It’s been awhile since I last posted as the holidays consumed most of us (in a good way, I hope!) Along with the holiday hubbub, we welcomed the newest member of the Houser family in mid-December. I gave birth to my second, beautiful baby boy and our whole family could not be more excited. There is nothing like the presence of a new baby in your life to help you re-prioritize. I have been reflecting on how fantastic 2012 was and thinking about my goals for 2013 and I have decided that my #1 New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to work smarter, not harder.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to stop working because I love what I do and the clients I work with. However, I do want to focus on those things I feel can make the biggest difference and still allow me the time to be an active part in my little one’s lives. I think most of you can relate so I thought I’d share a few organizational tools and tips for working smarter versus harder.
1. Evernote. I wear a lot of different hats each day and there are responsibilities to go along with each of those roles. This app streamlines your life by allowing you to organize, manage and retrieve almost everything you can imagine (photos, videos, screenshots, receipts, voice memos, and even handwritten notes). You can track and retrieve all of these things on any of your devices, which will make keeping up with each of your responsibilities much easier.
2. Stop working in chaos. Aren’t we all guilty of this one? I find that physical clutter, particularly on my desk and around my office results in mental clutter. I went into nesting mode a couple months ago when we moved into our new house and I started preparing for the arrival of Baby Houser. I found the Container Store to be extremely helpful for organizing my papers and supplies, freeing up space to work and breathe. The Container Store has everything under the sun to help you get organized…but beware, you can go a bit overboard with all they have to offer. I spent a small fortune on cute boxes, bins and racks. You can also check out Amazon.com for neat organizational tools. Most items qualify for free Super Saver Shipping if you purchase at least $50 worth of goods. And when you’re talking organization, that’s easy to do!
3. Keep the “Big Picture” in mind… and on your computer or iPad. When I was younger, I thought the bubble maps we used to brainstorm were so cool. Now there’s an online version to this old-school favorite organizational tool: MindMeister. In addition, I find Pinterest is a great way to visualize and communicate goals and causes important to me.
4. Go green! Its 2013…there is no reason not to be paying all your bills online at this point. Not only will it help the environment by reducing paper use and waste but, with automatic payment set up, it’ll also take out the trouble of remembering whether or not you paid the American Express card bill last month. Take it a step further with a free app like Mint, which pulls all of your financial accounts into one place so that you can track where every penny goes. I warn you, it’s slightly addictive.
5. Purposely choose goals that enhance your life and the lives of others. I suggest this for several reasons. First, it hardly seems like work when you know that what you’re doing is going to positively impact someone else. The thought of their smile, appreciation, and perhaps relief is enough to keep your eye on the prize. In my experience, it’s an entirely different feeling of accomplishment than reaching a goal that only I care about. Second, if you’re working for a greater good, you will likely find yourself surrounded by other positive people who want to help you achieve your goal. And there certainly is power in numbers. Lastly, accomplishing goals that help others will leave a lasting legacy. There’s something to be said for that, don’t you think?