Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Celebrating accomplishments

The other day I finished the draft of novel I had been working on for a little over two months. I wrote nearly every day and kept going even when it was tough to keep the story together and my ideas flowing. Typing the words The End at the end of a manuscript is a very satisfying feeling, no matter how much revising and editing you are going to have to do later. I allowed myself a moment to really savor the fact that I saw my story through to completion, and then the next day I started a new project.

I think it is incredibly important to allow and encourage yourself to acknowledge accomplishments, from large to small. Finishing a long-delayed task or checking off a major project from your to-do list is satisfying in itself, but reminding yourself that all of your effort resulted in that completion, that you accomplished whatever it was you set out to do, is vital. It creates the feeling that ideas can become reality and is gives you strength as you attempt even more abitious tasks and goals.

The next time you accomplish something, give yourself some kudos!

Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wrapping paper leftovers

I love wrapping paper. I think beautifully wrapped gifts are one of life's great pleasures. But I feel wasteful when I buy expensive paper that just gets torn off and discarded. So most of my paper gets used over and over again. My family doesn't mind when I harvest the best scraps of leftover paper and save them for the next occasion. I tend to keep bits of ribbon, too, and am able to use them again and again. The paper can take on new and more beautiful forms after being wrinkled and folded and combined with different types of paper for different gifts. And when I use up a lot of paper all at once and need more, I turn to paper bags and other found wrapping papers. It makes me doubly happy to see a gift beautifully wrapped with reused and reusable paper!

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by Katherine

Need to get a handle on your own wrapping paper collection?
Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paperless reminder: download your statements

As the end of 2011 draws close, here's a reminder for everyone who has even one paperless statement set up for their bank, utilities, credit card or other bills and services: don't forget to download the past 12 month's worth of statements from each place you do business and save them as PDFs to your computer (and then back them up on your external hard drive or cloud back up system!).

Many companies will only allow a year's worth of statements to be acessed for free electronically, and it is your responsbility to go to each company's site and download the information. This step is critical if you need the information on the statements in order to complete your taxes and you will need the statements themselves as back ups in case you are audited. Of course, I am not a legal or tax professional, so if you have any questions about what statements you need and how long you need to keep them, I urge you to consult your own advisors. But the beauty of simply downloading statements as PDFs is they are already in a handy electronic form that takes up no physical space and can be easily searched by your computer's search function.

So, download, save and back up!

Get more help setting up paperless billing and outsource the download step to a professional organizer!
Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A little Christmas cheer

I never understand in movies when in order to truly celebrate Christmas, the characters have to decorate every object in their vicinity with tons of lights, fake snow and holly and greenery and mistletoe all over the place. When did decorating for Christmas become a contest in gaudiness?

I'm not saying I don't like Christmas decorations. I love the lights and shiny ornaments and wreaths. But, as usual, more is not better. A little goes a long way when you have to look at it for the protracted holiday season. If you are craving a little more flair in the decorations department, you can always find a mall or park with its own huge Christmas tree, or drive into those neighborhoods where the neighbors delight in covering their properties with decorations galore.

For a little Christmas cheer, try getting a small, living Christmas tree instead of a huge cut one. Put up one string of twinkly lights on your front porch instead of six. Fill a bowl with oranges or pomegranates as an edible centerpiece instead of glossy wrapped candies or greenery imported from a state away.

How do you simplify your own holiday decorating?

Want assistance cutting through the holiday clutter?
Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keeping ahead of your health

**This post was originally published in my monthly e-newsletter, Lelah's News. Don't subscribe? Sign up here!

Last month I went to the optometrist for the first time in a decade. I've always appreciated having excellent vision, but the hours I spend on the computer and reading apparently take a toll. The eye doctor recommended a mild prescription to help my eyes retain their flexibility when focusing on words on the computer screen and when reading books. It took some getting used to, this idea that I am suddenly a glasses-wearing person. However, wearing them does relax my eyes and make it more pleasant to do my normal activities. The most important take-away from this experience is that by not waiting until I had a problem, I improved my quality of life. I went in for a check-up and have now been given a tool to extend my healthy eyesight for as long as possible.

Sometimes being organized is about solving problems, and sometimes it is about preventing them. We've all heard the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's obvious that washing one's hands and eating a balanced diet are preventative measures that are worth far more than cough drops or prescription medication. Being proactive about health matters, getting regular check-ups, going to doctors for wellness visits, getting one's teeth cleaned regularly are all things that can seem like unnecessary chores, but as part of a healthy lifestyle can keep us healthier and reduce time and money spent on treating ailments.

Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lelah With An H on social media

It's been a while since I posted my profiles to the various social media outlets that I belong to. Let's get connected on the ones you use, too!

Facebook: Lelah Baker-Rabe, Professional Organizer
Twitter: @lelahwithanh
My website: www.lelahwithanh.com
YouTube: lelahwithanh's channel

Are you suffering from social media overload?
Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gifts for people going paperless

Over the last week or so I've gotten a lot of requests for advice about scanners, which made me think about the best gifts to get for people who have expressed the desire to go paperless. Since going more paper-free myself, I've inspired others in my family to shed their paper files and embrace their digital ones. If you know someone who is trying to do the same thing, here are some gift ideas:

  • A scanner. You can't go wrong with the Fujitsu ScanSnap series. I have the S1500M (for Macs) and love the scan quality, user interface and software. Mine is the top-end desktop feed scanner, but for more portability the S1300 or S1100 are great, too.
  • The Paperless Document Organization Guide from DocumentSnap. DocumentSnap is a website for all things paperless, and they have some helpful information products to help you jump start your paperless journey. I was interviewed for the guide and think their content is great!
  • An external hard drive. Anything over 500GB will be lots of extra storage space to help someone backup their digital data safely and regularly.
  • If they have a mobile device, credit at their app store of choice. Droid or PC tablet users might want an Amazon credit or credit at the Android Market. iPhone or iPad owners can always use iTunes credit to use at the App Store. This will allow them to experiment with new productivity/paperless apps like Bento, Pages, Evernote, Remember the Milk, Things, etc. which often cost money.
Finally, give your encouragement. Striving to have less paper in a paper-dependent world can be difficult. Support your paperless friend by sending them links to articles you think they'd like instead of clippings, or perhaps getting them ebooks instead of paperbacks.

Need more expertise on how to go paperless?
Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas box revisited

Here's a video I made last year showing off my ultra-organized Christmas box. I can still fit everything I need for Christmas decorating in this single container. For my little apartment, anything else would be overkill. I strongly encourage you to take a look at your holiday decorations and make sure you're using everything, or almost everything, that you store 11 months of the year.

I can help you get your decorations manageable.
Call Lelah at 818.269.6671
or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com