waiting to write about Delicious; there were rumors of the demise of Delicious until last week – when it was announced that the founders of YouTube have acquired Delicious and are planning on support and improvements. One of their goals is to make it compatible again with Firefox, where you have direct access to your Delicious bookmarks and toolbar buttons for quick bookmarking options.

There are a few problems with Delicious – though I find them minor in the grand scheme of things. You have the potential for bookmarking the same site without a warning from Delicious, though some of this can be avoided by paying attention when you’re bookmarking – since if you’ve already bookmarked it, the tags and notes will be in the window. There is also no way to know if your links become broken – and as I’ve bookmarked specific product pages, those often stop working. This isn’t a Delicious problem really since it’s the website that removes a product or moves the page somewhere else on their website. It certainly would be convenient to know when those links stop working though.

Overall, Delicious is a great social bookmarking tool. You can share your bookmarks and keep them safe. I’m thrilled that the founders of YouTube have adopted them, and all of us Delicious users will continue to have access to this resource. I love how much more organized my bookmarks can be by using Delicious and therefore that much easier to find and share.

Let Your Passion Lead You

Have I mentioned before that I’m not a big cook? Even that is probably an overstatement, since if I can avoid cooking, I do. I’m fortunate to have a husband who loves to cook; yet, part of me is ashamed of how little I cook. Part of me even wants to cook. I will do some baking from time to time – especially at Christmas time when I try to make several batches of cookies. Do you know what happens though when I go into a store with gobs of kitchen gadgets? I yearn to take them home – if I had that thing, then I might cook. If I had this thing, I could make more desserts.

I’m tempted to purchase things for a life I’m not leading. Granted it’s a life part of me wants to have, except that a few of those things that have come into our home are neglected. Owning those cool tools has not changed my behavior or actions. My life is fine without my cooking more.

Do you have things in your home that do not support the life you’re living? There are two sides of this: the things for the dreams you have and the things for what you’re not doing (and really have no drive to do). Only you can decide which category those things fall into.

Are you buying clothes for a life you’re not leading? If you’re a stay at home mom and your closet is filled with clothes meant for fancy outings which you never go on, then there’s a discrepancy. Is this a dream you have for yourself – to have events requiring formal wear? Is it what you truly want? If you actually had a chance to lead that life, would you be happy?

Do you have loads of supplies for a hobby that you wanted to start, yet somehow have never started even the first project? Sometimes this is more about having too many distractions or not enough space to feel able to begin. Or it can be about trying to lead a life that’s not yours.

If you had all the time and energy you desired, what would you want to do with it? How would you spend your time? Where does your passion lead you? The truth is that if the only thing stopping you from pursuing that hobby or activity – there are ways to solve those struggles. You just need to know what is interfering first.

The truth is that we all probably have some of both types of things in our homes. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you can recognize when you’re buying for a life different from yours, you can cut down on the things coming into your home that will inevitably become clutter since you won’t use them. While on the other hand, you’re buying for what you really want to spend time on, you can hold off until you make the time and space for doing them.

One side note: if you’re overwhelmed already, you might actually be too critical of yourself to be objective. I’ve seen too often the judgment of an “I’m never going to…” that doesn’t seem to accurately reflect their interests, and is more suggestive of how their time and space feel out of control. In that case, I recommend holding off on a too aggressive response and waiting until the process has moved further along and we’ve had a chance to create additional space and potentially time.

PlanetSafe Planners

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

PlanetSafe Planner 30-day planner

Undated 30 day calendar planner


  • customizable
  • adjustable; easy to rearrange (with post-it notes)
  • environmentally friendly
  • reusable (depending on style used)
  • great for visual people
  • thin and sturdy


  • restricted to home- not possible to carry around
  • limited space on some calendar squares
  • not reusable, with some styles


This is another product that I discovered through the NAPO expo, at last year’s conference (and this year’s too) – PlanetSafe Planners.  I love the idea that you use a dry erase marker on the calendar, how easy and clean to change things.  As well, they enable using post-it notes for other areas, again so easy to rearrange and move things. The flexibility and ease of using their planners is exceptional.

My husband and I might be unique; we have no calendar in the house to record events.  We have our Google calendars synced, and these are always with us.  Without kids or any other reasons, we’ve found no reason for a wall calendar to tell us about our appointments.  Nevertheless, I think this can be a superb calendar for some people – as long as you need that household calendar.  The only condition is that you use it and don’t rely exclusively on what (if anything) you carry with you.

Considering what my schedule often looks like, the squares look too small for extensive schedules, and then trying to add in other people’s schedules too seems unrealistic.  Thus would depend heavily on how much you need to keep track of.  If I only put in rough hours of when I’d be otherwise occupied, there’s potentially enough room for several people’s obligations.

I think I might be a little odd – for I found myself resisting the idea of this environmental calendar that I’d need to replace every year – and how “environmental” that it is.  Then again, it’s not paper.  Although reading about their development, these calendars are a 100% green product after struggling to find a natural adhesive. They also offer options for undated calendar options.

Although for myself I’m not interested in their calendars, I am tempted by some of the goal planners- the idea that my husband and I could have a very visible post-it note planner for our joint goals, for the house and other plans.  This is one the strengths of PlanetSafe Planners – they are a great visual – with the different color post-it’s, you’re unlikely to miss it!

PlanetSafe Planner Yearly Goals

Yearly goals with post-it notes

In some ways, the intriguing part of their planners is how a number of them also focus on goals and tasks – having a space included separate from the calendar for these items.  It would be very rewarding to take down the post-it notes after completing tasks.  The limited, yet not small area would encourage people to NOT over schedule.

PlanetSafe Planner 30 day calendar and tasks

30 day calendar with task or customizable section

From my limited perspective here in the Midwest, it’s sad that this company is not better known.  Although there are some limitations to some of their products, they are worth keeping in mind to help you plan – depending on the contexts relevant to your life.

Note: All my reviews are done without consideration for the company (sorry!) – as unbiased as possible! I don’t receive anything from any of them and most don’t know I’m even reviewing their products.

Look Out – Papers Incoming

I’ve got the NAPO conference on my brain – from the three and a half days education in San Diego – to the state chapter meeting just four days after the end of the national conference.  I have absorbed some of the mass of information available and gathered even more, for when I can handle more!  This may not be a situation that happens regularly, yet it’s important to have ways to deal with it.

For last year’s national conference I printed out all these sheets – the map of the hotel and expo, the slides for the presentations I wanted to attend as well as some back up slide presentations in case I changed my mind. I took lots of notes in the workshops and gathered flyers from most, if not all, the companies exhibiting their products.  Lots of paper.  Within a month I had the business cards and flyers organized.  Those notes though, those are still sitting in the binder I took, waiting for my good intentions for organizing them.

This year I had my nifty iPad, so I decided to take a risk and load all the slide presentations and maps on that.  I took a small spiral notebook just on case I couldn’t make do with typing on the iPad.  I’m thrilled to say that using the iPad was a complete success.  I’m even more excited that I won’t need to worry about transcribing the notes – as they’re all electronically searchable and ready for me to use the information when I’m ready.

I took with me 2 empty document envelopes, like Peter Walsh’s,

Peter Walsh's Document Envelope

Peter Walsh's Document Envelope

and at the end of each day separated the flyers and various papers I’d accumulated into 2 piles.  One pile was for things that I want to follow up on in one way or another – companies I want to look at their websites, articles to read, or people to e-mail after conference.  The other pile was for things to save, but more for archiving – things I might want to refer to later but needed no action or attention in the short term.  Each pile went into one of the document wallets. I’ve begun the process of dealing with the small collection of papers that need action, and it’s easy since they’re all together.

With the small context of our local meeting, I simply made a list of the things I want to act on, separate from the notes gathered during the presentation.  I’ve figured out that taking notes electronically is ideal for me – no need to make time to transcribe notes, and I’ll keep them organized in my Evernote account where I can search and access them anytime.

Although this can be an ideal way of handling any information you get – making a separate list of action items – for me, the amount of information from the national conference was overwhelming and I wanted it to be simpler.  I’ve already started acting on the items, though I’ve certainly got more to do.  Yet now I’m ready to add them a to-do list, therefore simplifying things even more.

Papers are often the biggest struggle – despite the aim toward a paperless society, we continue to have a plethora a paper bombarding us.  I was excited to limit that some by not printing the handouts, yet I certainly brought a good amount of additional paper home.

Having a plan for what you want to do with those papers is important – figure out whether you want/need to take action and you need the physical papers to remind you or if you simply want to archive them for reference at a later point.  Or do you want to pass them along to someone else? What is the next thing you want to do with them?  This will help you deal with any papers coming into your life.

Note Taking for Virtually Everything

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you might have noticed a recurring mention of elephants.  Yes, I like elephants.  Now what does that have to do with anything I would share with you? Well, when I was browsing various smart phone apps, I saw an elephant.  When I decided to find out more, I discovered Evernote and started using it.

Evernote logo

I’m a slightly skeptical consumer, so after creating an account (free) with Evernote, I only used it on my phone and via the Internet.  I put off downloading the desktop version and used Evernote for only limited things.  Yet, I loved how I could use my phone to make notes, copy webpages, and bookmark sites, while waiting for my appointment to start.  I also had the grocery list and other task lists always accessible – since my phone is always with me.

Of course, I asked my husband if he’d heard of it – and he hadn’t, but he checked it out and uses it regularly.  More than me of late.  He even decided on the premium service, quite reasonable at $45 a year (or $5 a month) with some nice additional benefits.  I’m considering upgrading eventually too.  One of the features he uses and appreciates is how Evernote gives you an e-mail address so that you can just e-mail notes into your account.

They also offer the ability to share your notebooks or just notes with others.  This is one of the first things I read about – a parent of a special needs child using Evernote to coordinate information between the doctor’s office and school, by having an account where certain people were given permission to access and modify (when appropriate) all the notes related to the care of her child.  I might need to start sharing Evernote notebooks with clients on the various research I do for them!

I appreciate the layers of potential organization with Evernote, as you can create notebooks to gather like items together and that you can create tags as well for each item you add.  Although I’ve not needed to try it out, Evernote says that everything is searchable, so if you’re struggling to find something you could probably find it even if you only remembered some obscure word.

I’ve been a bit frustrated, as one of my shopping lists has become problematic – in that it doesn’t want to load properly – on any of the devices.  I just need to delete and make a new note.  I’ve heard of problems with formatting issues between devices.  Yet, I believe that Evernote will work to resolve any issues.  The range of how to access Evernote is quite impressive; just about any device now has a platform to access it – and it syncs once you have an Internet connection again.  There are some limitations with some devices – like my smart phone and Evernote don’t always work well without Internet or modifying notes on the iPad, again without Internet can be problematic.

I’m excited to explore Evernote even more, and especially since I’ve finally downloaded the desktop version for my computer.  From what I’ve seen the benefits far outweigh the few struggles they have and the improvements come regularly.  There are so many possibilities and ways to have Evernote work to benefit you – as an individual, to fit your needs.  This is the ultimate goal for anything you use.

Evaluating System Breakdowns

Life is always changing – it’s not a static environment.  I addressed this not long ago in the We Must Always Change.  This is one of the reasons that our organizing is never actually finished.  You can create good systems and maintain the organization for any number of years, yet it’s likely that there will be pieces that can be improved after some time.  Our situations and approach change as we move through life.  This can be daunting to many people – “you mean I’m never really done?”  Truthfully, no.

This can actually be an uplifting thing.  Really and truly.  It opens up possibilities and can create space before your eyes.  Unfortunately we often need to look at things with “new” eyes, ready to see opportunities we’ve previously missed.  We also need to make sure if doesn’t mutate into a reason for self-flagellation.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve created systems for myself that end up falling flat on their faces.  It’s usually not obvious right away.  Only after a number of weeks or months does it hit me that that new way of doing something is just not working.  Sometimes it’s about how my husband uses the items.  Other times, I’m dealing with something new to me – like when I started scrapbooking, I had all these various things, and there are just so many ways of organizing them. I struggled to find a complete system that worked – and had to fight chastising myself for the lack of total success.

It’s too easy – and I see this too frequently – for us to recognize only the negative.  We are glaringly aware of our failures and gloss over the pieces that do work.  When you’re looking at systems that have broken down, you need to search out the ways it does work for you.  Those scrapbooking supplies may not have completely worked, but there were always ways that it did work.  There are ways your systems are working – you need to figure those out.

However small those pieces might be, the successes are clues for you about what does work for you.  You can examine those and see if any of those principles can apply to the rest of the system.  Do the successful pieces work because they’re easy to access – like putting away new scrapbooking things?  Do they work because they’re close at hand when you’re doing it – like sorting mail by the trash?  Leaving behind the idea of “good” and “bad” – we’re more likely to succeed at things when it’s relatively easy.  Are there ways to make pieces easier for you?

This is when you need to not rush blindly ahead, you need to take time to think about and evaluate what you need.  Take time to plan, figure out what goals you need to meet.  It can feel like planning is a waste of time, yet according to Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, “1 hour planning will save 10 hours doing.” Each time I re-did the craft supplies, I waited to give myself time to think about what wasn’t working and come up with what I needed to modify.  Only after I figured that out did I dig and starry changing things.

It can be daunting that our best intentions didn’t end up working out the way we thought they would, yet it can be an opportunity to make things exponentially better.  It also reinforces how change is not only just a part of life, but also part of the journey and growth integral to living.  When we apply that to our organizational systems, it means that we can improve our efficiency and productivity too.