Here are my most recent posts

Networking: How to Make the Most of It

A recent article by Richard Branson about networking got us thinking about the process of networking and how to best organize your efforts. It can be challenging to consistently put yourself out there and also do the necessary follow up to obtain the best results. For maximum return on time invested, consider using some of our below tips.

  • Scheduling: Finding time for networking opportunities can be tough. First, we recommend determining how much time you are willing to commit per month. Once you have a time allocation, research opportunities that occur during your available time, RSVP, and put the appointment on your calendar. If it helps to get you there, invite a friend to join you.
  • Business & Calling Cards: You should always have a few cards on you in case a networking opportunity arises. Keep a small pile in your purse or wallet and another in your car. Cards should include relevant contact information, but should also be unique enough to be memorable. If you’re unemployed and looking for a calling card, check out Moo.com, which offers unique social media style cards, as seen in the photo.
  • Keeping Track: Remembering who was who and what conversation was important at an event can be difficult. Make it easy on yourself by making a few notes about the person and/or your conversation on the back of each business card that you receive. Once home, transfer the contact information, including the notes to your preferred contact system or phone.
  • Ask for Recommendations and Connections: No matter the person you meet, it can’t hurt to ask if they have any recommendations or connections they can make that will serve your needs. For example, if you’re looking for a particular job and meet someone at an industry networking event that doesn’t have any openings, consider asking them if they know of any other agencies that do or how they found their current position.
  • Scheduling a Follow Up: The key to great networking is to actually follow up with the contact. In order to streamline this process, attempt to set a follow up meeting or call with the contact while with them. If they can, schedule something for the coming week and get it on both calendars. If the other person cannot commit, immediately mark on your calendar to outreach to them within 2 business days.
  • General Contacts: For people you met while networking that aren’t necessarily a right fit for your needs, it is still important to follow up. While they may not be who you are looking to meet, they may be able to connect you with that person. Within 2 business days, send a brief, but friendly email saying you were glad to meet them at the event.

What are your favorite networking tips?


Internet Time-Suck: How to Avoid the Temptation

The distractions of the internet are never-ending. Between social media, online articles, email, and instant messaging, one can waste hours of potentially productive time on essentially useless browsing. The graphic provided from Nielson research shows the average ways in which we use the internet. We are all guilty of the internet time-such, but some have more trouble with it than others. In order to curb this potentially detrimental habit, we have a few strategies:

1) Determine Why: There is usually a reason why you are drawn into the distraction of internet surfing. Perhaps its boredom, perhaps attention-deficit, or maybe it’s a stress reliever. However, if you understand the why, you can more easily shift the habit into something productive. For example, if you are distracted by internet surfing due to boredom, consider instead switching to a new work task that will re-engage your interest. If you’re looking for mindless stress-relief, perhaps a quick walk outside the building would provide a healthy release.

2) Internet Breaks: If you absolutely need a internet break, determine how much time you can afford to browse and set a timer to keep you to it. The site http://minutes.at/ offers a free timer service that allows you set hard time limits per site. When your time is up, use an app, such as Pocket, to bookmark any pages that you’d like to come back and read later, so that you aren’t tempted to stay a bit longer.

3) Total Browsing Limits: If you are the kind of person who finds themselves lost online for several hours a day, consider setting a weekly internet time allotment. For example, if it’s not for work or school, you will only allow yourself 2 hours per week of browsing time. Keep track of your total on a notepad or phone timer app.

4) Minimize Opportunity: If you are under deadline or need to concentrate on something at work, turn off access to internet distractions. Close down your browser window, turn off instant messaging, and silence your phone from receiving social media notifications. This strategy also works if you need the internet to complete part of the task. The difference is that you do all of your online research first, copy the information to an offline source and then close down the browser to complete the work.

5) Block Access: If you just can’t trust yourself to follow the above suggestions, there is a more serious option available. Services such as, Leech Block for Firefox and Chrome Nanny for Google Chrome allow you to set preferences of which sites will be unavailable for access during which times per day.

Although internet browsing can be a very enjoyable and appropriate activity, there are certainly times that all of us have stayed a bit too long. Hopefully with these tips, we can maximize efficiency and minimize the time-suck.

8 Reasons to Hire a Professional Organizer

We often meet clients that are well-versed in the general principles of organizing. They understand what needs to happen to get them on the right track and yet their homes are still disorganized. When they call us they are initially skeptical about the need for an organizer, but end up extremely happy with the service and results. You may wonder why is there such a discrepancy. We’ve put together the top 8 reasons why hiring a professional organizer is better than attempting to do it by yourself or with a friend.

1. Objectivity: We have no attachment to your belongings and thus can help make difficult decisions about parting with said things a bit easier. We come prepared with lots of thoughtful questions about the frequency of use, necessity, and usefulness to assist in determining whether to keep or cull.

2. Calm & Collected: We organize people’s homes for a living, so we’ve pretty much seen it all. No matter the extent to your organizing needs, we will not become overwhelmed. We can help you achieve this peace of mind as well.

3. Efficiency & Organization: Instead of just making things fit anywhere they can, we strategize about the bigger organizational picture to ensure that your home and life is left with increased efficiency.

4. Completion: When attempting an organizing project by yourself, you can sometimes get distracted and leave things in a more disorganized state than when you started. When you hire us to organize we promise the job will be finished to your satisfaction.

5. Expertise: We are full of recommendations for products, resources, and information that will help you to achieve the organization that you’re looking for. Be it a storage solution or a way of setting up your desk to maximize productivity, we’re happy to impart our wisdom.

6. Fresh Eyes: When you are living in the disorganization for a long time it can become normal and blind you to new ways of doing things. Professional organizers can walk into your home and see patterns of disorganization, as well as potential solutions that you may overlooked.

7. Maintenance Strategies: While physical organizing is the first step, keeping things that way is the hard part. While we organize we impart strategies for how to correct behavioral habits that are contributing to the long-term disorganization, thus leaving you prepared to maintain things on your own.

8. Donations: Before we leave your home, we take the items that you are donating to charity for you. It may seem insignificant, but often times people never get around to donating the items they cull and then they eventually reintegrate themselves into the home. By removing the items immediately we can guarantee this doesn’t happen.

Obviously we’re partial to hiring a professional to help you with your organizing needs, but if you’re still unsure, feel free to give us a call and we can discuss your particular situation.


Exercise Routines: How to Create & Maintain One

As discussed in the recent post about The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, exercise routines can be one of the most challenging things to adopt and maintain. Although the endorphins produced by exercise can be powerful reinforcers, for many the routine is simply not a top priority among life’s other responsibilities. In order to assist in making exercise a consistent part of your weekly schedule, we’ve got a few tips and tools.

Workout Routine Tips:

  • Scheduling: Instead of fitting in a workout whenever you have availability, decide on a specific time and days per week that you will commit to exercising. Add the workout to your calendar as if it were an appointment, and make sure that no other consistent obligations are going to interrupt.
  • Workout Cues: As recommended by Duhigg, creating a cue for exercise will help put you in the mood for the task. He recommends setting out your workout gear the night before a morning workout. This will help to remind you that exercise will be your first task of the day, not checking your email or picking up the house.
  • Accountability: For those who do not enjoy working out, any excuse will usually be enough to keep it from happening. Ensure you make it to scheduled workouts with an accountability trick. Some popular tricks include, working out with a more motivated friend so that you are not alone, signing up for a scheduled workout, such as a bootcamp, or tracking workouts and progress in a logbook. The last one may seem trivial, but science shows that logs provide a sense of accomplishment and encourage consistency.
  • Find Your Niche: Not all workouts are created equal. If you are new to exercising, I recommend trying out many different styles of workouts until you find something that you like. The more fun you have while working out, the more likely you are to continue. And remember, whether it’s running, yoga, or Zumba, the more you do it, the better you will get, so don’t worry if at first it’s very challenging.
  • Reward Yourself: An important part of making anything into a habit is the reward aspect. Create achievable goals for your exercise routine that are tied to non-food rewards. For example, for the first month, set a goal of working out at least 3 times per week for one hour per day. At the end of the month, reward yourself with a new piece of workout gear or clothing. The vital thing to remember is that goals should be reasonable, specific (where, when, what, how long), and measurable.


  • MapMyRun App: This GPS-enabled app allows you to track distance, routes, time, and the pace of your runs. Just like the accountability tip above, this tool will help you to see your progress and share it with friends. A great way to get a little extra encouragement is to allow the app to post your run details to Facebook. You’ll be surprised how much praise and support the posts will garner.
  • FitnessBuddy App: This is another exercise tool that provides hundreds of exercises and workouts for all fitness levels. It also has a workout journal for tracking what you did and when you did it.

No matter how you workout, just remember that the consistency is the key to maintaining the routine.

Good Luck!


‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg

I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business’. The book discusses the science behind habits and how we can use this knowledge to alter various routines in our lives. Whether it be poor eating, smoking, or the collecting of excess belongings, much of what we do stems from the process of habits.

If you would like to change a habit in your life, the author suggests you start by figuring out the three things that form what is called a ‘Habit Loop’. First is the ‘Cue’. This is a signal, a feeling, or anything else that triggers the desire for habit action. Second is the ‘Routine’, which refers to the actual act. Finally, there is the ‘Reward’, which is obtained by completing the routine. The reward can come in many forms, but essentially is anything that provides satisfaction. Determining each of these items can be difficult as they are not always obvious. For example, if someone wanted to stop eating a sugary snack in the afternoon, they might realize that the cue is a lull in work and the reward is actually a distraction from boredom, not necessarily the snack itself.

Once you have identified the elements of the Habit Loop, you must then attempt to replace either the routine or the reward with something you feel is more appropriate. To expand on the example, if the sugary snack is causing weight gain, but the real reward is a break from boredom, the person may consider taking a walk with a colleague instead of eating. The cue and reward will remain, but the new routine will provide a healthy alternative.

The reason I mention this book is that the understanding of how habit’s work can help us to change the way we manage organization, time management, and general control in our lives. We often see clients that are overwhelmed by disorganization. I suspect that if they closely examined the habits that form the basis for the problem they could make edits to the loop that result in drastic overall routine changes. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to make changes in how they operate and what they do.

Happy Reading!

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