Organising the Business & Administration
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First off, we have loaded online here a comprehensive manual about how to organize your home and your life to be efficient in your business. New content about the administration of your business, paperwork, taxes etc. will be added over time.
8 Ways to Manage Your Business Contacts
Your clients are the number one reason why your business is successful, because after all, a business cannot exist without money, and money comes from your customers. So once a customer uses your business, how can you keep them coming back for more? The secret is simple, keep in contact with them, and give them reasons to come back to your business.
Each business is different, so you will want to look at what will work best for you. Here are a few ways that successful businesses keep in contact with their previous clients:
1) Start a client list. Unless you record each one of your clients information, you will have no way of getting into contact with them. You can do this a number of ways, from as simple as getting a customer to sign a guestbook, all the way to as complicated as requesting your client to sign up for a newsletter. Once you have a list of clients, you will be able to contact as often as you wish.
2) If add a new product, service, or expand your business is anyway, inform your previous clients first. You can achieve this a few ways:
-If you have a newsletter, include it in your newsletter.
-Do a mass mailing using postcards, letters, etc
-Call any client that has willing included their phone, but only use this idea if the change would directly relate to them.
-Post the change on your website.
3) Start a website. Websites can be accessed by any of your previous clientele, and provide a great link of communication. Not only should you provide information about your business, but you may also want to include information such as tips, and articles.
4) This one is simple: write thank you notes to your clients. A handwritten thank you note shows the client that you truly appreciate their business. If a client feels that they are appreciated and welcomed, then chances are they will come back to your business before doing business with one of your competitors.
5) The use of marketing materials can keep you in contact with your clients. You would be surprised how much impact a simple pen with your logo and phone number can do. Other marketing materials include: magnetic business cards, Key rings, and notepads. These marketing materials are typically fairly inexpensive, and can be ordered in mass quantities.
6) If you do not want to directly ask for contact information, you may need to get a little creative. One idea is to hold a contest. Require the client to fill out a card with their information, or drop in their business card. Make sure that you tell the clients that you will be contacting them about your services or products (this can be accomplished by writing it on the card, or displaying it near where they have to their business card or information card once they are finished). Give away something that would be of great interest to your type of client, so you can get the maximum number of entries. Change this contest frequently to gain maximum exposure.
7) Discount coupons are a great way to bring your customers back. Will 10% off hurt your business, especially if it means whether or not you get that client to come back in? You may want to mail these coupons out, or supply a code for use upon checkout if you have an online business.
8) You may want to consider starting a referral system. A referral program will not only get your previous clients to come back, but it will also help you obtain new clients as well. For example: for each referral, you will give the client a 10 dollar gift card to use in your store. Be careful not to give out cash, as this may or may not be used for products or services for your business.
How to complete your Herbalife Distributor Application Form
Customer Service Skills & Tools
Supervisor Application Form template
Business Development Sales & Marketing Plan
How to Find Yourself and Get That Unique ‘You’ Organized!
How to Organize Your Home & Hearth:
There is a Home Under All That Clutter!
How to Organize Your Office:
Find All That Missing Time!
How to Organize Your Home Office:
Working That Dream Job!
How to Organize Your Money:
You May Be Richer Than You Think!
How to Organize Your Travel Time:
Surviving Your Vacation!
Organizing the Special Events in Your Life:
It’s Okay to Party!
“Time is a gift; given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.” - Norton Juster-The Phantom Tollbooth
So much to do, so little time! Haven’t we all used that phrase at one time or another in our lives? Thanks to technological advances, it seems like the more time we free up, the more activities we find to stuff into that “free” time. We’re busier now than we’ve ever been at any point in human history. “If time flies when you’re having fun, it hits the afterburners when you don’t think you’re having enough,” Jef Mallett said.
Many people operate under the assumption that time is a scarce commodity. It’s hard, as a human being, to think of time in any way except in linear terms. However, there is clock time and there is psychological time.
Information overload is another malady of the 21st century. We have it coming at us from every direction - television, radio, newspapers, magazines, daily mail, catalogs, newsletters, etc. Every time we turn around, we’re being bombarded with more information. Max Frisch said, “Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.” So, is technology really our friend or our foe?
We long for the “good old days” when life was slower, less busy, and much less frantic. People used to relax in the evenings, read books, and just kick back. Well, not any more these days. Every minute of every day is filled to capacity with more and more activities.
Women especially have much fuller days than ever before. Most work a full time job, and then go home to another full time job. She’s chief cook, bottle washer, homework helper, washerwoman, and housekeeper. Much has already been written on how a woman balances work and family. Gloria Steinam said, “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine the time for marriage and a career.
Men are busier these days too, as they help their mates on the home front. Kids have tons of activities in the afternoon and evening as well; and that means at least one parent driving, and the other cooking and cleaning. It’s turned into a rat race. Lily Tomlin tells us “no matter who wins the race, we’re still rats.”
Short of retiring from the rat race, if that’s even possible, what’s a body to do? How do we find the time? Well, there’s the rub. We don’t find the time, but we make the time. That’s crucial. And that requires organization and lots of it.
“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.” - Anonymous
How to Find Yourself and Get That Unique ‘You’ Organized!
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
If you recognize yourself in the above descriptions, you’re not alone. Millions of families are finding themselves in the same predicament. There’s so much to do, and so little time to them all.
And when it comes to getting organized, it’s a little similar to the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Or they make a half-hearted attempt at getting organized, but they never push through. Two weeks later, the disaster comes back, sometimes worse than ever.
That day planner you purchased is useless unless you use it constructively. It won’t automatically help you with your time organization problems, unless you put it to good use. List carefully everything of importance in your life. Write your schedule in it, give the time necessary to each item, and remember to make an appointment with yourself. Use that planner to your best advantage, or it will just become a beautiful leather paperweight.
Write down all the tasks that absolutely must be done, any errands that must be run, any appointments you must keep, and any deadlines coming up. Take a few minutes each evening to review what’s due the next day. This allows you to plan for the meals that have to be fixed, what you need to wear, and where you need to be the next day. Resist the temptation to overbook yourself for each day. There is only so much you can cram into a single day. If you overload your schedule, you’ll find it impossible to finish all the tasks you’ve set for yourself. You’ll just be depressed or frustrated if you don’t accomplish all your tasks.
So, let’s take the process step-by-step, starting with the basics. Do you constantly find yourself losing your keys? If you’re so disorganized that you can’t find something as simple as your keys, how are you ever going to get your home, your office, your kids, and your personal life organized?
Before you can find those keys, you must first find yourself. Sounds simple, right? You have to find your own unique self before you can even begin to start organizing your life.
Do you know yourself well enough to find that unique “you?” What is it you need and want out of life? What are your passions, your quirks, your special needs? Everyone has his or her own unique style, so what’s yours?
You must know the answers to these questions in order to sort through your life and get everything organized. Knowing yourself is crucial. Only then can you organize your life in such a way as to form an environment that supports and nurtures you. If you’ve taken care of and nurtured yourself, you’re now in a position to help and nurture others.
Let’s start by taking a look at your to-do list and see what’s important to you. What do you do all day, every day? What are your weekends like? What do you do for fun? Is your list full of things you think you should be doing, or are they things that are important to you. Are they things that are vital to your life and happiness? Are you spending your precious time on important things? The US poet, Carl Sandburg tells us that, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
I can see you rolling your eyes right now and moaning, “What does this have to do with getting more organized?” Let me tell you it has everything to do with it. To find out about your own life, start by taking a walk through your home. Go through each room and look at every piece you own, the furniture, the knickknacks, the books, music, movies, pictures on the walls, even plants.
Do you remember when you acquired these items? How long ago was it? Do you still like those pieces or have you just grown used to having them around? What do they mean to you?
The one sure thing in our lives besides death and taxes is change. We change all the time. What you enjoyed five years ago may not be enjoyable or appropriate for you today. Maybe your work has changed or your family is different somehow. Your children may have grown up and moved away, or maybe you’ve just started your family. Both are serious changes in your life and must be considered. It certainly means a shift in priorities either way.
Take a walk around your house. As you go around your home, can you notice some stuff that do not necessarily matter as much to you as it used to? Your priorities change, your tastes change, it’s a fact of life. What things are still important to you? Somewhere buried in those possessions are the keys to your values - those that are vital to you and your life.
You may discover that over the years, those values have changed a bit here and there. Change may seem risky at times, but it also brings with it a sense of freshness, an exciting new challenge. You’ll begin to see things from a different perspective.
It’s important that you know yourself. Know your body, your mind, your spirit, and your heart. No one else will ever know you as well as you do yourself.
Start by looking in the mirror and saying hello to that stranger who looks mysteriously back at you. You should get to know him/her. Find out what means the most to that person. If you only have six months to live, what would you consider the most important things in your life? What would you do and how would you spend those few precious moments?
Now review that to-do list again. Does it bear any resemblance to the life you once envisioned for yourself? Take a look at your daily schedule and ask yourself the same question. If you discover you have veered off the planned road, there’s still time to get back on track.
You probably think that what you really want isn’t important. You figure you have to do what you have to do to get by these days. That’s not true. You can have what you want. It might be a matter of small changes right at first. Instant gratification is not possible, but it doesn’t mean you can’t affect a few changes to eventually get what you really, really want. Believe that you are capable of getting it and that you deserve to get it.
To get what you want is simply a matter of figuring out where you want to be, then working backward in order to form a plan and a time line for achieving it. This is where organization comes in to play. If you organize your life and work hard, you can get whatever you want.
Ask yourself what you really want in your life - for your own life and for your family/friends. Write them all down. You can’t achieve goals you haven’t identified. If one of your goals is to spend more quality time with your spouse and kids, but you work seventy or eighty hours a week, something has to give. Find out how many trivial projects you do that aren’t truly necessary. If all the projects are vital, are there any tasks that can be delegated to others. Can someone step in and do them for you?
Is travel one of the goals of your life? Since vacation time is essential to everyone, decide where you’d like to go and take your family, then start planning for it. Send off for brochures, check flights and hotel accommodations, and start saving for the trip. Get the whole family involved in the planning stages; let them help decide what to see, where to eat, and where to sleep. The anticipation is part of the fun and good for the whole family. More about organizing vacations in another chapter.
Find yourself a Month-At-A-Glance calendar and start scheduling time for what you really want. Don’t forget to schedule some “me” time. This is not selfish or unnecessary. You can’t continue to give to others without replenishing yourself now and then. You know the old saying, “You can’t give from an empty cup.”
I know what you’re saying now. “There’s just no time for anything extra, my time is already maxed out, and I’m constantly juggling things to make the time for everything I have to do. Where would I find any time for myself?” Juggling is for circus performers. All you need is a plan to learn to balance your life. M. Scott Peck tells us that, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
Stressed out, you say? When a person is faced with some kind of danger, their hormone levels change and they go into the “fight or flight” mode. This can be very effective for short periods of time, but staying in this mode for long periods can affect the immune system, causing it to break down after awhile. You must allow some recharging time. Failing to do so can cause serious consequences. So when you’re organizing your schedule for each day, don’t forget to include at least a few minutes of time just for yourself.
Another cause of stress (that is self-induced) is our penchant for over commitment. We feel the need to be “people pleasers” all the time. We don’t have to say yes to everyone and everything, yet we have a tendency to do so. Why can’t we say “no” once in a while? It could be that we want people to like us, and that we’re afraid they won’t like us if we say no. The truth of the matter is … everyone who already likes us will not stop liking us just because we say “no.”
We also truly hate to let other people down and feel we must try our hardest to get anything done, whatever it is they need. We want to be the “go-to” person - the one other people always turn to in emergencies.
So between work pressures, family responsibilities, over commitment, and information overload, it’s no wonder we start longing for a simpler life, or at least the life we once envisioned for our families and ourselves. So, write down those goals and post them where you can see them every day. When you begin to organize your day to include steps towards those goals, things will begin to change. It may be slow at first, but you’ll soon begin to see how much closer to those goals you are getting, day by day.
Each day, check your calendar and to-do list and see where you can shave a few minutes here or an hour there to spend quality time with yourself or your family/friends. As you see the change in your life happening right before your eyes, you’ll begin to understand the activities that are important to you. Enjoy every second of the time you have given to yourself.
One of the pitfalls you may discover while trying to get yourself organized is the tendency of human beings to become locked into a routine. It’s very easy to find yourself in a rut and it’s very hard to dig your way out. You may find yourself saying things like, “But that’s the way I’ve always done it.”
That’s no reason to continue doing it that way, especially if it’s not working for you. Let yourself explore some new ways of doing things. You might just find a new, easier, and more fun way of handling those tasks. Be creative and inventive, and some of those challenges just might be easier than you thought.
“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” - Will Rogers
How to Organize Your Home & Hearth:There is a Home Under All That Clutter!
“Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss an opportunity to tell those people how much they mean to you.” – Anon
Many families are finding themselves in the midst of a clutter crisis and are totally at a loss as to how to bring order to their chaotic homes. Whether your clutter crisis is confined to one room or if your home seems to be a hopeless cause, terrifying even to think about, you can bring order to that chaos.
Do you find the sheer volume of the clutter in your home daunting? Never fear! There is a way to find that lovely home of yours again. Despite the stacks of papers, newspapers, magazines, the piles of clothes, and other belongings everywhere, you can find your furniture and floors again. You can learn to enjoy your home once more.
Have you stopped inviting friends and family over to visit because you’re embarrassed to have anyone see how you’re living these days? Do you find yourself sleeping on half your bed, because of the piles of clothes on the other side? Are your children taking over the living room with their toys, because there’s no room for them to play in their own bedrooms? Is your family eating dinner on their laps because your dining table is stacked three feet high with papers and magazines?
As bad as it might seem now, there is a way to deal with this kind of disorganization and disorder. And don’t worry, it’s painless and inexpensive. It will require some work on your part and that of your family. If you get the whole family in on the organizing, you could even have some fun together.
For starters, deal with only one room at a time. A houseful of clutter and chaos is too overwhelming. You need to break it down into small jobs that are more doable and less intimidating. Taken as a whole, you’d run screaming into the night, or want to run away from home, before you’d be brave enough to tackle a whole house at once.
You can choose any room you wish to begin with, but you should probably start with a large room, one that people are bound to see when they come to visit, such as the living room or den. This is both incentive and reward for the determined organizer. When you see what can be done with a little elbow grease, organization, and determination, you’ll want to move on to the next room and the next, and the next.
After you’ve chosen the room you intend to organize first, get hold of some garbage bags, baskets, and boxes. It’s time to go to work! The first step is what professional organizers call “purging.” Go through every piece, every pile, and every stack in the room, and put every item in one of three piles.
The first pile is for trash. This is for anything that is broken and can’t be repaired, or anything you simply don’t want any longer and is not in good enough shape to give away to someone else.
The second pile is for objects you intend to give away. These should still be useable and in reasonably good condition. Anything you can no longer use or simply don’t want anymore can go in this pile. Just because you don’t want them doesn’t mean they are useless. There are charities that can benefit from your donation. You could also have a garage sale, if you wish, and sell all that unwanted junk.
Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Plus, you earn a little extra cash for you and your family. You could put that cash into a vacation account and add to it throughout the year.
The third pile is for the items you can’t bear to give away or sell. These are items that have sentimental value, things you find beautiful, things that are still useful and have a certain place in your home. Don’t keep anything that’s not useful or beautiful to you.
As you go about the purging, you’ll find lots of items that don’t belong in that particular room. Slip these items into a basket, as you find them. When you’re done with the purging of that room, take all those bits and pieces and put them where they belong. You could get your children to help with this part. They may discover long lost toys and personal items for which they’ve been searching for a long time.
Okay, so now you’ve got three piles of stuff. Put the trash out to be picked up by your garbage man. Put the charity pile into boxes and load into your car, to be taken to the charity of your choice. Even some charities will come and pick up boxes and bags, if you give them a call.
Now it’s time to clean up that room. Dust the furniture, vacuum the carpets, or mop the floor, and put all your beautiful pieces back where they belong. Congratulations, you now have a living room or den that you’d be proud to invite friends to see.
When it comes to bedrooms, besides the numerous flat surfaces to deal with, there is the added chore of the closet; but now that you know you can handle it, you’ll breeze right through it. Start by going through the hanging clothes in the closet. Pull out each piece and evaluate its worthiness to remain in that closet.
First of all, does it still fit? Don’t fool yourself into keeping pieces that you’re sure you’ll fit into again “one day.” If it doesn’t fit, it’s out! You’ll probably find pieces that are out of style and should be discarded. You may even find pieces that are so old, they are back in style again.
Congratulations, you have something new to wear. Be honest with yourself about each piece. If you haven’t worn it in several years, odds are you are never going to wear it ever again; out it goes. You may even find pieces you had purchased, crammed into that overflowing closet, and completely forgotten about.
Again, make the three piles. One is for anything that is ripped, torn, or otherwise “unwearable” and not fit to give away. A second pile should be for the pieces that are in pretty good shape, even if they’re old. Maybe all they need is a button sewed back on or a seam repaired, before they are good enough to be given to a charity or a friend. The third pile is for the pieces you’re going to keep. These are pieces that are in good shape, still fit, and that you still love to wear. Remember, keep it only if it’s useful or beautiful.
Repeat the steps with all boxes and bags of clothes, shoes, hats, etc. in your closet. You may have to be ruthless, discarding items you’ve had for years that have taken up what looks like permanent residence in your closet space. Don’t be fooled; if you haven’t used them, you probably won’t. Resist the packrat urge to hang onto everything.
After you’ve repeated the steps in regards to your dresser drawers and shelves, you’ll be amazed at the space you have to work with now. You may have forgotten that was a walk-in closet, since you haven’t been able to walk into it for so long.
Haul the trash out again. Box up the donations or garage sale bits and pieces. Take them out of the room; you need space to work. Now that you know what you have left and wish to keep, you can judge pretty accurately what you need in the way of containers for what’s left. Find some pretty boxes or baskets to containerize your belongings.
Some stores carry a huge range of containers for you to choose from, making your job easier. There are beautiful cloth-covered boxes and baskets, as well as cardboard, wire mesh, wicker, and many more. Remember to label any closed boxes, so you’ll always know exactly where everything is in your new, uncluttered, closet.
Now that you’ve tackled the dreaded closet, you’re ready to take on the rest of the room. Go through all the bits and pieces stacked on all the furniture in your room. Deal with the papers and stacks of magazines. Try to resist the urge to keep the piles and piles of magazines you still haven’t read, though they’ve been there for months. You can try to go through them in the evenings, or you can just box them, bag them, and take them to your local library.
They recycle those old magazines, selling them for pennies to those who can’t afford expensive magazine subscriptions. The money gathered goes to the library system to purchase new books. Everybody wins. You get an uncluttered, magazine free zone to live in and the library makes a few bucks too.
When you’ve finished purging the unwanted pieces from your room and containerizing what’s left, be sure to dust, polish, make your bed, vacuum the carpet, or mop the floor. Try to get the trash out right away and move the donations or garage sale pieces out of the house. It’s an important incentive to be able to see how beautifully uncluttered each room becomes.
Now, you can repeat these steps for each of the other rooms. It may take a few weekends to accomplish the whole place, depending on the size of your home or apartment.
Remember to pat yourself on the back as you organize each space or room. Personally, I’d recommend taking a photograph of each room as you finish it. In the coming weeks, it’s a great way to remind yourself, not only of the accomplishment, but to help you remember exactly how the room looked after you finished organizing it. This helps tremendously in the upkeep of the room or space. Tack up that picture and keep the room looking just like the photo.
After working so hard to make the space or room look exactly the way it should, it’s time to teach yourself to keep it that way. Learn to put things away as soon as you’re finished with them. Always put things back where they belong, so you can find them the next time you need them. Remember what your mother always told you. “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Give yourself a month to decide if the new system is working for you. If it’s not, then re-evaluate the system. Try another way, until you find what works for you. It should not only be efficient, but also be easily maintained. The idea is that you’ve put the time and effort into organizing your space, now it should be easy to keep up. Ten minutes per day should be enough to put each room back to rights.
Keep in mind that you don’t just quit an old habit, you must replace it with a new one. And remind yourself to not fall back into old messy ways. After you’ve spent three weeks putting things away, it will become a habit you don’t even think about; you just do it. The satisfaction you’ll feel each time you look at that newly organized space will help you develop the good habit of keeping it in order.
When it’s time to tackle the children’s rooms, you can include them in the process (depending on their ages). Even young children will enjoy being with you and sort through all their belongings. You might find it’s more difficult getting them to let go of pieces than it was for you. Children tend to be more materialistic, especially if they have a great many belongings to sort through and decide about.
Be patient with them about the purging process. Some kids have difficulty getting rid of even broken, old toys. You won’t want to discard anything that they love to sleep with, or hang onto during the day or night. It might look old and disgusting to you, but it’s security to them; and forcing them to part with it could be traumatic.
Since many toys can have small, easily lost and broken pieces, it’s essential to purge carefully. Convince them of the wisdom of discarding toys that are broken and might be hazardous for them to play with. The toys they’ve outgrown can be passed down to younger siblings or given to worthy children’s charities. Encourage small children to consider others who are not as lucky as they are and possibly don’t have any toys. Encouraging generosity at an early age is a good thing. You can set an example by making donations of your own to charitable organizations. Let them see you doing this. Children model what they see.
After you get your children’s rooms purged and cleaned up, it’s time to organize things to make it easier for them to find what they need to play or learn. Make sure your child’s room is age appropriate and height appropriate as well. Organize their closet with the hanging rods placed low enough for them to reach their own clothes. They can start taking some responsibility of putting their clothes and toys away each day.
Be sure you set up an area for them to play in, a nice large section of the room where they can spread out their toys and books and enjoy themselves. Their room should be inviting to them and comfortable for sleeping and playing.
A good way to help children stay organized with their belongings is to color code things for them. Many stores sell child-sized shelves and cubes in crayon or pastel colors. Putting a picture of the desired toys, books, etc. on the shelves or on the cubes will help children learn where everything goes in their room.
The best way to encourage children to stay organized is to guide them each day until they learn what goes where (you might consider letting them help decide where to store different pieces). And of course, you must be an example to that child. They’re not going to learn to be organized unless you are too. Children learn what they live. If you want them to learn to be neat and tidy with their belongings, then you must be neat and tidy with yours.
Depending on the age of your child, evening clean up needs to be supervised. Don’t’ just bellow, “Clean up your room!” Children need specific instructions. For young children, give them three things to accomplish and only three at a time. Take a clue from one of the children’s shows on television. Dora the Explorer is a good example of the rule of three.
Each time she goes exploring, she has three objectives to accomplish, only three. Try this with your children. Have them put away their books, then any blocks spread out on the floor, then all their dolls or action figures. Then check back with them to see how they’ve done. Continue until the room is neat and tidy.
Want your children to continue staying organized? Then tell them what a great job they’re doing each time they accomplish a task. For younger children, you might consider setting up a reward system for tasks accomplished. Stickers and stars are popular collection items for kids.
If you start your children at an early age to tidy up and stay organized, it will stick with them throughout their life. Remember though, that pushing them too hard will make them go the opposite direction. Let’s not go to extremes. You don’t want to bring up the next generation of Felix and Oscar.
And as long as we’re talking about keeping kids organized, we might as well tackle the day-to-day problem of staying organized and getting everyone out the door each morning. In the interest of sanity and happy families, there are a few things you can do to make this whole process easier and veritably painless for everyone.
The night before, check over your own schedule as well as that of your kids. Determine who goes where and what time, as well as after school activities, lessons, practices, etc. Knowing where you need to be and what time you need to be there will make it less hectic for you and your kids.
Pack everyone’s lunches the night before. Sometimes, there’s just no time for that kind of mad dash in the morning, if everyone is running late. Stash each lunch in the refrigerator, clearly marked with each person’s name on the appropriate lunch bag.
This way, each child gets what he or she likes best for lunch, no mix-ups. And don’t forget your own lunch. You could also have the coffee maker primed and ready to go for the morning. Then all you need do is push the button. Coffee will be perking while you get ready for the day.
Have everyone’s clothing ready the night before. Anything that needs ironing should be done before bedtime. The early morning is no time to discover that the outfit your daughter wants to wear is a wrinkled mess. Make sure your own outfit is ready to go too.
Make sure what you want to serve for breakfast is ready to go. You might also want to consider having some kind of emergency portable breakfast available for mornings that seem more hectic than usual. Believe me, even with careful planning, there will still be mornings that defy the imagination in sheer confusion. Always have a back up plan.
Have your children gather all they need for the next day, whether it’s books and papers, homework, or something special they’re taking to school. Make sure their backpacks are ready to go for the morning. Don’t forget to have your own things packed the night before as well, such as your purse and/or briefcase. If you own a cell phone, be sure it’s on its charger the night before. A dead cell phone becomes just a paperweight.
Keep your sanity and keep a happy crew by being just a little organized and getting things done the night before. It will make for a smoother take-off the next morning. Who knows, you could even give yourself a few extra minutes to sleep, instead of getting up and dashing around like a crazy person.
“Time is not a line, but a series of now points.” - Taisen Deshimaru
How to Organize Your Office:Find All That Missing Time!
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” – Rodin
Now you have your home and family well organized. Now you’re ready to tackle your workspace and work life. At work, organization starts with your relationships with your co-workers and your boss.
Just like you did with your home space, take a good long look at your work to-do list. How many items on that list are vital, urgent, important must-dos? Be honest with yourself. Is the world going to end if you don’t do each and every task on that list? Get rid of the non-essential items on that list; you’ll save yourself more time by working on the must-dos instead. Don’t confuse busy work with effective, creative accomplishment.
Looking busy is not the point of this exercise. Finding what’s really important and critical is the point. Don’t let the mundane day-to-day stuff crowd out the real work. If you find your day is taken up with running around putting out small fires, you may want to re-evaluate your system. How are you going to find time for the highly productive, creative parts of your life?
So, it’s time to reorganize your work priorities. Take a good look at your job description. Have they begun to blur a bit around the edges? Have you discovered that you’ve gradually pulled away from your original intentions? Have you helped a co-worker with a task that has mysteriously, over time become part of your job now? Maybe it’s time to return to the basics.
Resign yourself to the fact that there are going to be tasks you never get around to doing. If you feel guilty and disappointed in yourself for not accomplishing these tasks, you’ll hinder your own productivity. Face the facts, you cannot do it all, it’s not going to happen. You’re only going to wear yourself down to a nub by trying, then feeling guilty for not being able to do them all. And that gets in the way of accomplishing the next task.
Keep in mind that working incredibly long hours day after day for months on end will eventually result in losing your perspective on some tasks. You’ll lose sight and focus on what is really important.
This is where organizing your priorities comes in. Many people fill their to-do lists with non-essential tasks that are designed to make them feel busy, but are completely unnecessary and are in fact, time wasters. It’s time to redo that list, with nothing but essential tasks.
In order to accomplish that, you may discover you’ll have to stop being a people pleaser and learn to say “no.” If it’s not part of your job and you truly don’t have the time to help co-workers do them, you have to say so. Maybe they need a little reorganization too. In order to be more productive and waste less time, you must learn to plan your day well. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time frame. Set your priorities and work on those first.
Look at each task on your to-do list and determine when they must be finished. If it needs to be finished by the end of the day, get busy now. Anything due next week or next month does not take priority over today’s tasks. Get yourself a Month-At-A-Glance, calendar for your desk and write down all obligations and their due dates. This will keep you on task and on time.
If you can manage it, without procrastinating indefinitely, try to determine whether some of the projects can be put on the back burner for a bit, while you deal with the projects that are due in the next few days.
Are there any steps that can be omitted, shortening the length of time it will take you to complete a task? Be careful in taking some shortcuts. Shoddy work will not impress your boss, co-workers, or clients.
Now it’s time to tackle the ‘D’ word. That’s right- Delegation! It’s not a dirty word, and it doesn’t mean you can’t handle your job. If you have control issues, you may find you have a real problem handing over tasks to someone else. You’ve been raised with that old homily that says, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Only you’re not necessarily doing it right either, because you have too much on your plate; and here you are grabbing hold of yet another task that could just as easily be done by your assistant, secretary, or someone else.
Is fear of losing control keeping you from delegating that responsibility? Or maybe you think it would take too much time to explain to someone else how you want the job done. Or do you fear that others will see you as less than competent? You might even dislike the idea of infringing on someone else’s time. After all, you don’t like it when someone does it to you. You may even fear negative consequences; after all, the ego is involved when asking for assistance.
But think about it. How are you ever going to handle the big jobs if you don’t let someone else help you with the small, mundane day-to-day chores? To delegate, or not to delegate, that is the question.
If you have a long commuting time each morning, use the time to prioritize for the day’s events. When you know exactly what task you’ll be starting with each day, you’re more focused. You’ll find you waste less time first thing in the morning, if you know what you should be working on ahead of time. Making up a schedule of tasks to accomplish for each day is a great way to keep yourself on track.
Always have a Plan B however; you never know what’s going to happen. It’s said that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so be sure to have a back up plan. Remember Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can possibly happen will.” If you plan for all contingencies, you’re covered; no matter what happens, you’ll be prepared. Nothing is carved in stone; try to be flexible with your schedule.
A common mistake that overtaxed people make is to try to keep too many plates spinning at the same time. Multitasking sounds good and productive, but can actually work against you, time-wise and productivity-wise. Having a great many projects going all at the same time sounds efficient, but not if you never finish any of them.
Stick to one project as much as you can until it’s finished. You may get slowed down while you wait for others to finish their part of the task. That’s when you may have to put a project on the back burner temporarily and tackle something else while you wait.
Many people get a real high from finishing tasks and crossing them off their to-do lists. Staying focused is the key here. Too many people love to start new projects; it’s actually finishing those tasks that gets them into trouble. Yet they will go on to another project, most likely leaving that half done as well, but moving on to the next project, and the next, and the next. Try your best to stay with a project through its completion. There’s more satisfaction in finishing a task than in beginning one.
You may find that your day is filled with potential time wasters, lurking around every corner, just waiting to break into your concentration, and distract you from important tasks. Some of these time wasters camouflage themselves as legitimate sounding business work, but beware of finding yourself exhausted at the end of the day and not actually having anything to show for it.
Some of these time wasters are deceptively disguised as your co-workers. They stand around the water cooler, hang around your desk or around your doorway, chatting. Too bad it’s not about work. You may have to stand firm when it comes to these well-meaning, friendly folks. Maybe you could let them know that if your door is closed, it means that you are busy; and unless it’s crucial, they should come back later or save the chitchat for the lunch hour. You also might want to switch your phone to voice mail and turn off the email alarm.
And while it may be human nature to jump eagerly into the easier, routine tasks, rather than tackle the more difficult work, it’s just another way to waste time. Procrastination will not aid you here. Not only is jumping on the complex problem first a smart move time-wise, but it will make you feel so much better about yourself, when you finish it early on. It’s a real energy boost mentally and physically. Pat yourself on the back and move on to the next task. By finishing the hard job first, the rest of the day will roll along very smoothly.
If you allow that big task to haunt you all day, telling yourself you’ll get to it eventually, your day will be ruined. That’s all you’ll be able to think about all day.
If you’re in a management position at the office and in charge of meetings, bear in mind how long those meetings are taking out of everyone’s day. Try to schedule meetings so that your workers can get more done. If they’re sitting in interminable meetings, they’re not getting anything else done. If you’re not in charge in these matters, maybe a suggestion to the right person could ease the situation. Instead of progress reports every day, perhaps they could be scheduled once a week or twice a month.
One of the biggest time wasters found in the modern office is email, and the average worker’s incessant need to check their inbox. The organizing guru, Julie Morgenstern said, “Email is the biggest time suck of the modern workday.” Many of the professional organizers today would advise you to avoid your inbox for the first hour of your workday. If you’re not careful, you will get sucked into the need to read everything in your inbox and deal with each and every message.
This could very well take up your entire morning and that big task will still be waiting in the wings for you when you return from lunch; or unlucky you, you miss your lunch while you play catch up. As Parkinson’s Law states, “A task expands to fill the time allowed for it.” Give email messages a very short time for reading and replies.
Okay, so you learn to avoid that little time wasting pit and get right to that big project that’s due in a few days. Good for you; keep up the good work! Whatever you do, if you’re in the middle of a highly productive work time, don’t stop in the middle to check your email. You’ll lose your train of thought; your creative mood will be shot and the flow will be halted.
It’s hard to get going again when that kind of interruption occurs. Wait until you’ve decided to take a break from whatever you’re working on. But watch out! Make sure that email break doesn’t gobble up your working time and keep you distracted. As for whether email is a time saver or a time stealer, the jury is still out on that one.
Whether you’re an average emailer (receiving only about twenty emails and sending probably five out) or whether you’re considered a power emailer (receiving fifty a day and sending out twenty), you have to find ways to deal with all the messages. For starters, you might want to turn off the email alarm system. It was cute in the movie, with the computer letting you know “You’ve Got Mail!” It ceases to be cute when you hear it every five minutes.
If the emails can be dealt with quickly and easily, then of course, deal with them ASAP. If a message requires a long reply, you might want to save it for later, if you have more time. Sometimes, a reply can be made succinct enough to fit into the subject line, making it easy to zip off that email question or reply. If that’s not possible, at least tell the person what you require of them first thing and make it short and sweet.
“For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.” - Doug Larson
How to Organize Your Home Office:Working That Dream Job!
“All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.” - Baltasar Gracian
Many people dream of being able to work from their home, running their very own home-based business. They dream of having a more flexible schedule, being able to go out to lunch with friends, work any time of the day they choose, and not have a boss looking over their shoulder. Ahhh, what freedom!
However, time management is often more difficult for the person working in a home office than it is for someone in a conventional office atmosphere. The home worker has to learn to be a self-starter. There’s no boss around to check on you and make sure you’re on track. It can also be a very lonely workplace, since there are no co-workers in your home office.
It’s more important than ever to have your schedule laid out the day before; so as soon as you get up and get ready to start your day, you know what’s on the agenda first thing. Try to analyze your workweek to determine where you’re losing time and where you can economize and find more time to finish your projects. There are time wasters lurking even in the home office. Flexibility brings with it a price to pay. You may not have the time even to go out to lunch, unless you’re meeting with a client. The dream of working a couple of hours, then running around with friends all afternoon is just that — a dream. If you’re the only worker in your little home office, you don’t have time to run around, unless it’s related somehow to your business.
Instead of co-workers hanging around your office or cubicle, it may be friends who just thought they’d drop by and see if you’d like to go get some coffee or lunch. In their eyes, you work at home, so you can just drop everything, since your schedule is so flexible. You may have to get tough with these well-meaning types. Let them know that just because you work at home, doesn’t mean you can just drop everything and play.
Working at home is still working. If you stop every time someone wants to visit, you’ll wind up making up that time at night or weekends and you’ll soon have no time to rest and relax. JFK told us, “Time is a tool, not a crutch.”
Phone calls can also be a problem in the home office. The same friends that take up your time in your office may wind up calling you and wanting to chitchat, when you have deadlines to meet and tons of work to do.
In this instance, voice mail is worth its weight in gold for the home worker. When you’re in the middle of a project and that phone rings, let your voice mail or answering machine take the call. Don’t let that ringing phone interrupt you mid project.
Later, when you take a break, return as many of the calls as you can, starting with the business calls first. Once again, your friends will have to learn that just because you work at home, it doesn’t mean you have time to chitchat on the phone. Call them back in the evening, when you can relax and take your time; not while you’re working.
Organizing your mail system takes only a few minutes a day and can save you hours of time. Don’t let tons of mails pile up on your desk. Deal with them every day.
Professional organizers will advise you to touch each piece of mail only once. If it’s urgent, deal with it immediately. If it’s important, but not urgent, tack it on a bulletin board. If you leave it on your desk, it will get covered up with other things and you’ll lose it. If it’s something you should hang on to, then file it right away. Trash or junk mail that’s unnecessary to you should be relegated to that round file next to your desk, better known as the trash can.
For those working at home, it’s even more important to develop personal time management skills. If you don’t keep track of your schedule, who will? You must learn to set realistic goals and a plan for the completion of projects. Prioritize your tasks, make vital decisions, and carefully schedule your working time, your networking time, clients meetings, and any deadlines.
Depending on your home business, delegating could be a little trickier than in standard offices. And if you’re a one-man/woman show, delegating becomes an art form. Those working totally alone, have no one else to delegate duties to, right? Not so! It may be more difficult at the beginning, when money is tight and you feel you must do all the jobs yourself. Once you are making a tidy sum, it might actually save you money to contract out some of the tasks you currently handle.
For instance, simple paper work such as filing, copying, mailing, etc. that’s taking up too much of your billable hours, could be done by a temporary secretary. Hiring a college student to help you out could actually save you money by freeing up your time and allowing you to concentrate on important tasks that will bring in more funds.
If your hourly earning is $100 per hour, you should be focusing on the work that brings in that $100, not on mundane chores that you could hire out for $10 per hour to a college student.
Instead of cleaning your house, hire that out to a professional house cleaner and get back to your $100 per hour work. Doing anything but what you need to be doing, is a waste of your time and actually costs you money.
As wonderful as working from home can be, there are some disadvantages too. There are definitely more distractions at home than in a conventional office. At home, it’s too easy to be lured away from your work by the siren call of the television. Coffee breaks become more of a problem and the refrigerator is so-o-o handy, maybe too handy.
For women working from home, the call of the laundry is fairly strong too. “But it’s so easy, I’ll just toss a load in now; and then, no problem,” you might think. It’s just another distraction. Get back to work!
Once you develop a routine in your home office and some serious discipline, you’ll be okay. Some days you will be so productive, you’ll accomplish so much, meet all your deadlines, satisfy clients, and do so many tasks that it will be quite a high for you. If only all days could be like that.
But you’ll have some days when you’re constantly distracted or constantly interrupted, you’ll have to deal with less than satisfied clients, woefully miss your deadlines, and feel like you didn’t get nearly enough done.
Just accept that there will be such days and move on. Mason Cooley in an interview for ‘O’ Magazine, said, “Regret for wasted time, is more wasted time.” Instead of ranting and raving when days like that occur, just move on, and determine that the next day will be different.
Pull out that wonderful little day runner of yours and go carefully through your upcoming schedule. The better prepared and better scheduled you are, the less likely more bad days like that will occur, at least not very often. Remember that Plan B you’re supposed to have and fall back to that. When days like that hit you, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
If you’re the head of the household and working from home, or a mother running a business from your home, there are other distractions to consider. That’s right. Your children (bless their little hearts) can be the biggest distraction for you. When they’re in school, it’s a quiet atmosphere, conducive to lots of work; but when they’re at home, it’s a whole different ballgame.
You’ll need to work in a room that you can close off and try to keep quiet, especially if you need to talk to other business people or clients on the phone. Nothing says “unprofessional” louder than the scream of a small child in the middle of your conversation with a new client.
If your children are old enough to understand that you need peace and quiet, especially when you’re on the phone, then you’ll do fine. Smaller children and babies are another story. This is where you might want to delegate a bit, by hiring someone to keep an eye on the little darlings while you work, at least for a few hours.
Knowing how to balance your work life and your home life is a little more difficult when you work from your home. It’s important to have a shut down time, when you put away the work, close your office, turn off the business phone, and give yourself time to relax and enjoy with your family.
Single people working from home have a harder time of it, though, especially if they’re on a roll; they’re more likely to work late into the night, and on weekends, because they have no family to give their time. So, it’s even more important for them to have a shut down time, to remind themselves that the business day is over.
In a crowded home, having a separate room to use as your office is mandatory for maximum efficiency. Not only will it give you as much privacy as you can hope for, but it will help separate your work life from your home life. Let others know when that door is closed, you’re busy working and should not be disturbed except for dire emergencies.Now that you’ve got a workspace in your home that’s all yours, let’s talk about getting it organized and keeping it that way.
Let’s start with your desk, since most of us have computers in our homes; and for home-based businesses, it’s essential. Most CPUs these days are in the form of towers and can be stored beneath your desk, and won’t take up valuable desk space. Purchase a desk large enough to house the monitor and still give you plenty of space for necessities like pen and pencil cups, stapler, paper clips and holder, as well as baskets or other containers for bits and pieces necessary for day-to-day work. Keep a calendar in a prominent place on your desk or above it.
Write down all appointments, deadlines, and special events you don’t want to forget. Make sure you have a clock somewhere in your office and keep track of your time during the day. Being late for appointments just screams amateur.
Make sure there is sufficient light on your desk; poor light will tire out your eyes and give you headaches. Natural light is preferred if possible, though you should have a good lamp for cloudy days and evenings at work.
A bulletin board above your desk is a great place to tack up those important notes and bits of info you can’t afford to lose. Go through the material tacked up on it periodically and discard out-of-date items. This is also a great place to keep a few pictures of loved ones, to cheer you up every so often.
A file cabinet or two is indispensable for the home-based worker. They are available in different sizes (regular cabinets as well as lateral file cabinets), depending upon the size of your office and your individual needs. When purchasing these file cabinets, don’t forget to also purchase hanging files and file folders. Filing is of great importance, especially if your home office is very small. File everything as it comes into your office and periodically go through all your files and updates, discarding any out-of-date materials.
Remember to tidy up your office the last few minutes of your workday, putting away files you’ve finished with and setting up files for the next day’s work. Clean up your office at the end of the week. It’s important to stay on top of things; don’t let them pile up. It will take you more time to go through large piles of papers and junk once a month, than if you tidy up each day or even at the end of every week. This saves you time and energy. Organizing needs to be maintained, or you’ll go back to your original messy office.
Managing your time, even when working at home, is essential. If you have a large family and things get noisy and hectic during the day, you may find getting up earlier will give you the quiet time you need to get your day started more smoothly.
Whatever schedule you decide is best for you, it’s important that you stick with it as much as possible. Flexibility is nice, but the work still has to be done. So, try to stay with the schedule that you’ve laid out for yourself. Suzanne Frisse said, “Working without a list leaves me without a clear direction to my day. I end the day exhausted, scratching my head and saying, ‘I know I was busy, but I seem to have nothing to show for all that activity!’”
Whichever type of schedule planner you decide to use (whether commercial planners, electronic planners, or your own planning sheets on your computer), print them out, and use them every day. Each planning sheet should contain:
• The tasks that need to be completed.
• Deadlines or due dates.
• Any relevant meetings needed to complete the tasks.
• An estimated time frame for completion of each task.
Once you know approximately how long it should take to complete each task, figure out blocks of time you can use to complete that task.
You can also make up daily planning sheets, showing all appointments, meetings, phone calls, any necessary paper work, daily chores, and of course, the time frame you think you’ll need to accomplish them.
Don’t forget to do planning sheets for any upcoming projects you are aware of, the estimated time frames to complete the job, and any deadlines or due dates. Thinking and planning for an upcoming project will mean much less stress for you later. Good preparation takes out a lot of the uncertainty, meaning clearer thinking and less stress.
If the project comes with an automatic deadline, do your best to stick to it and finish the project ahead of the due date. If there’s no particular due date, assign yourself your own deadline for completion of the project. There’s an old Scottish proverb that says, “What may be done at any time will be done at no time.”
When it comes to your to-do list, don’t let list-making become a substitute for the actual “doing.” Taking too much time to make your list works against you time-wise, because it actually keeps you from getting started.
As your workday goes along, you may find it necessary to add or subtract from your planning sheet. Things happen, stuff changes, and you must adapt. That project that wasn’t supposed to be due for three months has just been bumped up to four weeks from today. What do you do? It may wreck your planning sheet and mess up your schedule in general, but it has to be done.
Other projects may have to be shelved for a time, maybe indefinitely. It will probably mean long hours to play catch up, but you have to be prepared for any contingencies. Always allow for the unexpected; you never know what will happen.
And when you’re doing that catch up, or just working on a particularly large project, remember to give yourself a break now and then. Marcia Yudkin tells us that studies on human concentration show it rises and falls in ninety-minute cycles. So every hour and a half, you should take a ten-minute break.
This will increase your capacity for work. If you work at a computer, it’s important to rest your eyes occasionally. Too much time staring at the monitor, especially if you must read a lot of material online, will eventually make you feel drowsy.
Take into account your energy levels during the day. Don’t plan a huge project at a time when your energy level is at its lowest; you’ll have trouble concentrating otherwise. Don’t let yourself get too tired or too hungry; it’s hard to focus on work when all you want to do is lay down for a nap, or if the thought of food takes precedence over your work.
And to help keep yourself focused, make time to think about the bigger picture - the future you want for yourself and your family. Make the most of your time, your work, and your life. Keep in mind the specific targets and goals that you want to achieve.
Keeping your eyes on the prize will help you avoid making unfortunate detours on the path to your future. Forget the side-trips and concentrate on what you really, really want.Edmund Burke said, “You can never plan the future by the past.” Forget the past, it’s over; the future isn’t here yet; concentrate on the here and now and learn to become organized. The future will be here before you know it.
“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces and which most men throw away.” - Charles Caleb Colton
How to Organize Your Money:You May Be Richer Than You Think!
“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.” - Jackie Mason
When you’re cleaning out your closets, did you find that old shoebox full of receipts, statements, and bills? Now it’s time to stop procrastinating and go through the bits and pieces of your financial life. You’ve done so well and straightened out the rest of your personal and professional life, it’s time to handle the money part too.
Most people who find themselves disorganized when it comes to their homes and offices also find they are disorganized when it comes to their finances. Avoidance of all messes becomes a habit that’s hard to break.
Very few of us like to dig through the receipts, cancelled checks, bills, and credit card statements. A root canal would be preferable to balancing that checkbook. It doesn’t have to be that way. Remember how good you felt when you conquered the disorganization of the rest of your home and office? Trust me, you’ll feel just as good, or even better, dealing with the money mess.
Plan to give yourself a few hours time to deal with this paper clutter. Let’s start with that box of paper clutter you found while cleaning out your closet. Then gather all the other papers, bits and pieces, statements, bills, file folders, and everything that constitutes your financial life, and lay them all out on the dining room table.
Don’t forget to look through your purse, pockets, etc. anywhere you may have stashed a receipt or two. Be sure to place a trashcan near the table. Arm yourself with plenty of brand new file folders, large envelopes, pens, and some color-coded stickers. You may want to purchase a small portable file holder, just for bills, etc.
Drag everything out and start sorting through the piles of papers. Checks in one pile, business receipts in another, credit card statements in another, paycheck stubs in another, etc. until you’ve gone through every single piece of paper. Discard old receipts that aren’t useful anymore. Use color-coded stickers to help you keep everything straight and organized.
Start a file for the current year and stash your business receipts in it. Paid bills should be filed away in your portable folder and the unpaid bills should be kept in a different folder, so as not to be forgotten. There are many useful tools out there in your office supply store to help you get organized on a monthly basis, when it comes to bill paying. Use whatever is handiest for you and keeps you up to date.
A month-at-a-glance calendar is very handy and simple to use for bill paying. List each bill on the date that it’s due and do this for each month of the year. Keep this calendar on your desk, within easy reach, so you won’t forget it. As you pay each bill, check if off on the calendar. A quick glance at each month shows which bills have been taken care of and which bills still need your attention.
Once you’ve taken care of filing all the papers in their proper places, it’s time to get to that checkbook. If it’s been several months since you did this little task, it may take you a while to catch up, but it is essential that you know exactly where you stand, financially. Essentially balancing your checkbook is as simple as adding in all the deposits you’ve made each month and subtracting all the checks written. Don’t forget to include any withdrawals through ATMs, along with any fees posted for these withdrawals, as well as any other fees your bank charges.
Nowadays, the check card issued through your bank is quickly replacing actual paper checks and is marvelously handy. It’s faster than writing checks and makes shopping a breeze anywhere you go. However, there are some drawbacks, which won’t be a problem for you with just a little organizing. Anytime you use your check card, be sure to make a notation in your checkbook. List the necessary information - where you used your card and for how much. Believe me, you won’t remember later; and unless you use an online banking account, you’ll be at a loss as to where you stand with your bank balance.
Setting up an online account with your bank takes only a few minutes and can save you many headaches in the future. Paper statements are good, but keeping up to date on your bank balance on a daily basis is much safer.
Thanks to technology, you can make short work of balancing your checkbook. Computer programs like Quicken or Microsoft Money are invaluable tools in the search for financial freedom. Start keeping careful track of where you spend your money, every single penny of it. You might be surprised at where your money is leaking out of your life.
Do you buy one of those fancy coffees each day? Just can’t do without it? Just a little indulgence you say? That $5.00 cup of coffee, every day, five days a week, for twelve months, really adds up. That little indulgence could be costing you on average about $1200 a year. Robert W. Sarnoff said, “Finance is the art of passing currency from hand to hand until it finally disappears.”
Without the proper organization, you could be losing hundreds of dollars per year with just a few little indulgences like this. By knowing precisely what you spend each day, each week, each month, you can literally save hundreds to use in other significant ways, such as college tuition for your kids or a much-deserved grand vacation.
There’s the obvious advantage of saving money and putting it where you really want to use it, or putting it into a high yield savings account, an IRA, or even investing in mutual funds. Then, there’s the wonderful feeling of self-confidence in taking control of a section of your life that’s been terrifyingly out of control, maybe for years. Groucho Marx once said, “Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.”
Okay, so after a couple of hours work on the checkbook balancing and a few minutes online setting up your account, you’ve actually balanced the whole thing, down to the last penny. Whew! What a relief! Now you’re in control, which should be the case. That’s the first step to being in total control of not only your money, but also your life. If you know exactly what’s coming in and precisely what’s going back out, you’re now in the driver’s seat.
You may still owe money on credit cards and loans, but you’re no longer in the dark about your financial future. You know where you stand now and where you’re going; you’re in control of that future. You won’t be like E. E. Cummings who said, “I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.”
Now comes the maintenance part of organization. It’s no good setting everything up for yourself, then letting it lay there unused. When your bills come in, discard any extraneous parts, just file the bill and the envelope for sending it back to the company with payment. An even easier way these days is to pay bills online. Setting up the accounts for your credit cards is super easy; it’s simple to pay online and safe.
Your account information is encrypted before it’s sent to the companies. Many feel it’s safer than sending in the traditional paper statements containing your account information that anyone can get their hands on by simply opening the envelope.
If you still prefer the paper bill and snail mailing your check, file that statement and make a note of the due date to keep yourself organized, so that your bill gets paid on time. Make sure you go over that statement carefully, in case of errors that could cost you more money. If you do find any discrepancies, contact the company immediately. Waiting could cost you.
If you use the online method of payment, be sure to print a copy of the transaction to prove the amount paid, as well as the date. Always keep these copies filed in the appropriate folder.
Identity theft is running rampant these days, but there are ways to protect yourself. Deal with any mail from finance companies, credit card companies offering you cards, etc. right away. Shred any papers with your personal information that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Never send credit card information in an email and never give it to someone on the phone.
If the credit card company calls you, they won’t ask you for your account number, they already have it in their files. Don’t be fooled by scammers! Be especially careful with your credit cards; don’t keep your PIN numbers in your wallet or purse, with the cards. And guard your Social Security number carefully; your good credit depends on it.
“Money talks, but all mine ever says is goodbye.” – Anon
How to Organize Your Travel Time:Surviving Your Vacation!
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
Ah, the joys of traveling! The actual traveling is fun; it’s the preparation for traveling that keeps many people at home. Getting everyone ready, packed, and out the door doesn’t need to be hectic, painful, or stressful. With just a few pointers and a little organization, you can have a great vacation.
So, you’ve already picked your vacation site and you’ve decided the time of year you’ll be going, so you know what you need in the way of clothes, shoes, etc. But where do you start to make sure the whole family is organized and ready to go?
When it comes to your luggage, buy the sturdiest, best made pieces that you can afford. You’ll be glad you did. Traveling is hard on luggage; you don’t want pieces falling apart in the middle of your trip that have to be replaced mid vacation.
There are many kinds of luggage; what you buy will depend on where you’re going, how long you’re staying, etc. If you’ve decided to go camping, get the sturdiest, waterproof type of backpacks you can find. They need to stand up to the elements and rough going.
As you’re picking out the luggage for your vacation, look for sturdy locks and catches that don’t give easily and hinges that can take the strain without breaking. Make sure you keep those suitcase keys in a safe place, preferably in your carry-on luggage, purse, or pocket. Whether you need soft side luggage or the harder shell type will depend on what you plan to carry inside. Soft side luggage is great for clothing and shoes, but if you are planning to pack breakable pieces, like bottles and other toiletries, the harder shell type luggage is what you need.
For your carry-on pieces, keep in mind that the bag will have to go through security devices and must be a certain size. Check with the airports you’ll be traveling through for their size requirements and also for any restrictions. Be prepared for all contingencies. This lessens the stress at the airport, especially if you’re responsible for getting small children on board safely.
While large bags seem perfect for all your clothing, shoes, and other paraphernalia, they are sometimes difficult to get into taxis or rental car trunks, not to mention some doorways. If you’re doing any extensive traveling, that huge bag will get very heavy and hard to shift from place to place.
The kind of luggage with wheels and pullout handles are the handiest ever invented, even if the wheels break off one day and the handle snaps off. Once again, buy the very best you can afford, if you want it to last for many, many vacation trips. If you’re traveling with your kids, this type of luggage is ideal. Kids are able to pull a suitcase they might not be able to carry. Besides the top handle, these pieces also have a side handle, making it easier to maneuver it through any doorway or up a flight of stairs.
Your first instinct is probably to pack a suitcase for each person. Sounds sensible, until you consider the possibility that one of those suitcases could go missing and one person in your family will be without any extra clothes. Pull out a suitcase for each person, but divide the clothes so that there’s a change for each person in each case. Losing a suitcase is not a happy event, but it doesn’t need to be a disaster for anybody in your family.
Getting where you’re going and discovering you’ve forgotten something vital is frustrating and irritating, so learn to be prepared, from beginning to end. Decide ahead of time what you’ll need for each person. Make a checklist, one for each member of your family who’s traveling. As you pack each suitcase, keep the list handy and check off each item as you pack it. Double-check that list before you close up the suitcase and lock it.
Make sure those luggage keys immediately go into the bag or tote you’re taking on the plane with you. You don’t want to get to your destination and suddenly remember those keys are sitting on the dresser back at home.
When it comes to packing the clothing everyone will need for the trip, try this little hint. Instead of folding shirts, pants, etc, try rolling them up. This avoids the wrinkle line in your clothes, and you’ll discover you can get more into your suitcase this way. Rolling up socks and placing them inside your packed shoes is also a space saver.
When it comes to your toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, cologne, hairspray, soap and body wash, pop them into Zip Loc bags first before you pack them in your suitcase. Even if the worse happens and the bottles break or leak, you won’t find your clothes floating in the mess. Avoid taking aerosol cans in your luggage as too much heat can cause them to explode.
Organizing your clothes in the suitcase is a snap nowadays thanks to Zip Loc who also makes very large bags. You can use these to store your clothes in for the trip out and then use them for wet clothes or dirty laundry for the trip home.
For your favorite toiletries, you can find almost every kind in the small travel size, which is easy to pack and use. You can also buy small plastic bottles and jars, and fill them with your favorite shampoo, conditioner, etc. If you travel a lot, perhaps for business, it will save you time if you keep a special bag ready at all time, filled with your essential toiletries. Remember to keep it up to date, with all your necessities refilled.
As for what to pack in the way of clothing, that will depend on where you’re going. Even if you planned on sitting on the beach every day for two weeks, you’ll still need something to wear to a restaurant a time or two. Always plan ahead, as well as for any contingency. You’ll never know what will happen.
Organizing your clothing around a few pieces in neutral shades will make it much easier to mix and match, thereby making it possible to get the most out of a few pieces. “He who would travel happily must travel light,” said Antoine de Sainte-Exupery.
As you begin planning, preparing, and organizing for this trip of a lifetime, you will accumulate quite a bit of paperwork: airline or train tickets, confirmations, boarding passes, car and hotel reservations, and timetables. Keep everything in one place, a special folder perhaps, and don’t forget to pop it into your carry-on luggage or your purse.
Try to get your home tidied up before you leave town. This will save you time and energy when you return home. You won’t have a huge mess to face the moment you walk in the door.
With just a little preparation and a bit of organization, you can truly enjoy your vacation time, with your family.
Making plans ahead of time and getting yourself and your family organized will save you time, money, and a lot of stress.
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs to return home to find it.” - George Moore
Organizing the Special Events in Your Life:It’s Okay to Party!
“Between too early and too late, there is never more than a moment.” - Franz Werfel
Do you look forward to the special events in your life, or do you dread those dates as they pop up? Maybe you think you just don’t have the time to plan a party; you barely have time to attend an occasional party, let alone throw one of your own. With a few tips and techniques and a little organization, you can host a party that people will remember for years.
How about that big anniversary your parents are about to celebrate? Wouldn’t they love a big bash with all their friends invited to share this important milestone with them? Throw them an anniversary party they’ll never forget.
Before you plan a single thing however, talk to them about what they’d like. Their idea of a great celebration might not be exactly what you would have planned; but this is their day, remember? Will it be casual or formal? You can make it as simple as a backyard barbecue, or as fancy as dinner and dancing at a classy restaurant.
Talk to any siblings as well, to see if they’d like to get in on the fun. If you’re on a tight budget, let them pitch in to help with the planning and the fun. This is how families make memories.
The bigger the bash, the more time you’ll need for planning and organizing. Don’t wait until the last minute to try and throw together something as big as an anniversary party.
Depending on what has been decided for a theme, and whether it’s to be casual or formal, you may need the services of a rental company. Just about every large city or town has a rental company that will rent out everything from tables and chairs to cutlery and china and everything in-between.
Once you’ve decided on the date and a venue for the party, you’ll need a guest list as soon as possible. If you’ve decided on the theme, it’s time to go shopping for invitations; or if you wish, you can design one on your computer and print them out yourself. Check out your nearest office supply store for a wonderful selection of paper and cards perfect for the do-it-yourself type.
This takes a little time, but you can really personalize the invitations to fit your loved ones and their special occasion. The invitations should be sent out at least two weeks before the party, so your guests can make their own arrangements to attend.
As soon as you have an estimated head count, you can go shopping for the supplies. These will vary, depending on the theme of the party. Don’t forget interesting favors for your guests to take home with them, to remember the important day. Photos are always a great idea; try taking a photo of each guest with the happy couple. Let them hold up a banner, proudly proclaiming the date of the anniversary party. You could even have t-shirts screen-printed with a photo of the couple, to give to their guests.
If you’re preparing the food for the party yourself, try and get as much done the day before as you can and store everything in the refrigerator. Two or three hours before the party, do all the decorating and any other preparation work that’s necessary. Let family and friends lend you a hand.
Many hands make the work lighter and more fun. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to shower and dress for the party and give yourself some relaxing time to catch your breath, so you can enjoy yourself too. You don’t want to look harried and hassled when your guests start arriving.
Be ready ahead of time and greet each of your guests as they arrive, making them feel welcome. Take any coats or jackets they may be wearing, then direct them to the foods and drinks. Show them where to find the happy couple. You may have to make the rounds a few times, to make sure your buffet is replenished occasionally. Keep all dishes filled.
If you’re organized and prepared, everything should go off without a hitch. Just remember, as always, be prepared for the unexpected. Try to anticipate all scenarios. Plan on having more than enough foods and drinks; it’s better to have leftovers, than to run short in the middle of the party.
This is just a quick overview of a well-planned party and can be adapted, depending on your theme, venue, number of guests, and formality involved. The important part to remember is to have fun and make it especially fun for the couple whose anniversary you’re celebrating. Moments like these will never come again. That particular anniversary will never come again. Enjoy them to the fullest. Maria Edgeworth, in an interview with ‘O’ Magazine, said it best. “If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
The other special event you’ll no doubt be called upon to plan for and deliver will be birthday parties. No matter the age, everyone enjoys a birthday party. For children, it’s essential to have parties to mark the milestone birthdays. Kids love having a birthday.
Once again, you need a head start to plan a birthday party. Let your child help decide the theme and who’s to be invited. Places that have pizza parties geared towards kids are all the rage right now. For a nominal fee, you can have the party on their premises, where they provide the foods and drinks and a party atmosphere in the form of kid-size rides.
You’re given two hours, plus a place for the kids to sit and eat and the birthday child to open his/her gifts. You bring your own birthday cake. Then they do the cleanup. No muss, no fuss, no Kool-Aid on the carpet or cake on the furniture.
The biggest mistake parents make when it comes to hosting a party for their little darlings is to invite way too many children. The younger the child, the fewer guests there should be. Too much excitement can cause young children to become very difficult to handle, argumentative, and teary.
Smaller groups and carefully planned activities are easier for children to handle. Two hours is pretty much the time limit you should shoot for when it comes to younger children. Make sure they’ve had a nap before the party starts so they don’t become overly tired.
After hours of planning a child’s party, decorating, creating, cooking, and baking, then watching them tear around everything while enjoying themselves, it’s hard to have a great deal of patience. Remember, they’ll grow up and be gone soon. These memories are important. Stay organized and you can do it.
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” - Franklin P. Jones
So, now that you’ve got your home, your office, your finances, your family, and every aspect of your life organized, now’s the time to congratulate yourself on a job well done. Walk through your home; notice how neat and tidy it is now and how easy it is to find what you need from day to day. Keep those photos you took handy, to remind yourself of just how much work you’ve invested in your life. Contact Us HERE if you have any requests or suggestions for materials to be included in your Distributor Training Tools section.
Look around your office. See how efficient and productive you’ve made your work life. By doing so, you’ve created more time for the other aspects of your life.
By organizing your family, you’ve given them the gift of time - time to spend with you and with their friends. And you’ve taught them how to create that time for the rest of their lives, by staying organized and productive.
Keeping your finances in order will guarantee security and peace of mind all your life. Now you’re organized in every aspect of your life. It’s up to you to stay organized, efficient, and productive.
Remember you’re in control; it’s all up to you.
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