Just where to start

“Oh, I’ll need to make this one call.” or “Let me just wash the dishes and I’ll start.” These were some of my excuses when it came to writing this post. For some reason or another, I didn’t seem to find the right start and postponed and postponed and postponed writing.

For many of my clients, the thought of getting organised is overwhelming. How many times have I heard them say: “I just don’t know where to start.” Starting is actually easier than you think:

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Help! My guests are coming!

Spring time is always the start of the new travel season. You can still go to places in the South without having to suffer from roaring temperatures and peak season fares. And so I’ve decided to fly my mom over. In Dubai, it’s now just over 40 C (104 F) and Emirates offered a great promotional deal. How could I not do it?!

With everything else going on, I didn’t want to stress about preparing my mom’s room. Instead of doing everything in one big go, I opted for 30 minute blocks. A lot easier to digest. If you don’t want to break into a sweat, check out these tips:

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The Home Office – Are you still cleaning or already getting things done?

Today was a great day. Starting with a walk around the lake, I’ve attended a very informative seminar about medical benefits in the GCC. The best was finishing my work day from home.

To me, working from home has many advantages: Less interruptions and less distractions, a lot more focus and productivity! Given my various deadlines (who doesn’t have them), it was just what was needed and I was so pleased to close a number of activities off.

To some, working from home is a very different story. The laundry basket is calling your name, you haven’t seen your neighbour for a while, why not catch up and oh, you haven’t decided what to cook for dinner yet. What can you do to treat your home office just like your regular office?

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Summer’s coming – Get ready for the heat

Arriving sleep deprived to a brunch in Dubai is never a good thing. Learning at the entrance that our table is booked outside on the terrace was quite the surprise. The biggest realisation and shock though was that summer is approaching. Fast!

For us in the Middle East, we’ll also observe Ramadan which is expected to be from 18 June until 17 July. This and the heat will impact our activities and it’s time to organise your social and outdoor activities.

Get ahead of the game and get your calendar out. What do you want to do before it gets too hot and Ramadan starts?

Here are some suggestions:

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Work smarter, be more productive

Organised Life and Mind

Organised Life and Mind

168 hours! That’s how much time each of us have per week. The majority of these 168 hours will be spent in bed, hopefully being sound asleep. The second biggest chunk is being taken up by our work. Being in the Middle East, we often face working outside of our normal working hours.  Who doesn’t work with colleagues in Western countries which are 2, 3 or even 8 hours behind our time zone and which have the Monday – Friday working week instead of our Sunday – Thursday working week?

Just like you, I don’t want to spend day and night working. There are too many great things in Dubai (and in life) which I like to experience. Over the years, I’ve been experimenting with different approaches to become more efficient. Here are some tips to help you work smarter and enjoy life more:

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Be aware: Energy vampires

Living in the Middle East, where temperatures can easily reach 45-50C (113-122F) in the summer, the thought of a siesta or afternoon nap to recharge your battery is very appealing. This morning, my colleague Marie was telling me this morning how low her energy levels were. Bang! At 2 am, she was bright awake and couldn’t fall back asleep. I’m sure Marie would have preferred the option for a power nap after lunch.

I can so emphasise with the siesta idea as I’m coming across various energy vampires during my day. This is referring to individuals who are sucking the life out of you. For me, multi-tasking is probably the biggest and more stressful one. Answering a call and simultaneously checking my emails or calculating something in excel don’t work. Every day, there’s a new study released which confirms that multitasking is not leading to increased productivity!

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Benefits of Being Organised

While I’m no big believer in fate, I sometimes wonder why a certain person would be sitting to me on is trip. During the NAPO a conference, I met some awesome organisers who shared different stories and insights, leaving me invigorated and energised.  On my return flight, David was sitting next to me and what a beautiful conversation we had.

Working at JFK airport, his belongings created stress for him. He hated driving or even more so being stuck in traffic. When he finally made the decision to sell his car, he could feel a load being taken from his shoulders. For him, deposing a number, well, a lot, of his belongings meant gaining freedom. “I’m relieved,” he said. “I’ve space in my apartment and can focus on the people and things that really matter to me.” For him, decluttering his life style clearly have paid off and he described him as a more balanced and appreciating person.

What could you gain from being (more) organised?

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A fantastic NAPO 2015 Annual Conference

What a great event the NAPO 2015 Annual Conference in Los Angeles was!

Over the last 3 days, more than 500 attendees from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Dubai (that’s me!) soaked up the latest trends in the organisation world, exchanged tips and tricks and formed a powerful network. I’m so proud to have become part of this mighty group!

  • Did you know that the average US American household contains about 300,000 items (the average European only has 10,000 items)?
  • According to Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists, the 3 most dangerous words in the English language are “Just in Case”. You keep stuff for this “just in case” but when will this “case” ever happen?
  • Have you ever thought of taking the Lean Principles from your office and apply them to your home, too? Remember Julia Childs, the famous chef, drew the outline of each pot and frying pan on a peg board. She and anyone else who worked in her kitchen would easily know where everything belonged.
  • Do you account for all hours in your workday? If you’re unable to identify 2 hours per day and are charging $50 per hour, this costs you $26,000 in income per year!

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Meet me at the NAPO Annual Conference and Organizing Conference

naponapo2015

I’m really excited to be attending my first Annual Conference and Organizing Conference hosted by NAPO.

Held in sunny LA from 15-18 April 2015, over 80 speakers like Julie MorgensternClare Kumar and Barbara Hemphill will presenting the latest trends and developments. I can’t wait to hear and learn more about cool topics such as increasing productivity, virtual organising, maximising social media and running your business.

If you are in the vicinity, contact me to arrange for a meeting. I’d love to meet you!

Control your space

Barbara Hemphill, the paper tiger lady, introduced me to the term S.Y.S.T.E.M.: Saving you space, time, energy, money. Space is such a valuable commodity these days. Just because you’re living in a house or villa, as they’re called here in Dubai, it doesn’t mean you need to have every inch of your home filled with items. Until now, I’ve moved about 25 times in my life and shipping boxes from one country to another becomes expensive. Although I’ve no intentions of leaving this beautiful city, I’m conscious of what I’m buying and often ask myself:

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