Sue McMillin
Sue McMillin
Organizing Consultant & Speaker
719-495-7626

With Time to Spare

Organize to Make Life Easier

Welcome!

Getting organized can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Streamline your office. Do you have a strategy for organizing your paper and electronic files? Learn proven techniques on how to better manage your information and save an hour a day. Visit Office Transformations to see success stories.

Simplify your home. Do you know what to keep and what to throw away? Learn practical steps on how to gain more space, save more money and reduce stress. Visit Home Transformations.

I’m passionate about creating an organized workplace and a peaceful home so you can make life easier and be more productive. Even though the new year is behind us, it’s always a great time to get organized.Take a look around at the online posts and articles, books and Facebook. Learn how I come alongside clients through services including presentations, seminars, workshops and hands-on coaching. Whether in your office or home, I’d love to help bring order to your surroundings.Take advantage of With Time To Spare’s book discounts and get If I File It, Can I Find It? and Organized! How to Create a Happier Home, Family, and Life for half price.

 

 

 

Sue’s story continues as we see her take a giant leap ~~ the leap from organizing people’s homes to organizing corporations!

After seven years of organizing homes the opportunity came to make that huge step into the corporate world.  It started small and then continued to grow into a business that has organized offices and corporations in 46 states and Canada.

As Sue puts it, “What a ride! I never dreamed that I could actually speak in corporations, excite people, help them to help themselves, and make excellent money.”

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” —I Corinthians 2:9

Read the new installment here!

 

Kudos to The Inspired Room for some great ideas and pictures for spring organizing. It’s really true that one picture can be worth a thousand words, so let’s get on to those pictures!

Closet organization (picture #1 below). Notice the clever way this person used the plastic see-through shoe pockets. What a great way to use an organizational product for something other than what it was intended. Can you think up other ways to use these shoe pockets?

The organized mudroom (picture #6 below). I have found that the entrance way from the garage into the home is usually a real problem for families. The use of baskets is not only smart but small and compact and works beautifully housing mittens, hats, gloves, scarves and other outerwear. The only problem is that it seems too high for the average kid to reach. As usual, Mom to the rescue!

Wrapper station (picture #8 below). Again, this mom creatively re-purposed an organizing product into a nifty solution for storing her wrapping supplies. How smart is that!

To view these three fabulous solutions in greater detail, plus eight more,  just click on the image below! You’ll be glad you discovered The Inspired Room.

 

The Inspired Room

 

pray12Sue’s story continues as we witness the power of prayer in Sue’s life and business.

As Sue puts it, …”As a result of praying and seeing God provide miraculously through the years, I began to grow bold in my prayer life. Whether it was my overenthusiastic imagination or God’s call to a deeper walk of faith, I’m not sure, but I decided to let down the barriers and ask him for my “impossible dream.”

Read here to enjoy this segment of Sue’s story of faith and prayer in her business.

Manage your life, conceptual words on blackboard.

Part 2

~My Take on the Verse~

2 Peter 1:3-8 says that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through His promises. As we participate in His divine nature (His character) and appropriate His character into our spirits, these characteristics will enhance our productivity and effectiveness.

WOW! Now that is an answer to our life management issues!

What are those characteristics of Christ that will help us to manage our life more effectively? Peter lists seven of these characteristics. Let’s take a look at three of them.

Excellence--This Greek word means virtue or the fulfillment of a thing. When we are showing excellence, we are fulfilling our purpose in life. I believe that the Lord created each individual with a divine calling or purpose. When we find that purpose and operate in it, whether it is being a rancher, banker, pilot, mother, nurse, secretary, we are operating in excellence. When a company knows its core purpose and focuses on that purpose and doesn’t get distracted by too many initiatives, it is operating in its purpose or vision. It is expressing excellence.

When I discovered my purpose, which is bringing order to my clients’ offices, homes and lives, my life immediately became more efficient and effective, thus excellent.

Self-control-- This is another word for organized. There is proverb in the Bible that says, “He that has no rule (self-control) over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). What does that have to do with managing our lives? In the Old Testament days of Israel and also during the eras of monarchies that reigned in England and Europe, many cities had walls around them to protect them from thieves, marauders and enemy armies. If those walls were broken down in any place, these enemies had access to the city, thus the people were insecure and vulnerable. If our spirits are unprotected, that is if they lack self-control, we become vulnerable to emotions and people and that will directly affect how we manage our time and life.

Let me give you an example: Let’s say that you pass by two people at the water fountain, and they discontinue talking until you pass. You might think that they are talking about you. If you are insecure in whom you are, you will falter and fume over what they might be saying, or worry and wonder why they are saying it. Precious time is wasted in worry and wondering about what they might be saying. This affects your time negatively. Worrying drains your energy and saps your time!
Being secure in whom you are means that you have proper self-control and can manage your emotions; you will not falter and fume, worry and wonder. You will acknowledge that they might be talking about you, and you will simply move on with your responsibilities.

Self-control allows you to walk in proper boundaries and helps you to contain your emotions, not allowing them to rule you but instead you ruling your emotions. This ultimately saves you time and reduces your stress.

Perseverance-- This trait is the ability to endure when circumstances are difficult. If our boss or co-worker is causing a problem in our life, no amount of time management solutions will answer our dilemma. We will need Christ’s character trait of perseverance to handle our problem. Perseverance is accepting a difficult situation without giving a deadline to remove it. It means to endure. Sometimes with our boss, co-workers or even our spouses, we just have to endure the circumstances in order for them to work out in the end.

Peter goes on to give three evidences as to the results of these spiritual qualities. These evidences are productivity, vision and confidence.

WOW-AGAIN!

In conclusion, as we develop in our spirits the character of Christ (excellence, self-control and perseverance) we will walk in productivity, vision and confidence. Walking in those values causes us to manage our life more effectively and efficiently.

When facing everyday problems, don’t focus on just solving the problem. Focus on what God wants to teach you. What are the precious promises that Peter is talking about? What nugget from God’s nature does He want you to increase in? When you answer those questions, the next time you are faced with another problem, you can stand up under it and endure until it is solved.

So all this points to the truth that behind every problem there is a provision! Every problem will reveal what characteristic of Christ that you need in order to properly relate to and handle your life. Once you embrace and integrate that characteristic into your being, your life will become more stable and orderly, more efficient and effective.

Click here to read part 1.

Manage your life, conceptual words on blackboard.

The Little-Known Secret to Managing Your Life:
What the Bible Has to Say about Life Management

Part I

How many Time Management classes have you taken during the course of your life? As a Professional Organizer since 1982, I have attended about 20 such classes, and they pretty much all say the same thing. They deal with priorities, planning, organizing your projects, knowing your purpose (vision), procrastination, and much more.

I come at time management from a slightly different angle. I believe that you can’t manage time. You can’t buy it, sell it, store it, save it, loan it, multiply it, change it, manufacture it, or rent it. You cannot physically catch it, nor can you harness it and make it your own. No one can really manage time. You can only spend it. Time management is really life management or self-management. You can’t manage your time, you can only manage yourself, and you can’t manage yourself until you discipline your spirit, mind and body. The way you spend your time determines how you live your life.

Most of us are doing time. We never seem to have enough time, yet we have all the time there is. I believe that we are very much like a tree. Abraham Lincoln put it this way. “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” To manage our lives, we focus way too much on the tree limbs and not the tree root. I like to deal with the root of what is causing us to mismanage our time instead of the tree limbs. Dealing with priorities, planning and projects (the tree limbs) are necessary, but if the tree root is unhealthy, then just dealing with the tree limbs is a waste of time.

Let’s go deeper by asking what does the tree root consist of? The root consists of our values and character and what lies at the depth of who we really are. These character qualities would be things like faith, self-control, perseverance, honesty, kindness, and more. If we operate in these qualities, it is amazing how our time-life management falls into place.

There is an interesting group of verses in the Bible that talk about this very thing. They are found in
2 Peter 1: 3-8. Let’s take a quick look at what Peter has to say about life management.

2 Peter 1: 3-8- By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.  And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  The more you grow like this, the more productive and effective you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

~My Take on the Verse~

2 Peter 1:3-8 says that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through His promises. As we participate in His divine nature (His character) and appropriate His character into our spirits, these characteristics will enhance our productivity and effectiveness.

WOW! Now that is an answer to our life management issues!

*Come back Thursday for Part 2 as we explore three of the seven characteristics that Peter applauds:  Excellence, Self-control, and Perseverance!

Or why you don’t want to discover you have 119 eyeliners and you lose 57 bras.

A while back I read a great article by Mark Shead, a seasoned blogger, about organizing your desk. I’ve picked 3 of his 12 tips that point to critical organizing maxims, truths that transcend the specifics of our desks and speak to wider issues in our offices and homes.

“1. Get rid of pens and pencils you don’t need. I have one type of pen I like to use, but every month or so my pencil holder gets filled up with other random writing instruments. If you aren’t going to use it, don’t feel bad about throwing it out. It is just clutter. The less clutter you have, the closer you are to having an organized desk.”

I once organized an office in the DC area and the man had 87 pens in his desk! Who needs 87 pens? But pens aren’t the only culprit. One man at the USDA had two drawers filled with napkins. One gal at Kodak had 11 glue sticks. A lobbyist in DC had 119 eyeliners in her bedroom dresser. I guess you never know when you may need a good eyeliner! And how about this bedroom closet decluttering surprise: the discovery of 57 lost bras.

Bottom line: Eliminate and consolidate or you will accumulate! We have too much stuff. So much stuff it’s blocking out light and air. And it’s not just the light and air, accumulation of stuff translates higher supply costs – $100 per year per employee. And the cost of those 57 bras — who can guess!

“6. Scanning documents. This is something I’m experimenting with. I have a scanner and I’ll turn important documents into PDFs and keep them on my computer. I use OCR so the documents are searchable. This is wonderful if you travel a lot because it keeps everything right there with you. The problem is trying to figure out what to scan and what can just be filed. If you are good at guessing what you’ll want to have electronically this can work very well. I haven’t figured out how accurate I am just yet. Keeping papers off your desk is an important part of desk organization.”

Sounds good, right? Two things to keep in mind that the scanner companies don’t tell you. First, your scanner can’t tell you which documents to scan. You might be scanning clutter into your computer! Second, your scanner can’t tell you where to store that image. Putting 100 or 1000 images of digital documents into digital folders can create its own nightmare when it comes to finding a specific document.

Bottom line: you need a personalized file-mapping system — an organizational structure for your paper and digital files, plus your emails, that mirrors your work processes. The system I teach is called FileMap® which allows you to find any file is 15 seconds or less!

“12. Organize as you go. As we discussed the Iron Chef Fable, it is more efficient to stay organized as you work instead of trying to do it all at the end. You should be constantly working on keeping your desk neat. If it gets disorganized in the middle of a big project, take small steps. Clear a 1 foot by 1 foot area before you leave for the day. Making a small effort toward organization may not seem like much, but if you do it everyday, it will keep things headed in the right direction for you.”

I call this step maintenance.  Here’s a simple rule-of-thumb for maintaining the order in your office. For every hour that you work, spend one minute maintaining or organizing as you go. Then, 4x a year, spend a whole day just going through all the stuff you have accumulated.

Bottom line: It only takes a small amount of consistent effort each day to maintain the organization of a desk, office, kitchen, bedroom closet or garage.

Here is a fabulous letter that I just received from a very happy client:

“After 30 years of collecting file after file, with stacks of papers everywhere in my home office and elsewhere, and books everywhere, I desperately needed help getting organized and focused.

That’s where Sue was a miracle worker! With the help of virtual organizing using pictures and computer and FaceTime, she came in with direct, simple, but extremely helpful ideas that helped me so much!

First she guided me through the categorization of all my files which I then implemented and purged the unnecessary. Beautiful!

Finally we took all my many stacks of loose papers and organized them into just three stackable paper holders that leads to clarity and positive action. Great!

Then I went through books and cleared out the lesser ones to focus on my best ones. Sue is excellent at what she does and I found her assistance in getting my office organized invaluable.

I enthusiastically commend her to you!

Andy Farina
Navigators, Staff & Personal Trainer”

~

Read more about more about Virtual Organizing.

Once in a while I hear something that makes me think of the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s traveling companions. They truly wanted to help Dorothy, but each of them thought they were lacking in something essential. Lion wanted nerve. Scarecrow a brain. Tin Man desired a heart. And they sang a similar chorus, “If I only had…”

Today, there’s no wizard to find, no flying monkeys to avoid, no witch to defeat. But I still hear a chorus of ifs that are just as troubling.

OK, I can hear some of you now. “Sue, hold on a sec! What in the world does the Wizard of Oz have to do with being organized?”

“If I only had more space!” says the mom.

“If I only had more time!” adds the dad.

“If we only had more money!” cries the kids.

Believe it or not, in more than three decades of organizing homes and offices across the country, I have never found any of my clients who genuinely had lack of space or time or money.  Don’t misunderstand me. I hear clients say this all the time and many of them believe it is true. “If I only had…” is a built-in mindset of the human condition, isn’t it?

It isn’t easy for any of us to face the seemingly stark reality of our personal situations, that the root cause of our inability to manage our lives lies squarely within ourselves — in that guy or gal we look at in the mirror each day. Just like with Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man. And Dorothy, too. Remember the ruby slippers? The ability to go home had been within her power and on her own two feet ever since her house set down on the Wicked Witch of the East.

New Year’s approaching and it’s a great time to face yourself in the mirror and change your thinking. Stop saying, “if only…” and start saying “with only…”

  • With only a little bit of space, you can organize a closet using every wall surface to it’s fullest potential with hooks for hanging and installing more shelving.
  • With only a little bit of time, you can organize your kitchen or desk by setting aside 15 minutes a day and in two weeks it’s done.
  • With only a little bit of money, you can organize a whole house. I once decluttered and organized a four-bedroom home in Utah using only $55 of boxes and containers.

It’s not the lack of space, time or money that’s our enemy, it’s how we think about what we already have. So transform your thinking from “If only…” to “With only…” and just imagine what you can accomplish!

Have a merry Christmas. I hope to hear your success stories in the New Year.

Thanksgiving

Here we are, two days away from Thanksgiving 2014! Where did this year go? As you have no doubt experienced, time is quickly draining out of the hourglass marked 2014. With that in mind, let’s talk turkey about Thanksgiving and its meanings and traditions.

I talk alot about time and the efficient use of it. The very best use of time is to invest it. One great way to wisely invest your time is by creating lasting family traditions.

And now, with Thanksgiving approaching, one long-standing tradition for most Americans comes easily to mind: a beautiful dinner table laden with delicious traditional foods and surrounded by dear family and friends. Thanksgiving, of all the holidays, is one of the most family-oriented and least commercialized holiday, and for that I am thankful!

Smiles and laughter balanced with reflection and celebration. The perfect combo. This Thanksgiving marks 151 Thanksgivings that we have celebrated as a nation. And we’ve never missed a single one!

On a personal level, my Thanksgiving traditions have taken on new life as of late. In 2007, I discovered my biological family who all live in Kentucky. All of them live far away except for one first cousin who lives down the road in Westcliffe, Colorado. My new tradition is that I go to their home for Thanksgiving, and as a special treat, we go into the national forest, usually in deep snow and cut down their Christmas tree.

 

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We load it on the truck and bring it home for the Christmas holidays.

 

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Now that is one cool tradition that I absolutely love!

 

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If you need some fresh ideas on starting your own fun and inspirational family traditions, try these websites to jump start your imagination:

1. Start a Family Tradition! “8 wonderful ways to create family memories, beginning in your baby’s first year.” (by Sascha Zuger at parenting.com)

2. The importance of family traditions. “As families become more fragmented and disconnected, there is less time and opportunity to enjoy the simple traditions that were once a natural part of family life.” (by Karen Banes at Hubpages)

3. Meaningful Family Traditions Strengthen Family “Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.”- Susan Lieberman

Have any great ideas that you have used and are worth sharing. Let me know!

And have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

time

In Part 1  and Part 2 of this series I provided significant quotes and thoughts from my books about time.

In this final segment of the series, I leave you with two more timely quotes:

  • “You might say, “I don’t have enough time!” But I say, “You have all the time there is.” 

Are you thinking from a misplaced paradigm? Are you thinking, “I don’t have enough time”? If so, look at that statement from another perspective and begin to realize that you have all the time there is.  When you see time from that perspective, it changes everything, and you begin managing your time based on another paradigm. All of a sudden, time takes on a whole new meaning, which in turn affects how you spend your time and handle your schedule.

Time management is a misnomer. You can’t manage time. You can only manage the events of your life or your priorities. You can’t save time or enhance time; you can’t buy it, sell it, store it, loan it, multiply it, change it, manufacture it, or rent it. You can only spend time.

Realize that you have all the time you need to accomplish what God created you to accomplish. After all, He’s the creator of you and your day. He not only orchestrates the dance of the planets, the stars, and the cosmos, but He is intricately interested in your every day. He is the originator of time, and He can guide you best in the most productive use of your time. As you respond to His timetable, projects begin to get done in record time. Why? Because you are doing His projects His way, not just doing activities that produce nothing. –If I file it, can I find it?

 

  •  And finally regarding the wonderful benefit of organization~~ You will have time to spare:

“E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web, once said, ‘One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.’ Viewing disorder and disarray as enemies to be defeated will serve us greatly in our battle. When the battle rages and we win the war against disorganization, one of the great benefits is that we have much more time—time to do cool things with our kids. Isn’t that what the essence of family is all about? Time spent with kids and family is our most precious commodity, and we always desire more of it. Who among you have ever lamented, “Oh, if only I had a few more hours in the day!” Well, one wonderful result of organization is that this can become a reality. You can have “time to spare.” ~Organized

Enjoy your spare time today as you pursue all that your day holds.

And remember, I can come alongside you to help you in your organization. Let’s gain that spare time you so richly deserve.

Contact me for ideas and we can also work virtually using your computer, pictures and FaceTime. Let’s do this!

time4

 

Time ~ The Fourth Dimension ~ Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I gave you three indicators of effective time management.

Now, let’s turn our attention to three concepts about time:

  •  Concerning a mistaken belief that some people have

“Why are so many people disorganized? Good question! If order and organization are so wonderful, why don’t more people practice these principles?

Disorder actually occurs in epidemic proportions. It is a rampant fact of life.

Some folks would say that they are disorganized because they have no time. Little do they realize that their lack of organization is costing them much more time than the time it would take to organize.” (Organized)

  •  On the subject of gaining time at work:

“You will gain ½ -1 hour of time each day simply because you are no longer going through your work to get to your work.

No longer hunting for your work, it will be accessible and easy to find.” ~ If IFile It, Can I Find It?

  • In regards to taking time for yourself:

“When you plan a block of time each day and each week for yourself, you are caring for yourself and others directly. The time you allot for yourself does not have to be rigid; just try to give yourself some free time each day and week. It is healthy.

Your mind will be free to dream and create and your body will be refreshed with new energy.

You may ask, “How can I possibly give up an hour a day, one day a week, and exercise, rest, and eat right?” Again, you must see that time for yourself is important.

There are four main areas that will be affected positively as you accomplish these objectives: your health, your family, your outside activities and your relationships.” ~ Organized

 

clockThis past weekend Americans set their clocks back one hour as we ended Daylight Saving Time; many look at this as getting that one extra hour of sleep that they crave. It’s interesting to note that the idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784. The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time is to utilize the daylight better. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

Denis Waitely, American author and keynote lecturer, is one of my favorite authors on time management.  I love his quote: “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”

So just what is effective time management? Here are three indicators you are using time wisely.

  • You achieve your goals. “You must set aside some specific and significant portions of time, money and energy devoted to attaining your goal. Furthermore, it is important to set aside a little time and a few resources every single day. Do not wait for the large periods of time and money to devote to your larger goals as a family. Setting aside a little each day will help you move slowly and steadily towards the goal. In addition, it will help keep you focused on what you have decided is truly important.” (From Rubble to Reward)
  • You get organized. “Becoming organized has wonderful benefits. It brings a sense of stability and peace. Where there is order, there is peace; and real order liberates rather than confines… Accomplishments increase and all of a sudden you feel good about yourself. Your productivity on the job increases as does your sense of well-being and self-worth. Guilt subsides, along with procrastination and worry. Perhaps most importantly, you have more free time for you. The more efficient and effective you become, the easier things are to get done. Therefore, you have more time to pursue other goals and interests.” (Organized)
  • You complete tasks. “Do one thing at a time. This means that when you are working on a project, before starting another, put away the first project. If you fail to do this, your first project becomes a distraction. Finish fully what you start. Or, finish fully a segment of what you have started. For example, finish the paragraph of a report before starting another report, finish folding the laundry before starting supper. Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now?” (Organized)

 

Now that the dust has settled…

In the last three installments we organized and tweaked the student desk, the backpack and the locker.

Today we will deal with the final place where disorder often reigns:  The Student Notebook

Stop Four: The Student Notebook

Has your student’s notebook already devolved into an overstuffed, disorderly mess in just this past month?

 

  •  Some students like to have a separate notebook for each class, but I feel that it is very advantageous to use just one binder for all their subjects as this will ensure that they have all the necessary material with them for whichever class they are attending.  If they have just one notebook with all their subjects they will not have to endure that sinking feeling that most students have experienced where they sit down in their class, look in their backpack and discover that they left their important homework and other class documents in their locker.
  • Hopefully, your student started out the school year organizing the notebook with index dividers. If not, consider this. These essential dividers come in every color of the rainbow, clear, or sprinkled with graphics. These dividers will separate their subjects with ease. Dividers come with handy little tabs that perfectly fit into the window separator. Label each divider with the class the student is registered for. You may even want to put them in order of the classes’ times, from earliest to latest, as they progress through the notebook in a school day.
  • Another must-have for the notebook, if you don’t already have one, is a zippered notebook pouch. This three-holed pouch securely holds calculator, pens, ruler, compass, and protractor.
  • Some schools provide an academic planner for their students. If you have not already done so, place this behind the zippered pouch. If it is not three-hole punched, do it yourself with your hole puncher.
  • Of course, you need make sure your student has plenty of loose-leaf paper to place between the dividers.

Encourage your student to maintain their organizational system with their papers and notebook. After each class encourage them to take a moment to replace their papers into the proper division, and keep their system intact.  This step only takes a moment, but the benefits of keeping their papers and homework organized in their binder are legion.

As a teacher for 25 years, I could always tell the students that had their notebooks organized.  They would walk into class with a smile, sit down, open their notebooks, and pull out their beautifully organized homework ready to turn in at the beginning of class.  They had learned the benefits of organization early, and they would be successful, I felt, as they continued on into college where organization was an absolutely essential element to success.

So, as a parent you can help your student and guide them in these essential exercises of applying organization to their desks, their backpacks, their lockers and their notebook binders.  They may push back a bit or argue that they don’t need these tips, but with a little love and encouragement you can insist that they apply these principles to their domain.  Their academic life will benefit greatly, I guarantee it!

 

 

Tax Day Ahead

Everyone is familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote,  “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.”

That inevitable date with the tax man has arrived. For many, this year was another year of burdensome and time-consuming tax filing and next year looks to be more of the same. And a cursory search of the web, littered with competing and comprehensive step-by-step articles on how to organize your tax forms, reinforces this notion.

The good news? You have 365 days to get ready for next year’s date!

Even better news? Two simple but powerful organizing principles can help you eliminate nearly all of the stress in finding and organizing your tax records for a timely filing for next year.

First and foremost:
“A place for everything, and everything in its place”

One of the guiding principles I teach and live by is to assign a place for everything, and this certainly applies to financial records, receipts and invoice, both paper and electronic.

This relieves stress in your daily life. I am a firm believer that it can be as simple as an expandable file folder, a spreadsheet program like Excel, or a tax-specific program like Turbo Tax.

Believe it or not, tossing your receipts and records into an old fashioned shoebox just might suffice! Really? Yes, because you know exactly where all of your paper tax records are located. Of course, a file drawer with multiple hanging folders would be effective, as well.

Now that you’ve have established a predetermined place for your tax records, you need to establish a time schedule.

Second and foremost:
“There’s no time like the present”

The second guiding principle that I teach and live by is there’s no time like the present. Procrastination is an insidious monster that robs us of many things, including peace, time and order.

Here’s one simple question that will help you frame your tax preparation schedule: Do I want to spend more time at the front-end of the record-keeping process as income and expenses occur, or do I want to spend more time at year-end and process it all at once?

Front end. Start setting up your filing system on January 1, and doing a bi-weekly filing of all your tax data into your system, whether paper or electronic, grouping your records in income and expense categories by month. This will mean that you are accomplishing all the record tracking throughout the year, and when tax-filing season is upon you, your filing will actually be quick and easy.

Year-end. This means that all the time-consuming work of organizing and filing will come as you approach April and your date with the Tax Man. But, since all of your data is in one predetermined, centralized container, such as the proverbial shoebox, you won’t waste any time looking for receipts or wondering if you have everything you need.

Want to read more and see how organizing taxes looks in real life? Read this tax preparation case study where we give kudos to two savvy and organized taxpayers.

When all is said and done

Expanding on Ben Franklin’s quote, Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind, once quipped, “Death and taxes and childbirth. There’s never a convenient time for any of them.”

All the more reason to do a little planning and a little scheduling. Be a savvy tax organizer. As the shoe and clothing giant Nike reminds us, “Just do it!”

~ A note from Sue ~

I can help you to “virtually” organize any space in your office or home simply by using your cell phone, camera, and computer. Give me at call at 719-495-7626 or email me at Sue@withtimetospare.com. I will tell you how for a minimal charge I can help you to organize those frustrating areas.

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Chapter 14 ~ Help!

Sue’s story continues. In this new chapter we see that a step of faith to go full time into her business brings new delights as well as new challenges. A surprise interview with Washington Post Magazine brings Sue to a place where she desires to take on a partner to help out. Enter Marilyn Katz;  read how she works alongside Sue to learn the trade and to help out!

Read here to enjoy the next chapter in this tale of faith, work, and answered prayer.