Operation clean: How to best keep your house clean

What did you do this weekend? Were you able to catch up with some friends and family? Could you enjoy the cooler temperatures? Or did you spend a few hours cleaning and getting your house back in shape?

In my home, Friday is dominated by sports and meeting friends while Saturday is about running errands and cleaning. In the past, I’ve experimented with what works best for us and have now a cleaning schedule in place which helps to save substantial time and energy.

I first looked into the existing cleaning routine and felt it was too much of an effort. My life does not evolve around cleaning the house and without a maid, I don’t want to spend any more time than necessary on it.

So I looked into the different options of getting the house cleaned faster and with less hassle:

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10 tips for taking notes during a client meeting

Last time, I shared my tips for taking notes as the official recorder. The role is easily defined but what do you do when you are a participant? As a participant, it’s a bit more challenges and you’re facing numerous obstacles: You need to actively engage in the discussion, handle disruptions like incoming calls, texts or emails, manage interruptions by colleagues entering the office or meeting room. And still take notes for yourself?

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8 top tips for getting the most out of taking the official meeting minutes

Recently, a reader contacted me about the best way to take notes. She’s struggling to engage in the discussion, look at her client and take notes at the same time. Regardless of the position or company, I’ve seen many colleagues ask me the same question.

Participating in meetings can be a challenge alone these days. Companies are now spread over different countries and time zones. If you’re lucky, meetings take place face-to-face in the same room. We based in the Middle East, we’re more often called into telephone conferences (telcons), video conferences or webinars and they’re not limited to Sunday through Thursday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

How do you get the best out of the many hours you spend in meetings? How do you know what is being added to your to-do list? Where do you go if a dispute about previous decisions arises? Taking notes during meetings can help you!

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Are you prepared for the unexpected?

FreezerWhile visiting my family in Germany, our freezer decided to break down. It was ironic to happen when our handyman checked our dishwasher and shortly afterwards, there was the new freezer. After 21 years, it’s a well-deserved retirement. For my mom, it meant an unexpected and unplanned expense. Luckily for her, she had set some money aside for these events.

We don’t know what the future holds but we can prepare ourselves for the unexpected. Here are the latest tips to start your own preparations for unexpected financial expenses:

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Create your NOW (National Organising Week)

Have you heard of NOW? The National Organising Week? In Australia and New Zealand, the AAPO runs its annual campaign about the benefits of being organised this week and they partner with charities who’ll take any pre-loved items.

About 16,500 km away from Sydney, I’ll be working with clients on their own NOW here in Germany this week. I’ve been approached to organise a basement and am rather grateful for the cold and rainy weather. Moving unwanted furniture or bags full of stuff upstairs can be exhausting.

To start an easy NOW for you, look around your home and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Here are 15 suggestions of things you can declutter within 10 minutes:

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Hope is not a financial strategy

In a few days, I’m going to my home town and I cannot wait to see friends and family again. It will be fabulous to sleep in a bit and catch up with them. Despite my best efforts, I will also look after tedious banking affairs. “Hope is not a financial strategy”, as Suze Orman once fittingly said.

Your strategy may be adjusted over the years, reflecting your age, family and job circumstances. When you’re in your 20s, retirement may be far away and you may focus on paying off any student debt. Forward 30 years and planning for your retirement may have become your top financial priority.

What do you want to achieve in life? Or what do you want to get out of life? For some, it’s saving enough that they’ve achieved financial freedom. Others may want to make enough money to travel to foreign places. For others, it may be providing private education for their children. I realise that this is probably one of the hardest questions you’ll ever ask yourself. By defining (in writing) what you’re looking for, you’ll gain clarity.

One you know where you’re heading, ask yourself:

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