Archive for the ‘A Word with…’ Category

Too Much Clutter? – interview with Warren Moore, 2GB

January 4, 2013

Yesterday Warren Moore and I had a good chat about the benefits of downsizing and how to keep clutter at bay.

Listen in here.



A Word with Sarah Webb

January 18, 2012

Sarah Webb is the talent and brains behind Vivenda, a fabulous service that frees up your time and feeds you and your family nutritious and delicious meals.

I asked her to share some insights into how she manages to keep on top of things, and sane, while running her business.  Here’s what she said…

Sarah, I know you have a lot “on your plate”, do you prefer a paper or electronic diary to keep track of all your appointments?  Both.  Electronic so that I get pop-up reminders, I use my iPhone; but also paper so that I can look at it if I’m making an appointment with someone while I’m on the phone.  I have to be very conscientious about keeping both updated.

I’ll bet!  What’s your favourite iPhone App? Urbanspoon. I can feel like an in-the-know local wherever I am by checking out the restaurant reviews.

Tell us about a favourite organising tool.  It would have to be Excel, I love a good spreadsheet!  I like to be quite systematic about things and keep good track of what is going on in the business and Excel lets me do this simply & effectively.  For example, looking at my favourite spreadsheet I can tell you that my most popular dishes are Chicken, Leek & Pancetta Pie and Meatballs Napoletana!

Yum!  And that is very organised.  How do you reward yourself for your achievements?  Usually it’s by buying myself a new tool or gadget for the kitchen, I got some beautiful new tart tins to celebrate my first 6 months in business.

I can see a theme there.  You are very passionate about food.  How do you spend your down time?  I hang out with my niece and nephews as much as I can. They live 3 minutes away so I manage to find an excuse to drop in on them very regularly!

Thanks for spending time with us, Sarah!

A Word with Chris Owen

October 12, 2011

My friend, Chris Owen, has joined our “A Word with” series. I asked Chris about how her business Pink Apple got started, what keeps her organised so she can focus on that business, what she does when she’s not working, recipes that shorten time in the kitchen and even what her shoe collection looks like. So here’s a Word with Chris Owen…

The last 20 years of my previous career as a nurse were spent working with couples adjusting to new parenthood or coping with the traumas of IVF while grieving their infertility.  Both situations are extraordinarily stressful and impact on couples not just individuals. In the meantime, my husband and I were continuing to learn how to be married and happy.  While we’re still learning, it’s now 37 years so I guess we’ve got some practice under our belts!!  So for me when I studied education and counselling, relationships were really where my interests lay.  Hence why Pink Apple is focused on delivering resources to help couples have better and satisfying relationships.

Those who know me know I’m a shocking gadget queen!!!  I loves me the occasional toy!!!!  So there’s no question that my iPhone, iPad, and Outlook on my desktop, all synchronise using Google Sync.  And thanks to wireless and Google I don’t even have to do anything but enter appointments into one of them!  LOVE it!  Hated the heavy diary I used to lug around and struggled to sync the Palm Pilot I used to own!!

I’ve already confessed to my gadget fetish so I can smugly say I have about 8 pairs of shoes. But it’s not quite as frugal as it sounds.  Walking hospital corridors for all those years has meant my feet are ruined and constantly painful.  So I have shoes and orthotics to manage that.  None of the shoes are pretty and none have a heel any more.  Sigh!  But even at my worst it was only ever about 20 pairs.  My hubby thought that was an outrageous number, so I had to enlighten him about some women I know!!

The hardest thing about getting organised is overcoming that voice in my head that says “but I might need that”.  With Angela’s help I’m a lot more ruthless and I’ve got much better at throwing something out if I bring something in.  I also have more regular decluttering sessions in which I can actually be much more ruthless.  I once helped my sister declutter her kitchen when she was about to move house.  She’s never forgiven me for insisting that her “stupid fondue thingy” would never come back into fashion again!

After all these years of waiting for children to grow and leave home, my husband and I at last got to start travelling earlier this year.  And oh dear!  The travel bug has well and truly bitten us.  My dream travel location has always been Ireland.  I’ve always felt my ancestors calling me from there.  On our trip, we toured around Ireland for a couple of weeks, and there’s no doubt we’ll go back again to that magical place!  However, I also discovered Paris!  Need I say more?

One of my favourite throw-together meals uses stuff that we have in our pantries and fridges.  It’s essentially a flavoured Baked Potato without the oven!

Get a clean non-green potato per person (Or is it just me that finds the occasional potato gone green in the pantry?). Gather any of these ingredients or anything you wish to substitute.

  • Canned salmon
  • Canned baked beans
  • Butter/margarine
  • Garlic butter
  • Pesto
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Thin sliced capsicum (raw or from jar of fire-roasted)
  • Sliced beetroot
  • Grated carrot/zucchini
  • Mushroom
  • Canned corn
  • Seeded mustard
  • Cooked bacon pieces (if you want to cook then chop and do in a bowl in microwave with some paper towel under and over)
  • And of course salt and pepper as desired.

Pierce potato with a skewer a few times and cook whole in the microwave.  They take somewhere between 1-4 mins per potato, depending on size and density/waxiness so do them one minute at a time and pierce to check!  When cooked cut through the centre and divide again (as many times as you wish) then place on a plate/ in pasta bowl and add any ingredients as desired.

Chris Owen of Pink Apple is a Relationship Coach/Advisor to people who fear that their relationship might not stand the test of time.  She helps them become skilled and confident at avoiding old destructive relationship behaviours.

She’s Melbourne-based but hangs out on the internet a lot!  You can subscribe to her blog or follow her on Facebook at

A Word with Kate Eldred

October 5, 2011

Kate Eldred from Off the Page eMarketing helps businesses get their message out in a most productive way. She knows how to get them the most bang for their buck, so I’m thrilled she took time out to have a word with us.

Kate, tell us, how did you get into the work you do?  I wanted to do something I could wake up and look forward to every day….that and not spend over two hours on a bus to get to and from each day!

And how do you stay on top of your to do list?  I update my trusty Spirex notebook at the start of every week with what needs to be done…. Then I use pretty highlighters to cross things of my list as they get done! The more I get through, the prettier my to do list looks!

Love that!  Now, I know you have a lot of work coming in. Which tasks do you delegate?  Complex programming issues and troubleshooting. I love solving these types of problems, but when it takes a hours out of my day, it’s often cheaper (financially and emotionally!) to outsource to a super geek.

Good move.  Do you have a favourite iPhone app?  Dropbox – helps me to feel completely in control when I’m not in the office.

Is your diary paper or electronic?  Electronic – updating my outlook calendar quickly at my desk, and syncing it to my phone to have on the go with me.

What’s the hardest thing about getting/staying organised?  Emails….you can be completely organized for the day, but a few emails (or phone calls) can completely derail best laid plans!

I think many people can relate to that.  And finally, how do you spend your down time?  Walking the dog or going for a jog.

Thanks Kate.  You’re an inspiration!


A Word with Angela Esnouf

September 29, 2011

In our A Word with… series, you’ve been hearing from people about what makes them tick and how being organised helps them.  But so far you haven’t heard from me.

Recently I was interviewed by Narelle Todd for her Organizers Toolkit website.  We spoke about how I got into the business, the types of clients I work with, my role as President of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers and what’s going on for me now.

Listen to the interview here.

A Word with Imogen Lamport

August 31, 2011

Once again I bring you an interview with a woman who gets things done. I spoke to image consultant, Imogen Lamport from Bespoke Image, about how organisation helps her get those things done.

Imogen, how did you get into the work you do?   I have never had a ‘manufacturing standard’ body shape and from my teenage years started wondering why some clothes worked and looked great on me, and others looked atrocious and were completely unflattering, even though those clothes looked fabulous on similar height/weight friends.  The more I read about colours and styles and body shapes, the more intrigued I became.  At the age of 34 I met an image consultant and we got talking and she noticed a flair for image in me and suggested I train to become an image consultant.  I realised that this was the job I’d always wanted to do but never knew existed.  I can’t tell you how blessed and lucky I feel to have stumbled into my ideal career.

Which tasks do you delegate?  Who to?  I delegate my bookkeeping to a fantastic bookkeeper. I realised early on running my business that it’s important if you don’t have the skills to do something, then to get someone else who has them in, to do the task.  My time is best spent consulting, creating products and tools and writing my blog rather than trying to do a bank reconciliation or BAS statement.  I’ve also found a fantastic car mechanic who comes to my home and does it all for me right here while I keep working.

What’s your favourite iPhone app?  Notes: when I’m out and about and I have an idea for anything, from a blog post topic to a great birthday present for a friend I note it down there.

Diary – paper or electronic?  Paper diary, because I am often out and about (in the car, in the shops etc, my office is quite mobile) and if I am talking on the phone trying to pin down a time with a client for a consultation, I need to be able to see my week in front of me.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?  Something like 80 pairs.  They have been collected over a decade or so and I only keep what is in great condition.  I need boots for winter, sandals for summer, shoes to dress up, shoes to walk the dog.  When I was about 20 I went to the doctor complaining of foot pain.  He said to me “either you can wear different shoes each day, as each shoe rubs on a different part of the foot, or you can have painful and expensive podiatry operations, as when you wear the same shoes each day it causes bunions and corns more quickly”.  So I took his advice and started wearing different shoes.

What’s the hardest thing about getting/staying organised?  The constant influx of paper into my life and the lack of time I have as a single mother of two primary school aged kids.

What’s a favourite organising tool?   The Calender plugin for my wordpress blog allows me to schedule posts and see a month at a time so I can move posts around so the flow (depending on topic and what’s on) works well and is balanced.

Thanks so much Imogen. I think a lot of people can related to the challenges you face as a single parent and business owner.  And I love that you found a car mechanic to simplify your life as well. The “D is for Delegate” message can be extended to so many areas. And finally, thank you for the work you do, from all of us who are not ‘manufacturing standard’.

A Word with Amanda Cox

August 24, 2011

When I asked Amanda Cox to be a part of our interview series, she jokingly responded, “love to help seeing as I am such an organisation freak! Pahahahaha”  🙂  She may joke that organising is not her strong point, but I know how much she gets done, so she must be doing something right!

So let’s get into it…

Amanda Cox, aka Mad Cow

How did you get into the work you do? I got into doing what I do (an online support website and safe haven for Australian Mums) out of my own needs. Helping my husband run a business, studying, raising two kids and having succumbed to postnatal depression, but also having a sense of humour and the ability to have a laugh at life, other websites and forums were too fluffy, too serious and I just didn’t fit. So I created one. It has grown considerably since, and now includes articles, ecourses, products, downloads and a paid membership (and more, I’m sure!) which has allowed me to indulge in stuff I love doing, like writing.

How do you stay on top of your list? Hmmmm…  great question. Usually, I have to break it up into smaller chunks and, subsequently, smaller piles. Then I put those smaller piles into small piles on the floor and rest my feet on them. That’s about as close as I come to staying on top of my List. I do find breaking things down, for example “Finish writing this 400 page document” becomes “write chapter 1” – is less overwhelming and actually doable! Then I sit on it – literally. Just another way I keep on top of it … 🙂

Diary – Paper or Electronic? Paper diary! I do have my phone which I keep on me as little reminders, but I love to be able to see my whole day laid out before me. It’s easier to see just what chaos I have on. I’m a “day to a page” kinda chick. Week to an opening does my head in! Who has that little on?????

I like to write details of my appointments, too, so I like to have room to add them. Also, it makes me look very important when I say “Oh, I have to check my diary” and flip through pages. This also works when you’re on the phone, if you flip the pages loudly. I have to admit, I’m still looking for the elusive, “just right” version (so much so, I’m creating my own).

My favourite organising tools are my paper diary – of which I have two in circulation. One is for my Life, the other my business projects and to dos. I’ve also created a set of what I refer to as Mayhem Managers, which help keep not only me but the rest of the family in check … takes a HUGE load off my shoulders when I can just point a finger towards the fridge (obviously, where the Managers are) and not have to think for three other people. I LOVE it. They are also my sanity savers … if I forget to utilise them, my life goes into (more) chaos, and I feel my mood slipping.

If you could be or do anything, what would it be? I would LOVE to be able to just focus on my writing. I don’t have a specific project in mind, but have several going at once, novels, blogs, e-courses and e-products, facts sheets, articles … just to be a writer would be fabulous. Also, Professional Holiday Taker would be nice at times. Just not all the time – only when I need it (hmmmm, then I could write about it, yes?)

How do you spend your down time? Watching Thomas the Tank Engine and other children’s DVDs and wishing I could get back to doing some work, and that I had some “proper” down time where I could go to a growed up’s restaurant or movie …

Thanks so much for sharing your busy, productive life with us, Amanda.

Amanda Cox (aka Mad Cow) is the founder of Australia’s safe-haven for mums and online parent support website Real Mums (, a writer, speaker, author, wife, mum to three boys and avoider of housework and the joining of committees.

A Word with Emma Watt

August 17, 2011

Emma Watt calls herself a Workplace Untangler. She’s one of those rare people who actually enjoys the nitty gritty of industrial relations and workplace disputes and working through them to a happy and fair conclusion. Thank goodness for people like Emma – in more ways than one. She is also an SES volunteer officer. As you can see, when the going gets tough, Emma gets going. She has a lot resting on her capable shoulders, so I thought it would be interesting to see how she does it and what makes her tick.

Emma, how did you get into the work you do? I got interested in industrial relations while I was studying for a Commerce degree, it seemed much more interesting than accounting!

How on earth do you stay on top of your to do list? Um, I’m not sure the premise of the question (that I stay on top of my to do list) is actually correct!

Which tasks do you delegate?  Who to? I delegate bookkeeping and gardening, and this week, painting my kitchen.  I try to delegate keeping my desk tidy to my sister, but that inevitably falls in a heap.  There’s nothing in it for her.

Diary – paper or electronic? Electronic – always with me, able to keep backups, easy to see in different views.

Is there something in your home or office that you do not use, need or love?  Can you share with us why you keep it? My piano – it is damaged and can’t be tuned, but I don’t want to get rid of it and I’m not sure why – maybe I’m waiting until I can afford a piano that I can actually play?

What’s the hardest thing you find about getting/staying organised? Keeping systems going – I have had some awesome systems in the past, and they are looking a bit tatty at the moment.

What’s a favourite organising tool? My labeller!

At the end of a hard day, how do you reward yourself for achievement? Time on the recliner with the dogs & my crocheting.

If you could be or do anything, what would it be? I’m learning to drive a truck for SES – maybe I could be a truck driver, I’ve had job offers already and I don’t even have the licence yet!

What does your ideal weekend look like? Lots of reading / crocheting / DVDs / cups of tea / chocolate.

Got a mid-week time-saving recipe to share with us? Boil up some pasta, stir through a glug of olive oil, a tin of tuna slices, salt, pepper and cheese.   Serve with a salad if you care about that kind of thing 🙂 Yum!

Thank you Emma. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule for us.

As you can see, Emma is a can-do woman. If you need her on your side you can contact her through her website.

A Word with Sandi Givens

August 10, 2011

I’ve known Sandi Givens for some years now, and heard her speak many times. If you attended the 2009 AAPO conference in Brisbane you know for sure that she is a fabulous MC. So I thought it would be interesting to hear more from Sandi. I also know that Sandi has a generous spirit, so I asked her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say…

Sandi Givens

Sandi, how did you find your way to the work you do?  Working as a National Training Manager, one day my patronising male boss asked me when I was going off to have babies – and that fueled the fire in my belly to work independently of the politics and game-playing that is found all too often in the corporate world.

You’re a woman that achieves a lot. How do you stay on top of your to do list?  Like a lot of people, there is always MORE on the list than can humanly be done!  So I have trained myself to follow this system: a sheet of paper with 3 columns, with the headings MUST, SHOULD, COULD.  The MUST items have a deadline, and they ALWAYS get done by the due date.  I schedule time in my diary to chip away at the SHOULD items (these are normally product development and/or business-building actions) … and I accept that most of the COULDS will never get done.  In fact, I’ve found great freedom from recognizing that if these items haven’t moved to the SHOULD or MUST column within a week or two, then I can quite confidently toss them out!

Which tasks do you delegate?  All the stuff I know I’m not good at!  Web site stuff, graphic design, general admin, bookkeeping …

Diary – paper or electronic?  Paper absolutely.  No need to turn something on, hope the battery is charged, wait for something to load.  Plus I keep a lot of papers in my diary that coincide with the appointments scheduled in that week.  All in one place – I love it.

Is there something in your home or office that you do not use, need or love?  Can you share with us why you keep it?  Funny you should ask … I confess to being something of a hoarder at times.  The little voice in my head says ‘well, it’s in good condition … it may come in handy … ‘  My husband and I are currently on an early spring cleaning spree – tackling 1 cupboard at a time.  And I confess we have found embarrassing things like dead batteries, our son’s school assignments (from 4 years ago!) and ski gloves that had holes in them.  Why did we still have this stuff?  Well, your guess is as good as mine!  Actually, my serious answer to that would be that my husband and I are both self employed and life can get really hectic when we both are pressed to meet client deadlines.  Then when the pressure’s off, we just feel like relaxing – or doing what we HAVE to do around the home, like mowing lawns, doing laundry, etc.  So then stuff just gets shoved to the back of cupboards – you know, out of sight, out of mind!  And then, voila!  It appears many moons later and we laugh and ask ourselves ‘why do we still have this?’

I think we can all relate to that, Sandi. We usually are  not motivated to do something about our “stuff” till space becomes tight or uncomfortable.

What’s a favourite organising tool?  The whiteboard we have on the front of our fridge that shows who’s doing what when and where!

Excellent! How do you reward yourself for achievement?  Mug of cappuccino at my favourite coffee place and do a crossword or Sudoku.

And what does your ideal weekend look like?  Friends for long relaxing brunch, lots of time to read in front of our open fire, time wandering around a farmer’s market and buying goodies to eat in front of the fire!

I know you’re a busy lady. Got a mid-week time-saving recipe to share with us?  Cooked chicken from the store, fresh bread rolls, tomato, lettuce, avocado, etc. – make your own healthy chicken roll!

Thanks so much Sandi!

Energetic, light-hearted and down-to earth, Sandi Givens has an authentic, engaging style that is guaranteed to inspire, expand and challenge your thinking.  Rare in her ability to connect with audiences and leave people wanting to take action, Sandi’s credentials as a world-class interactive speaker and successful businesswoman provide clients with a special magic. 

A specialist in Shattering the Glass Ceilings that Limit Success, for more than 25 years, Sandi has catapulted the careers and business success of thousands of people, and provided them with skills that enable them to live their own personal leadership and the life they long for.  She has a natural warmth with people and connects to their ‘real world’ with her artful use of stories, metaphors and masterful debriefing of learning activities.

Sandi is without doubt one of the most skilled communicators and facilitators of change that I have ever encountered in my professional career.  Many participants comment that their learning with Sandi has been a ‘life changing experience’.

Sandi is an award-winning International Speaker, Author, Women’s Executive Coach and MC and her Public Workshops are always a sell-out.

Learning with Sandi is an unforgettable and often life-changing experience.  Her relaxed and pragmatic approach underpin her presentation style.  Rather than ‘prescribe’ what people must do, Sandi believes her best contribution is made by provoking people’s thinking and opening their minds to possibilities.

Sandi’s compelling message moves people to understand that “Everyone’s a leader … it has nothing to do with your title at work”.  Your actions, your beliefs, your future … it’s your choice.

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