THAT MESSY WALLET, DESK OR HANDBAG IS MORE THAN JUST AN ANNOYANCE (It May Be Costing You Big Time)

I remember a very hectic and dark time in my life when I was facing bankruptcy, paying child support up the wazoo and getting by with actual financial help from my parents each month.  Back then I needed every dollar I could lay my hands on.  I was so deep in debt and stressed out though, that I would take mail that came in, assume it was a bill and then just toss it in a drawer or on yet another pile of paper.  In this particular case, the mail that I thought was a bill was actually a check for $300!  Had I opened it then and there, I would’ve known.  And boy, could I have used that $300 then.  I didn’t find out until about 8 months later when I was going through my papers and decluttering.  When I opened it up, my heart sank.  I had a limited time to cash it or I forfeited my claim in this particular case.  Needless to say, I was pissed and vowed never again to let clutter cost me a dime!

We’ve all paid the price for clutter at one time or another.  A junk drawer, a cluttered room, a disorganized desk at work.  Whatever your particular brand of poison, you know what it is.  But what you may not know is that it’s costing you in ways you might not suspect.  Clutter is the enemy of clear thought, productivity and financial freedom.  Having clawed my way out of the clutter hole and experienced its terrible costs, I am sharing with you just a few ways I’ve known clutter to cost me or others I have coached in various ways.  Listen up, it might save you some cash and some grief.

Misplaced Funds.  In addition to the personal example I related above, I can’t tell you how many times I have decluttered a home with a client and found at least a hundred dollars in the form of change, cash dollars and uncashed checks.  One way to fix this is to have a landing pad for your mail.  Always put it in that designated spot and sort through it as soon as it comes in or as soon thereafter as you can schedule the time.  Have a trash can and shredder nearby to dispose of any excess and unneeded paper.  That way you can stay on top of your mail and it doesn’t get sucked into a black hole that costs you.

Wasted Time.  How many times have you wasted time looking for something?  Each and every day, people lose time looking for things.  And sometimes those things are right on their heads, on their feet or in their pockets.  I recently had a friend who posted that she spent something like 20 minutes looking for her socks only to find they were, you guessed it, on her feet!  My clients constantly tell me they waste 20 minutes or an hour looking for stuff every day.  You can easily waste 15 minutes or more each day looking for things.  This can make you late for important events or take away time from other more pressing things you should be doing.  Eliminate this time waste by setting up zones for items and always putting them back there when you’re done.  One thing I do is I have a tray on my dresser and every night I empty my pockets and put my change, wallet, gum, business cards and keys in that tray.  The next time I need to leave the house, I know where to go to get that stuff.  I’m never wasting time looking for those basic things.  Try it, you will like it.

Peace of Mind.  Why do we go away on vacation?  Isn’t it to get away from it all?  And isn’t some of the things we’re getting away from is a messy environment?  When you put that key card in your hotel room door and open it, you expect to be greeted by a nicely made bed, a well-arranged room and a neatly arranged bathroom.  Even the toilet paper is finished with a nice design!  There is a reason for this.  An orderly environment relaxes the mind.  In the absence of clutter there is peace and rejuvenation.  When you come home and open your door, are you greeted with peace or disorder?  If it’s the latter, you are robbing yourself of peace of mind.  Don’t you get irritated when you have to step over junk on the floor or see dirty dishes in the sink?  Do yourself a favor and get started decluttering your home.  Turning it into an oasis of peace will make a huge impact on your peace of mind.

One tip to get started is to pick a spot in your target room and start decluttering, working in a clockwise fashion, 15 minutes at a time, or more if you can spare.  Keep working in a clockwise direction until you come back to where you started.  That way you can see the progress you make and use those little victories to spur you on.  Get bins to sort things into Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash and Shred.  When you are done move on to the next room and repeat the process.  By dedicating just a few minutes each day to decluttering you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a relatively short time.

Lost Opportunity.  There are people who say successful people are just “lucky.”  They are lucky, in a sense, but they make their own “luck.”  You see, luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity.  If you are disorganized, disheveled and lacking clear focus, you cannot possibly be prepared when opportunity comes knocking.  In fact, opportunity might be staring you in the face right now, but you can’t even see it for all the clutter you have accumulated in your life in one form or another.  Can you think of any opportunities you may have missed to improve your life because you simply were not organized enough and ready to take advantage of them?  If so, shake off the clutter and get your life in order.

Relationships.  I have seen actual relationships strained to the breaking point because one spouse or the other refused to let go of tons of unnecessary junk.  I’m talking magazines, books, collectibles, rusty old tools that no longer serve a purpose and all manner of other things.  And when you ask them when was the last time they used it, they couldn’t tell you.  Or when you ask them if it’s such a valuable keepsake, why is it buried at the bottom of all this junk, they look at you like a deer in headlights.  And all the while the other mate is threatening to end the marriage if they can’t get it together.  This is serious.  Don’t be the unfortunate soul who is willing to sacrifice a loved one for material things that can burn up tomorrow and have no lasting value.  Learn to let go and you will open up your life and your home to peace and rest.

These are just a few ways clutter can cost you.  If you saw yourself in any of the above examples, you are not alone.  But the good news is you can fix it since you caused the mess in the first place.  The Max Money Mind is dedicated to providing timely advice on how to organize your life and finances so that you may gain financial freedom and peace of mind.

Join our email list and you will immediately receive your copy of our free eBook “The Max Money Guide To Building A Bulletproof Budget.”  It will show you how to quickly organize your finances by  building a budget that actually works, even if one hasn’t worked for you in the past.  So what are you waiting for?  It’s freeClick that opt-in button and join our growing community dedicated to doing more, getting more and living more.!

THE SECOND KEY TO TAMING THE TIME MONSTER- SETTING GOALS AND PRIORITIES

In the previous article, we discussed how determining your core values allows you to figure where things fall in order of priority in your life.  Okay, now that we’ve got that the next question is how do you fit all the things you have to do in the run of a day into your life so that they live up to your core values?  Here two powerful items come into play:  Goals and Priorities.  Goals are where you ultimately want to end up, the destination on your life map.  Priorities are your means of getting there, your vehicle, so to speak.  All your priorities are the things you should be doing at this moment in time to get you moving toward your goals the fastest way possible.  First, let’s talk about goal setting.

You can, and should, have several goals.  Each one will cover different areas of your life and should always be geared toward making you and your life better.  They can be physical, like running a marathon.  They could be spiritual, like drawing closer to God.  Or maybe you have a financial goal, like accumulating enough money in the bank to retire.  Goals are limitless and only confined by your imagination.  But how big should your goals be?

Goals should be BIG.  I’m talking moon shot big!  Goals need to make you stretch and grow.  They need to make you struggle and change and get uncomfortable.  Those are the only goals worth having.  But keep in mind that they need to be realistic and attainable.  If your goal is to figure skate in the Olympics and you’ve never skated before and you’re over the age of 30, that’s probably not a realistic goal.  But once you have a goal in mind, write it down.  Then we need to reverse-engineer it.  What do I mean?

Reverse-engineering your goal means taking it and working it backwards in time to today.  Let’s take the example of retiring to a Caribbean island.  That’s a big goal.  So ask yourself, where do I need to be in 5 years to make sure I’m on track to supporting that ultimate goal?  Maybe it means being debt-free.  So that’s your 5-year goal.  But being debt-free probably means upping your income.  So maybe your one-year goal is to have a thriving side-business that boosts your income.  Now, how do you get there?  Hmmm, maybe in 6 months you need to be starting that business.  That’s your 6-month goal.  A good one-month goals in support of that would be maybe filing a business license for a dba.  Before that though, you need to know what kind of business you want to start, what legal entity should you use and how viable will it be.  So a good one week goal would be to determine the kind of business you would like to start.  But what can you do today to support that goal?  Today, you could read one article, or buy a book to read that relates to starting a successful business.

See how we deconstructed that and arrived at the one thing you should be doing today to ensure that you ultimately arrive at your goal?  Try this powerful tool, it works.  Studies support the fact that those who are most likely to reach their goals are the ones who write them down and have a plan to get them.

Keep in mind though that the difference between a dream realized and a mere wish is action!  And the only person who can perform that action is you.  Your actions must be your priorities, which are in turn aligned with your goals.  The key thing to keep in mind here when determining your priorities out of all the things you could be doing in a given day is asking yourself what is the one thing I should be doing right now to make sure I’m on track for my next goal?  In the example we used above that would be reading something that will educate you about starting a business.  If you’re not doing that now or haven’t done it already today then you’re doing the wrong thing.  The next tool we discuss will make sure you are doing the things you should be doing at any given point in time.

Let’s now look at the power of the daily To-Do list and how it allows you to set your priorities.  One thing that highly productive people share in common is they list the things they need to accomplish in a given day.  The list is a simple yet powerful tool!  It is a visible reminder of what you need to do and a powerful motivator as you cross off each task you accomplish.  You too can use it to work wonders in your life.  Think about all the things you need or want to do each day, then list them.  In that list you will have both things you could be doing and things you should be doing.

Now look at the list.  Of all the things on it, if you could only accomplish one thing in support of your goal, which would it be?  Put the number ‘1’ next to it.  Now look at the remaining items.  If you could only do one of those in support of your goal, which would it be?  Place the number ‘2’ next to that item.  Repeat this process until all items have numbers next to them.  Anything that most directly moves you toward your goals are the things you should be doing.  Those take priority over the could be doings.  Now, work your way through this list until you accomplish everything on it for the day.

If you fail to get to everything on the list, don’t worry.  Just carry those items over to your list for the next day and finish it then.  But always place emphasis on the things you should be doing in support of your goals.  It’s that simple.  You will be amazed at how much more productive you become when you work the list and make it a part of your daily routine.  Now go tame that time monster and show it who’s boss!

THE FIRST KEY TO TAMING THE TIME MONSTER- DETERMINING YOUR CORE VALUES

YOU often hear folks say there are not enough hours in the day.  Yet some people can barely get to work on time when others like single moms work full-time jobs, make meals for the kids and pursue a college degree on the side.  Now that’s a Super Mom!  But they do it because they know what’s important and they prioritize.  They have the same number of hours in a day to work with just like you.  Yet they squeeze every bit of those 24 hours for what they’re worth and they accomplish amazing things.  They can do this because their activities align with their values and priorities.  When you attain that point in life, amazing things start to happen and you accomplish things with your time that you never thought possible.  So let’s talk about how you can get to that point of maximum return.

First, you need to understand that there are five basic areas everyone’s life can be divided into:  Family, Worship, Work, Play and MeFamily of course are those people closest to you either by blood or choice.  Worship is whatever belief system you adhere to.  Work is that thing you do to support yourself in this world.  Play is that thing you do to unwind, either alone or with others.  And Me takes in all those things that feed yourself.  That includes eating, exercise, personal improvement, alone time, etc.

Everything you do falls into these five categories.  Please take a moment to take out a sheet of paper and list these five things.  Study the list for a moment then place the number ‘1’ next to the thing most important to you.  Then examine the remaining items and put a ‘2’ next to the second most important thing.  Continue numbering the items until all five are prioritized.

Now lean back and think about what you just said about your life.  How you prioritize these things speaks to who you are and what you believe in your heart.  They are your core values.  When you live your life by your values, and you never compromise these, then making decisions about how you will spend your time becomes much easier.  Things that contribute to your values get done and those things that run against your values get left out.

For example, if Worship is at the top of your list, then you will not allow anything else to interfere with the time you have set aside for it.  And the decisions you make in all the other areas will always be preceded by considering how it will impact your spiritual life.  If Family precedes work, then you will schedule definite times to spend with your family strengthening the bonds between you.  During that time you will not keep checking your phone for emails, tweets or texts.

Values are the non-negotiables that your life revolves around.  Once you set these in stone, make a firm decision to live your life accordingly.  So whenever you have to decide to take on a certain task, or schedule time for a certain activity, first ask yourself: Where does it fall in importance in relation to my values?  Once you know where it falls, don’t allow your values to be compromised by going against them.  Plan your finite hours in harmony with those important things.  And cross out those things that don’t fit in with your stated values.

The next key to taming the time monster is setting priorities.  The following article in this series will deal with figuring out how to prioritize your day so the stuff that aligns with your values gets done and the stuff that doesn’t gets pushed aside.

ARE YOU CHOOSING SABOTAGE OR SUCCESS?

IMAGINE you are in a group of 10 people and someone offers $1,00,000 to the first of you who can race to the end of a track and claim it.  You size up your competition and decide your chances look pretty good.  You’d probably be excited at the prospect of such wealth and be determined to run as fast and hard as you can to beat your competitors.  You all line up on the track, hearts pounding, adrenaline rushing.  But then the benefactor pulls you out of the line and says you don’t get to run on the straight and level track.  Your course is to be different.  He points to a parallel track filled with a maze of obstacles you must avoid.  “What?  Are you kidding me?”  That’s probably what you’re thinking at that moment.  “It’s not fair” you shout!  “You’re sabotaging my chances of winning,” you protest!  Indeed he is.  Your odds of winning that $1,000,000 just went to practically zero.  Would you even bother at that point?  Probably not.

That’s a pretty extreme scenario.  Yet so many of us are sabotaging our own chances for success in the same way.  How, you might ask?  By filling our lives with clutter that takes many forms.  Maybe you have a closet that you’re afraid to open for fear of getting buried in an avalanche of junk.  Maybe it’s a room so full of excess junk that you can’t even see the floor.  Or, maybe it’s your desk at work.  Still looking for that report you swore you had the other day?  Clutter can be people too.  That person who is always sucking the life out of you with their dark view of the world.  Or maybe they are draining your energy, time and resources with their constant emergencies, most of which are due to their own poor choices.  Yes, clutter is all around us and all too often we freely invite it into our lives, even embrace it.

Filling your life with clutter is the same as freely choosing to run after $1,000,000 dollars through a maze of obstacles.  That choice is madness.  And choosing that path is choosing to sabotage your own success.  That self-sabotage manifests itself in many ways.  It can make you constantly late because you can never find what you’re looking for when you need to be somewhere at a certain time.  It can make you broke because you can’t keep track of your finances, so you pay overdraft fees and late fees on a regular basis.  It can stress you out because when you come home, that place that should be your sanctuary is nothing more than a clutter and stress-filled torture chamber.  It can block your chances of promotion at work or success in business because you can never seem to accomplish all the things you need to do in the course of a day.

I believe that we all can choose a better way.  That way is achieved by clearing clutter out of your life and taking control of your destiny.  By achieving a high level of personal organization, you immediately put yourself miles ahead of the competition.  While they get bogged down in obstacle after obstacle, you are running free and unencumbered toward that $1,000,000 prize.  While they are stressed out by life, you are sipping drinks on a sunny beach because money isn’t stressing you out anymore.  While they look on with unconcealed jealousy, you are grinning all the way to the bank because the universe is flowing your way like it never has before!

Org4Life Solutions is dedicated to giving you that better way.  Our system of personal organization covers the four main areas of your life:  Time, Space, Paper and Money management.  When you kick clutter out of your life, something amazing happens.  These four areas align in an organized way and your life becomes supercharged!  You perform at a higher level in business.  Your relationships become more peaceful.  Your home becomes a welcome sanctuary.  And your wealth grows because you become the master of your own success.

So don’t delay a minute longer.  Find us at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  Take control of your life.  Find out how we can help you stop self- sabotaging and start choosing success!