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How to Organize Your Desk

How to Organize Your Desk

I had a desk in my bedroom growing up. It was cheap, faux wood with a single cupboard on the right side. It always had a ton of clutter on the top. In fact, I cannot remember a time that I actually sat at the desk and used it. Do you feel this way about your desk sometimes? It’s really easy to get too much stuff on your desk to the point that you can’t really use it. I have a quick and easy guide on how to conquer your desk, so you can use it to aid your productivity.

What Do You Use Your Desk For?

The work you do on your desk shows you how you should organize it. I use mine as a space for my computer, so most of my time at my desk is computer time. Therefore, I can have a lot on my desk, because I rarely need to use physical space for my work. I have a friend who is going to grad school, so she uses her desk for school work. She needs plenty of open space, so she has room for her textbooks and notebooks. Figure out what you use your desk for and make sure that space is favorable for that.

Take Off Everything That Doesn’t Belong

If you are anything like me, you tend to get stuff on your desk that just doesn’t belong. For me, it’s most often notebooks, but for you, it could be paper piles or art project from your kids. For now, take all of the things off your desk that isn’t related to your desk’s purpose. Either put them away where they go or set them aside for the moment. This should leave you with a clear desk. I only have my computer and its accessories (and a cat window seat, but that isn’t actually ON the desk, so it doesn’t count.)

Give Your Clutter A Home

No matter what clutter ends up on your desk there is always a way to give it a home. If you have a lot of pens on your desk, buy a pen holder and put it in a prominent spot (mine is a pot my mom’s friend made.) I struggled with notebook clutter, so I got an inbox for my desk. At the end of the day, I put all of my notebooks and other clutter in it and I clean it out once a week to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.  Whatever your clutter is, there is a way to manage it. Brainstorm a way that fits into your work style.

Set a Reminder

Now that you have your desk a little more organized. Set to-dos for the future to revisit it. Try a week, a month, and two months from now. At the three month mark, reevaluate your process and identify any systems that aren’t working. You know how you need to use your desk space! Make sure that you are keeping your desk in line with that process.

I hope your desk is easy to use now! I know I always feel better after I organize my desk. It makes it a lot easier for me to give my full attention to my work. How do you use your desk? How does organization help you to feel more productive? What tips do you have to keep an organized workspace?

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Organize Your Cleaning Schedule

Organize Your Cleaning Schedule

Ever since I was a kid I had trouble keeping up with cleaning. It resulted in a lot of fights with my parents and my first apartment got pretty gross. I like cleanliness a lot, but I have a serious problem with actually cleaning. Then I came up with a cleaning schedule and it changed everything! Suddenly I was actually keeping up with my cleaning tasks and I was able to keep my home up to the level I wanted it. If you feel the same way about cleaning, here are the steps I use to create my cleaning schedule.

Step One: Brainstorm

It’s time to brainstorm a list of all the cleaning activities you want to incorporate into your schedule. You can divide them in a number of ways including daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. I tend to go to each room of my house and list all the different cleaning activities that need to be done, then I divide them up by the frequency they need to be done. You structure this in whatever way makes sense to you.

Step Two: Incorporate It Into Your Schedule

Set up a time that you are going to clean. I schedule a few weekly tasks each day and do them right after I’m done with work. Another way of doing this is doing all the tasks on one day, like on Sunday or the last weekend of the month is the weekend you clean.  It all depends on your schedule and season of life. But picking a certain time to do it will help you to remain accountable to yourself and after a few weeks it will seem like second nature to clean then. If you have kids, give them tasks or have them help with yours, as their age allows. It shows them that they are a part of the household. It was the way I learned to do laundry!

Step Three: Make Incentives

I know that a surefire way to make me do anything is to give myself a reason. This can be anything really, watching a movie you really like, or going out to dinner, or getting a sticker. Whatever works to motivate you. And if you have kids, this can be a good way to motivate them as well and it can teach them to be proud of their work! Once it becomes routine, you can stop using incentives (or keep going).

My Cleaning Schedule

In case you wanted an example, here is my current cleaning schedule.

Daily

Clean Dishes, Squeegee Shower Doors after Shower, Organize Rooms Before Bed (basically I walk around and straighten things up)

Weekly

Monday: Scoop Cat Box, Clean Shower, Clean Bathroom Mirror, Counter, Sink, and Toilet

Tuesday: Vacuum Living Room and Bedroom, Sweep and Mop Bathroom and Kitchen (I also go grocery shopping this day)

Wednesday: Scoop Cat Box, Clean Kitchen Counter, Stove, Sink, Microwave, and Fridge

Thursday: Laundry, Clean Shower Doors, Empty Garbages, Empty Recycling

Friday: Scoop Cat Box, Water Plants, Fill Birdseed, Sweep Balcony (I also do my banking on this day)

Saturday and Sunday: Off Days! I use that time to travel!

I keep my cleaning schedule as simple as I can and it keeps my house at the cleanliness level that I maintain best. Remember, this schedule is supposed to make your life easier, play with it until it feels like the right fit for you and your season in life. Please tell me what you think of this step-by-step and tell me what your schedule looks like! Happy cleaning!

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How to Organize Your Email Inbox

How to Organize Your Email Inbox

Email inboxes can be very scary places. It’s so easy for them to become overcrowded, which can lead even the best of us to missing important emails. This post will show you the things to think about when organizing your email. There is no one way to do this. It’s all up to your own personal preferences.

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First and foremost, you need to decide on the general lay out of your email. Do you want to use folders or have all emails in the main inbox? Do you need an archiving system or are you comfortable using the search option to find older emails? This all depends on how your own brain functions and what you are able to keep up with. I’m a little anal sometimes, so I have a folder for everything and I keep emails for years just in case. It’s what works for me.

Second, how do you want to keep up with tasks in your emails? I know that a lot of my emails require action on my part. There are a variety of ways to keep the tasks straight. You can write the task down in your task making app, flag or star the email, or leave the message as unread until you finish it. Personally, I keep emails that still need attention in my general inbox and once the task is done, I move it into my archives. Again, this all depends on personal preference.

Third, you should decide how you want to save emails and what items you want to delete. Some people like to save all of their emails, while others only save the emails they really need. It depends on what is important in your emails and what you want to save. I’m relatively stingy with the emails I keep, because once I have them archived I rarely go through and delete them.

I think the biggest takeaway is to organize your inbox how you see fit. Evaluate what is bothering you about your current email set up and start from there. It will make you feel much better and help you to stay more organized once you have a system for dealing with your emails. Then you don’t have any more emails getting lost in your inbox.

What are your tricks to keeping your email clean? Do you have any advice for them rest of us?

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5 Phone Apps to Earn Extra Money

5 Phone Apps to Earn Extra Money

     Having a little extra money is something we all could use and we all get into seasons of our lives where we need to squeeze every cent out of our paychecks to make ends meet. I know I’m in a major one right now as I plan my wedding (jeez, that’s expensive). I went on a massive search to find free ways to save and in the process found some pretty cool phone apps that help to supplement my stretched income.
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      First is Shopkick. This app is based on a points, called kicks. You get kicks one of three ways. The one I use the most is walk-in kicks. You walk into a store and you get a certain number of kicks just by doing that. There are also kicks for scanning specific products within the store. You don’t even need to buy the item to get this reward, just scan it. Then, there are certain stores you can get a kick for each dollar you spend (it requires linking your card to your account). You can redeem these kicks for gift cards or prizes (and there are some pretty great ones). It does take awhile to get enough kicks to redeem, but they are very easy to get. I usually get mine as I’m doing my normal shopping. I’ve even walked around the mall and gone into a store just to get the walk-in kicks! If you are interested here is my referral link.
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     Next is Checkout 51. This app is rebate based. You see certain products listed in the app, you buy the product, and scan the receipt. Then you get cash back for your purchase. Once you get over $20.00, you can cash out and they will send a check to you. This is another slow going app, often I’m only earning a dollar or so a week. But you can get money back by buying items you would have bought anyways or base your splurges upon what is available for rebate. I always have to tell myself “just because you can get a rebate doesn’t mean you need to buy it.” Which means that they have some pretty good rebates on there. Ibotta_white_lg
     Ibotta is a lot like Checkout 51. You see rebates, buy food or other supplies, and get money back by scanning in your receipts.You also need $20.00 before you can cash out, but the ways to cash out are much more diverse. You can funnel the money into your PayPal or get a gift card (I always get an Amazon one to fuel my eBook obsession.) I’ve noticed that Ibotta usually has a wider selection than Checkout 51, though you can only use it at the stores that Ibotta has partnered with (meaning no Aldi womp wah). I do enjoy the user interface and find it easier to wrack up rebates. If you’re interested, please use my referral code.

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The fourth is Swagbucks. I was really leery of this one for a while, but once I started using it I was hooked. You complete tasks in order to get points or swagbucks. These tasks range from watching a group of videos to answering a survey to shopping online. Each task you complete gets you a certain number of swagbucks. You can redeem them in the form of gift card codes send to your email. This is a really easy way to earn a little extra cash. It comes on an app and a website making it even easier to access. Here’s my referral link, if you are interested.

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     This last app doesn’t give you savings or rebates, but it does help you to find the cheapest gas in your area. GasBuddy show you the gas prices of area gas stations. You can either sort by distance or price. I use it to see what the lowest price is in my area and then I find the nearest gas station to me that has that price. It’s also helpful to be able to find gas stations on a road trip as you can see a map of all the gas stations in an area and find one close to the highway.

Getting extra cash is always a wonderful thing. Try any of these apps to help that paycheck go a little bit further. All of them help me to supplement my tight budget. What are your favorite ways to stretch your budget? Have any of these apps worked wonders for you?

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