Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How I Got Unstuck

Archive Photo: Carolyn Anderson-Fermann Presenting
After our dog passed in June of 2013, I was so busy taking care of my kids, working through the CPES training program and in general keeping it all together at home. I felt pulled in so many directions, overwhelmed and stuck.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I have taken small steps to move forward in a positive way. I feel excited to get back to blogging, update my website and take on new goals.

Now, you might be wondering what the heck this all has to do with organizing and productivity. Everything! When our minds and bodies are in good shape, it is so much easier to be organized and productive. 

Here are five thing I did to get myself unstuck:

1.     Adopt a Pet---This one is not feasible for everyone and you might end up with a crazy destructive dog as I wrote about in last month's edition of Your Simply Organized Life. That being said, our pup has forced me to get outside in nature every day, several times a day. 
2.     Get Enough Sleep---Sleep is essential for me. On the days that I wake up having not gotten enough sleep, I am more impatient, short with my kids and definitely less productive. For more tips on getting enough sleep, check out this past edition of Your Simply Organized Life
3.     Make Time for Daily Self Care---Daily self care is different for all of us. For a new mother, it might be just taking a shower daily. For those of us with children a bit older, it can mean more. For me, it means getting up before my family to do a few stretches and sit in silence for five minutes. It also means moving my body daily. 
4.     Create a Smaller Wardrobe---Letting go of all those clothes that no longer serve me, has lightened my mornings. It is so easy to get dressed and keep up on laundry with fewer clothes. For more tips on how I approach my simple wardrobe, check out the September 2014 edition of Your Simply Organized Life
5.     Get Help---At the start of 2015, I decided that I really wanted to make some big steps forward and that in order to do so, I needed some help. I hired a coach, who has helped me get focused and let go of limiting beliefs that were holding me back personally and professionally.

This is not intended as medical advice, so if you think you might be in a clinical depression, please seek additional help for yourself. 


Contact Carolyn if you need help with your organization or productivity. We always start with a complementary 30 minute Discovery Session via telephone.

All my best,
Carolyn

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. To receive a free copy of Carolyn's "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life" and a monthly subscription to the e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" sign up here

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Feeling Stuck?

With Muffin, May 2013
Do you ever feel stuck, overwhelmed, not sure where to begin? Me too! As a solo-entrepreneur, busy mom and wife, and household manager some days (okay, many days) it can feel like too much.

As a recovering perfectionist, I hate to let things slide off my to-do list. However, I am learning that there is a season for everything and if you let something go, you can always pick it up again. I hope that will be the case with my much neglected blog and website


For the longest time, I had been blogging weekly, every Wednesday. Then in May of 2013 our beloved 14 year old Golden Retriever became ill. My last blog entry is Wednesday, May 8, 2013. I became preoccupied with caring for a sick old dog and preparing my young children for the inevitable. 

It was also about this time, that I signed up for my training to become a Certified Productive Environment Specialist (CPES) with Barbara Hemphill's Productive Environment Institute. The timing was completely off, but I wanted to join before they raised the tuition. 

Our dear Muffin passed on Friday, June 7, 2013, the same day summer vacation for my kids began. Things were busy and I couldn't find the words to write on a weekly basis. We choose to be without a dog in our home for nearly a year. It was a good choice with our children being so young and I was happy not to take a dog out in the polar vortex of 2014. 

But something was missing; I felt stuck, in a funk, overwhelmed. Not a clinical depression, but just not my usual self. Through a whole series of events and personal choices, I am excited to be unstuck, moving forward and getting back to blogging after a two year hiatus. 

In the next post, I'll share quick tips to move yourself forward in a positive direction. As always, I love to hear your ideas!

All My Best,
Carolyn

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be presenting "Tame the Paper Monster" at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. on May 22, 2015. Register now with Ann Arbor Rec & Ed

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Simplify Your Life (Part 2 of 2)



Living a simple life is easier said than done these days. Many of us are overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and stuff in our lives. We crave organization and simplicity, but often do not know where to start.

Here are some easy ways to simplify your life. With these tips, I hope you will find getting and staying organized a positive experience. 

1) Create Empty Space
This is meant both literally and figuratively. Carving out empty space in our homes, offices, schedules and minds can be very freeing. For the month of May, pick one small area in your home or office that you can empty out. Be careful not to overbook your calendar and leave some empty space, just for you.  

2) Limit Distractions
There are so many ways to limit distractions in daily life, but we overlook most of the them or perhaps feel the need to be distracted or "busy". Some of the distractions I try to avoid include: multitasking, text messaging, recreational shopping, television and magazine subscriptions (although I am a huge fan of the free magazine exchange at my public library). 

3) Learn to Say "No"
This one is particularly difficult for those of us who are people pleasers. I have seen it over and over again, where wonderful people (mostly women) take on too much at their own expense. Taking on too much can run you ragged and leave little time to maintain organization at home or work. 

If you need help simplifying and organizing your life, please contact Carolyn to schedule a complementary telephone consultation. 


Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be presenting "Spring Clean Your Clutter" at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. on May 10, 2013. Register now with Ann Arbor Rec & EdBring a friend to this seminar and you both will receive a free 1 hour consultation with Carolyn via telephone. Just introduce yourself on May 10th to sign up. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Simplify Your Life (part 1 of 2)

Photo Credit:  Carolyn Anderson-Fermann

It seems that finally spring has sprung here in Michigan. Today was the first day I sent my children off to school without winter coats, although they insisted upon wearing their hats and mittens, perhaps feeling naked without them after a long winter. 

I look forward to washing and packing away all our winter gear in the days and weeks ahead. I want to simplify and create space for the new season.

Spring and summer are always such busy times that can make us feel disorganized, stressed and overwhelmed. A little simplification can go a long way in helping us enjoy our warm weather days more. 

I would love to hear what you will do to simplify your May! 

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be presenting "Spring Clean Your Clutter" at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. on May 10, 2013. Register now with Ann Arbor Rec & EdBring a friend to this seminar and you both will receive a free 1 hour consultation with Carolyn via telephone. Just introduce yourself on May 10th to sign up. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tackling Paper Clutter


This morning I am catching up on some of my own paper clutter using these techniques, originally posted in September 2012. 

Speaking at Multiple Births Canada National Conference, Oct. 2011
Since founding Simply Organized Life in 2005, the question I am most asked is "What to do with all those pesky paper piles?"

After a busy summer filled with lots of activities outside the home, I found myself with some sizable paper piles in my office. I made the piles go away and am only left with my current project folders on my desk. Here's what I did: 

1) Set Aside the Time

Being a professional organizer, I know how to handle paperwork and (gasp) actually enjoy it. However, several rounds of house guests and our busy summer schedule kept me away from my home office where the paper piled up. At the first opportunity, I scheduled time in my calendar to deal with the paper on my desk. 

2) Just Do It

Paper piles can be pretty intimidating. It is much easier (and more fun) to check your e-mail, surf Facebook or do just about anything other than sorting through the papers. What I find works for me is to set a timer for a short amount of time (say 15 minutes) and just starting dealing with the paper pile top down. If a bill appears, I pay it. If project papers appear, I schedule time in my calendar or create a project file. Most people can handle those types of action papers, but what about those pesky papers that you *might* need to refer to in the future? 

3) Put it Away 

Everyone needs a system for those little bits of paper that we want to refer to in the future. The thing is that if we cannot retrieve those papers when we need them, what is the point of keeping them? 

I utilize a combination of paper files, like the family binder I referred to in my "Get Organized for Back to School" post, and am slowly shifting to a paperless system for other things. For my children's artwork I either take a photograph or scan the items. These things are stored by month and year with our digital photos. For other things, like interesting magazine articles or websites, I scan and save to Evernote, which I can then search at a later date.  

Source:  www.evernote.com
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be presenting "Spring Clean Your Clutter" at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. on May 10, 2013. Register now with Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. Please note that Carolyn was not compensated by any vendors for this blog post. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Seminar: "Spring Clean Your Clutter"

Archive Photo: Carolyn Speaking on Organization
The evening of Tuesday, April 9, 2013 I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the women's groups at Dexter United Methodist Church. This is a great bunch of ladies and I was honored to be asked for a return visit. I first spoke to this group in December of 2011.

Just in time for the church's spring rummage sale, I shared four simple steps to clear clutter anywhere in your home or office. If clutter is holding you back from reaching your goals, here's where to start:

Step 1: Pick Your Project
Write down the first area that comes to mind and your vision for this space. 
Please feel free to share your project area or ask questions in the comments!

Step 2: Break It Into Small Steps
Consistent small blocks of time yield amazing results and keep you organized. 

Step 3: Set Goals
Use a calendar to aid in making sure your goals are measurable and attainable.

Step 4: Get Going
Keep it if you use it, you love it and it makes you feel good. Everything else can go!

Would you like more details on how to "Spring Clean Your Clutter"? Check out my May 10, 2013 seminar with Ann Arbor Rec & Ed

Do you need a speaker for your group? Check out the seminars page on the Simply Organized Life website

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Do you need to conquer the clutter in your space? Carolyn will be presenting "Spring Clean Your Clutter" through Ann Arbor Rec and Ed on Friday, May 10, 2013. Register with Ann Arbor Rec and Ed

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Planning for International Travel with Kids

For all of you headed overseas this summer, here are some helpful tips originally posted in August 2012.
Photo Source: List Mama, www.listplanit.com

Do you have family overseas? Do you dream of expanding your vacation horizons, but worry about traveling internationally with your children? 

Check out my guest blog on planning for international travel with kids over at ListPlanIt, a membership based website full of any list you could imagine. Why reinvent the wheel?

My guest blog is a time-line based list of steps for any family planning a trip overseas. Many of the steps can apply to domestic travel as well. Enjoy!