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pocket icon

Get Pocket!

I love to read blog posts. It’s a big chunk of my day. They inspire me, teach me and/or make me laugh. Sometimes I share them with you. Most of them come to me in my email which is cool. However, I also don’t like to have a crazy full inbox – I’m a professional organizer! LOL! I’ve been a mostly-zero inbox person for a very long time. Discovering this tool has made this even easier!

pocket website

The tool is called Pocket (it used to be called Read it Later or something like that). Basically, it allows me to skim through my email for the posts that I simply MUST read. I click to open the post. If I have time to read it then, I will. Most of the time, I don’t have time to read then(FOCUS!), but I want to be sure to really read it later. I go to the post and then click the little “Pocket” icon to stash the post for reading when I have time.

pocket icon

 

The reason this works is that it allows me to stay out of my email until the few times a day when I go through and do my focused email maintenance time (batching, peeps, STOP going into your email every 10 minutes! and definitely don’t have it running while you’re trying to WORK! Focus people!)

 

During this focused time, I’m creating a focused READING time because all of the MUST reads are together (and are visually appealing!) I don’t have these cluttering up my inbox. Then when I’m waiting for kids or just sitting down to read for a few minutes, I flip over to my Pocket app and do some quiet reading! Again, focused on only reading, not being disturbed by emails coming in because I’m not in my email!

Let’s face it: we really can’t do multiple things at once. It’s EXTREMELY inefficient to be constantly jumping around between things. I know. I’ve tried it. It simply doesn’t work. You have to STOP pretending it does.

This doesn’t mean that I now have another app full of junk that I’ll just get overwhelmed with. I’m keeping it to around 5-10 things each day that I read (or use the link in a post or something; whatever I was going to do with the post) and then purge from Pocket (yep, DELETE). I’m RUTHLESS and fricking honest with what I’m actually going to read. If it doesn’t light me up at first glance (like, OMG I HAVE to read this!) then it doesn’t get “pocketed”.  If I’m glancing through email and kinda go, “well, this would be cool, don’t know when I’ll get to it” then it gets deleted. I just don’t have time for wishy washy shit. It has to light me up or make me go, “Wow”!
 
I’ve got about 10 “other” things sitting in there that are project based that I’ll be moving elsewhere in the next week or two. There will always be some that need a bit more “work” to deal with before they are purged too. This number will not get higher than 10, because again, I need to keep a realistic expectation on what I’m actually going to do.
 
pocket snapshot
 

Keeping up on the reading in this is easy to do because there’s an app on my phone (and I’m putting it on my Kobo – just haven’t done it yet) and it will even work offline. It’s visually easy to read (no distractions from other website stuff that you normally see when you’re in the post reading on the site) and feeling like I’m reading a magazine.

Get Pocket and move one step closer to getting more reading done (that you want to do!) and less distracted! Get Pocket

I’m a techie and have worked in IT (and been a full time working mom) for over 20 years, so I’ve got lots of tricks on how to make your email work for you. This tool is just one of them! (I’ll share more tools with you in the coming weeks. I’m creating an in depth course that will include deeper insight and how to use these kinds of things. Sign up to be the first to know about it: Goals Goddess Registration)

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Technology-social-media

Confessions

Technology-social-media

Confession…

I was a Facebook addict. Sounds ridiculous right? Facebook otherwise known as Crackbook by some had my attention several times a day. And not just Facebook either. I HAD to have my phone by my side at all times as if it were my lifeline. If I misplaced my phone it would cause me great anxiety. I would have to check emails and Facebook first thing in the morning and last at night plus during the day. I would pick up my phone whenever I heard that little ding to remind me that I had a new message or another email.

 

ad·dict

transitive verb \ə-ˈdikt\

Definition of ADDICT

:  to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively

 

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Technology nowadays makes it really easy to have everything at the touch of our finger tips. Social media sites, email, web pages, music, news, weather and more are readily available with computers, laptops, net-books, tablets and phones. There are many, MANY debates regarding the pros and cons of technology. In terms of users there are those that aren’t comfortable with or choose not to use technology. There are people that use technology only when they have to; maybe for work or the occasional correspondence. Some have a cell phone only for emergency purposes. Then there are those that use technology several times a day. They may be the gamers, use it for their jobs, like playing with all the latest techie tools, or might be very social with the use of it. Whatever the case, it is all around us.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer for how much each individual should use technology. It is all a very personal decision. For me when it got to the point where my kids would be frustrated because I wasn’t 100% present and I was getting distracted for far too long then I knew that it was time to change. I was also really tired of all of the posts telling me what I should eat, what I should wear, how to parent and the list goes on and on. I was not a happy camper. I had been toying with the idea of a Facebook detox for a long time. I had also decided that at this point I needed to take a break from posting on our webpage too (which most of that is connected between Facebook and our site). For me it was the right time to focus on my health and relationships. Getting caught up and pouring hours into our posts cut down on time for other things. I needed a break from online to create a bigger presence and more meaning in my relationships.

 

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Not to say that I wouldn’t have done these things while still being active on Facebook because I still would have been active with workouts, and doing things with friends BUT I was able to squeeze in more running than I had, extra workouts, more time with friends and family. It was quite eye opening really. I love Facebook for keeping in touch, sharing experiences, inspirations and advice but I also know that it is great to live outside of the screen and I just needed that break to remember what other great things I could accomplish.

I am not sorry for stepping away from Simple Life to evaluate what I wanted and didn’t want from our business. I do not feel like I missed out on a whole bunch either from staying off of social media for over a week. I am happy that I got to have more coffee dates rather than texting dates. I know what’s right for me is to step away now and then, follow my feelings, post when it does not feel forced and remember that relationships are what will always be needed in life. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook, texting, emailing and posting but for me there definitely has to be a break from technology at times.

I know I am not alone; I read a statistic that said that ¼ of FB users checked their accounts 5 or more times a day. And considering there are over 1.2 billion users that is a LOT of time online. I also read that ¼ of smartphone users don’t remember the last time that they did not have their phones with them. (Hopefully they are not taking them in to the shower and to bed!) Is this time on Social Media concerning? I think that it could be and everyone needs to evaluate that for themselves.

 

 

text

 

 

What can you do?

If this is a concern for you then there are a few things that may help you.

~ admit that there is a problem. Ask yourself if you are present in your families lives; in fact ask them!

~ figure out why you go on social media in the first place. Is it for connection? Are you bored?

~ find a balance between online and offline interactions.

~limit your time. Check your email only at certain times of the day. Limit social media time.

 

This video is humorous and eye opening.

 

What are your thoughts on social media? Do people abuse it?

 

Credit to Becoming Minimalist
Credit to Becoming Minimalist

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techie tips

Techie Tuesday – Calendar Appointment from an Email

Everyone gets those emails…the ones that say something like, “Hey, let’s go for lunch on Friday” or from your dentist: “Your appointment is scheduled for Monday, March 3 at 2:00”.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to get these into your Google Calendar from just clicking on those words….

Well, with G mail, you can! I explain how in the video below:

Techie Tuesdays will be a regular feature on Simple Life Celebrations website. Our goal is to help you with all those techie organizing questions! Stay tuned!

techie tips

Don’t forget, you can get specific, detailed help from our Ask the Organizer service. We’ll custom design a solution for your question and get back to you within 24 hours! No matter where you are!

Spring is in the Air

This is an article that I wrote last year that fits well with this weeks theme.You may want to do a personal challenge of your own? Even if it is a small challenge, it is still moving forward! Follow Shawna on Simple Life Celebration’s Facebook page as she completes her 365 Thing challenge by getting rid of at least one item per day for the WHOLE year! 


☼Spring is in the air, the snow is melting, the sun is shining and the geese are beginning to fly back home. It’s as if that fresh air and sunshine brings with it this yearning to clean and find order in our lives! With Spring comes the inspiration to clean and tackle those areas that don’t regularly get touched.

 

I have been reading endless blog posts not only about Spring cleaning but also about clearing mental clutter, clearing emotional clutter and not letting other distractions get in the way of living life. I mean REALLY living life! I am taking this all as a sign from the Universe that this year we need to put a spin on things; in true Simple Life style. 😉

 

We say it all the time. We are not only Professional Organizers, we want to help you simplify your lives so that you can take the time to enjoy the important things. In fact this week I took a few minutes to physically write down a list of simple pleasures. You know the things that we so often take for granted. Many things that I wrote revolved around time; taking a moment to really enjoy the company of friends and family, going for a bike ride, surprising someone with a kind word or note of appreciation, cuddles and LOTS more. What if we made the time to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures? Wouldn’t life be grand!?!

 

And the thought that screams into many people’s heads is but I just don’t have the time! Poppy cock I say! I challenge you to really look at the time in your day. You may spend an hour watching some show on TV that you won’t even remember in the morning. Are you on Facebook once or twice a day? How much time do you spend on it? How often do you sneak on the computer or your phone to check emails? Do you find that you have subscribed to way more than you can find to read? Are you running from one thing to the next all week long? Perhaps it is time to recheck priorities and figure out what truly matters to you. Life gets crazy at times but if you don’t want it to be busy then evaluate your schedule.

 

Last year Shawna and I had our Minimalist Challenge. This was where we divided all of the areas in our homes into zones and tackled each one individually. We got rid of LOTS of stuff that we did not need, love, or use. We gave ourselves two weeks to get each space done. (Empty, clean, sort, purge, reorganize, put back together, and get the donations/recycling out of our houses.) It was really quite freeing and it was doable because we all did it together. We encouraged each other and were accountable. It was a personal challenge with a manageable time limit!

 

This year we wanted to do a followup to the Minimalist Challenge from last Spring.

We are calling it the Simple Spring Cleanse.

Here is the actual definition.

 

cleanse

verb (tr)

 

  1. to remove dirt, filth, etc, from

  2. to remove guilt from

 

We want to cover both of the above definitions. By all means feel free to do the usual Spring clean but we are asking ourselves to also think not only about the physical stuff but also the mental, emotional, and even digital clutter that inhabits our worlds on a a daily basis.

What sorts of things can we get rid of?

 

  • items in your home that are broken, that you no longer need, want, or love.

  • magazine, newspaper or other subscriptions that you no longer read.

  • email/blog subscriptions that take time away from other important things that you want to do. (Keep you favourites only!)

  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google plus etc.- can you limit these in any way? Can you cut down your time here or have a day a week that you disconnect? Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist talks about Finding Significance in a World of Distractions. YES, love it! The gist is to recognize the distractions and manage them.

  • Emotional clutter. What is this anyway? Bernice Wood from the Blog, Living the  Balanced Life talks about what it is here:

Some of the emotional clutter we may carry:

Worries Low self-image

Toxic relationship Guilt

Anxiety Fear

Inability to trust Anger

Negative outlook, pessimist

Read more about this!

 

  • Mental Clutter. The Minimalist’s, Ryan Nicodemus writes about Decluttering your Mental Clutter. He describes this as “the voices in your head that won’t be quiet.” We all know about that. Those things from the past or present that make you feel anxious and weigh on your mind. These included physical health, circumstances, and past troubles. Time to deal with these and say good bye!

 

 

  • Unfinished projects. If it has been sitting around forever and you haven’t dealt with it then decide if this is something you really want to do. If you do then stop making excuses and schedule time to do it!
  • Nostalgic clutter. Gretchen Rueben author of the Happiness Project describes this as, “things you hold on to from your past that you don’t need or use.  Things like old text books, old love letters, etc.” I think I may still have all of my binders and textbooks from college. Hmmmm…

  • Aspirational clutter. How about those jeans that you are hoping to fit back into again?

  • Commitments. How many things are you involved in? Are you running from one activity to the next all the time? Do you want to be? Do you have time for the things that you really want to do?

 

Sound good? We think so! Let’s do this together. We can share stories and support on our Facebook page too. http://www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations

 

The end result is happiness in the palm of our hands….Mmmmmm…..


 

Need help getting started? We can help!

www.simplelifecelebrations.com

krystal@simplelifecelebrations.com

shawna@simplelifecelebrations.com

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My regular google email

Summer Email Smash

Email is overwhelming at times, isn’t it? And yet we all have it and use it regularly. How can we manage it? Well, this is one of my specialties and I’ll share a few little tips in today’s post.

My regular google email

I don’t like to have a lot of emails in my Inbox; I find it overwhelming because it feels like the emails are stuff that I have to do. I keep all my email inboxes as empty as possible. (I currently have 5 email accounts, 1 I don’t really use and ignore most of the time).

Summer is a great time to start “fresh” for smashing and clearing out those inboxes. At this point, looking back doesn’t matter. We’re setting up a system for moving forward. Here’s some tips to get you started:

First of all…you’re going to be ruthless as you go through email – if you “might need it” – file all of those in 1 folder. You don’t need to separate them out at this point. The search capabilities are stellar. It will find the email you need for you. Just put them all into that ONE FOLDER (call it something like: Maybe June 2012). Put the date on so that you can decide to get rid of it if you haven’t touched it for a year! (Like the boxes in your house).


Once you’ve cleared that out of your inbox (yes, all into one folder if you need to)…THEN set up a schedule and a FEW folders to deal with the day to day. Try to handle them in batches. You need to focus on other work, then focus on emails. Only deal with emails a few times a day; and only deal with emails during that time. Answer the email, create a task or two if you need to and then delete or file right away. It’s the best way to get a lot done in a small amount of time: ONE thing at a time. Focus!

My Yahoo email – used for some personal online stuff
Another thing – don’t worry about the “Read Later” pile. Be realistic. You are NOT going to read them later. You are going to search for the stuff you need on the Internet when you DO have time to do the work/research. Don’t save those emails that you think you’re going to read later. Let them go…it’s hard to do, but you can do it, trust me! 🙂

That’s a very brief how to and it’s how I do it. It’s the method I use to help our clients deal with the overwhelm. I have a few rules & filters set up to handle some of them automatically, but not a lot. At this point, that’s not what you need. You need to think of this stuff as pieces of paper….would you keep all those papers? Likely not.

Sit down for 1 hour this summer (that’s it) and do nothing but delete and file into the ONE folder. On your mark, get set, GO! Blast that email and get control again! 🙂

My SLC business email

 

We offer email cleanup services – we can come to your office (depending on your location) or work with you online to help you get control of your email. Contact us to schedule an appointment.