Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category


January 2, 2013


Goal setting is BIG this time of year. But the best goals are smart ones. Or should I say SMART ones.




Will Your goals be SMART in 2013?

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.

Sunday Reflections

September 25, 2011

For maximum efficiency and productivity,

people should not multitask.

But furniture should.

~ Angela Esnouf


Like quotes? There are 214 more in our

Quotes to Organise By – an organised collection of inspiring quotes

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 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.

For free tools and resources, visit


Sunday Reflections

August 7, 2011

Hard work is often the easy work you did not do at the proper time.

~ Bernard Metzler


July 11, 2011

A BIG thank you to Larna Pittiglio, Facebook connection and engagement guru and businesswoman (see Party Plan Portal and Fabulous Foodies on FB) for sharing this fabulous acronym for Systems.






Money &


They sure do, Larna.

The Joy of Keeping Good Records

June 24, 2011

Recently my heart did a little flip.  No, it wasn’t because George Clooney, or even Brad Pitt, crossed my path.  It wasn’t because I received the gift of diamond earrings, although that would do it too.  It wasn’t even because someone cleaned the kitchen and poured me a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

My heart did a little dance because I received some exceptionally good records about conferences past.  You see, I’m chairing the subcommittee that will organise the 2012 AAPO Conference (if you want to know more please visit

The doorbell rang and the courier handed me a large parcel.  And inside was gold.  The kind of gold that sets a Professional Organiser’s heart racing.  It was all the records from every conference ever held by AAPO – the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers.  The records are well kept, well stored, well organised and accurate.  But that’s not the only reason I adore them so.

They will save me hours… and hours… and HOURS of work.  My predecessors have done the hard yards.  They have crossed their t’s and dotted their i’s and kept great records, and then they have given me the gift of their experience.  And I say thank you – you know who you are.

What are you doing that could be documented and save someone, maybe even yourself, time and energy?

The Organised Alphabet 17

March 22, 2011

Quick! Think of something for the Organised Alphabet, Q edition!

Q is for Quick decisions

Those are the things that will keep us moving toward our goals, instead of getting stuck back at the start line.

Getting used to making (and being comfortable with) good decisions really makes a difference to our productivity in every area.