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Lots of loose family snapshot photographsDoes the idea of having all your family photos organized seem like an impossible dream that might take a lifetime to achieve, or would require hiring a team of experts for a month?

I know it can seem like an impossible task, but it can be done.  I’m not saying it will ever be finished, as you’ll always be adding new photos, but you can get all your old ones sorted out so that you can enjoy them more and have them stop bugging you.

I’m not a scrap-booker, and I’m no kind of photo expert.  All I have done is scan all my family photos, and all my parents’ family photos.  That included photos in albums with the sticky backing which were fading fast and old black and whites with peeling corners.  There were about 10 of my parents’ family albums, about 9 albums of my own before digital cameras, lots of packets of unsorted photos and lots of strays.  There were also photos in frames and cardboard folders.

There is more work to be done with labeling, looking for the negatives for ones we know are missing, choosing pictures to print and so on, but the feeling of achievement at getting this done was wonderful.  I did it while I was pregnant with my middle child and was not working, and it took several months of doing several hours per day.  Believe me you get better at it as you go along, but it is tedious.

Kid in a pile of washing

How good would it be if you never had to worry about your washing again?  I hate being hassled by the kids about items which I “should have” washed by now, lack of school socks and so on. 

By the way, in Australia we say “doing the washing” when we are talking about washing our clothes and linen, rather than cleaning laundry.  “The laundry” is the room where the washing machine goes, which is usually a separate room here.

We hopefully already have a rough idea how to do laundry or washing.  Washing laundry is just something we need to keep up with and keep under control.  Like anything, having a system and a routine is the answer.  You find a way that works, and stick with that, not altering it if possible unless a better way presents itself.

Almost MidnightIt’s that quiet week between Christmas and New Years.  What should we be doing?  Should we:-

a) Go shopping in the sales and max out our credit cards if we have not already done so?
b) Clean the house like a maniac because we need to be perfect by the end of the year?
c) Write a massive list of things to do, or maybe a series of massive lists of things to do in order to be perfect for the New Year?
d) Flop down exhausted and eat potato chips and watch DVDs?

That’s right, there is no correct answer, but I do have a few ideas.  Perhaps like me, you do have a few things you’d like to get done this week to start the New Year feeling like you’ve got it together.

Woman hard at work interrupted by the phoneIt's great having routines in place and our own systems for being organized, both at home and at work.  But how do you deal with interruptions and things that throw you off course?  An unexpected phone call, a breakdown (your car, your washing machine, you!)  Well, you identify it as a situation where you have to make a decision, and as much as possible you do that decision making in advance, in other words, you allow for interruptions and decide how you will deal with them at different times.

Some interruptions, like your car breaking down, just have to be accepted.  There's no point stressing, you just get on the phone if you can and let whoever needs to know what's happened. 

Analogue alarm clock in a boxLately I've been reading that time is a constructed concept, that it doesn't really exist and so on.  That may well be so, but I also believe that if you're aware of the balance of how you spend your time, you can get more done and enjoy your life more.

In my e-book I talk about spending a pre determined amount of time on a task and sticking to that as a regular habit, rather than continuing with it until it's ‘done’.  Some things are just never done are they, and there are other things that need our attention too, so you've got to draw a line, prioritize and plan.

Don't fall asleep on me here, words like time management, prioritize and plan make me want to check the pantry for chocolate biscuits too.  These kinds of terms are used a lot in a business sense, but we can apply them to our personal lives too, without it being boring or tedious.  In fact if you learn to think like this, life becomes more fun and less stressful.

Mouse with a piece of Swiss cheeseA lot of readers tell me their biggest hurdle in getting organized is motivation.
Do you feel like your motivation is something that’s out of your control?  I know exactly how you feel.  But I have to keep telling myself that it’s not true. 
You can control your own motivation, and all it takes is increasing your level of interest and awareness in what affects it.  If you care about improving your motivation, you can.  And I’m not talking about listening to some ra ra motivational hype.
Motivation is not going to come from outside of you.  Not the right kind anyway.  Nobody can give it to you.  Sure, when you’re exposed to people who are very positive and inspiring, you will feel a temporary lift.  And certainly being around people who are positive and inspiring will do you good. 

Digital personal organizerPlanning is one of the most important things you can do for becoming organized.  It can be difficult to do, and it can be difficult to carry out your plans once they’re made.  We can fix that…

The better and more carefully made your plans are, the easier it is to carry them out. 

What is it that prevents you from carrying out plans you’ve made?  I find it’s usually a feeling of indecision; not being completely sure that it’s the right plan, not enough detail about how or when or what steps are required in carrying out the plan, basically a plan that hasn’t been properly thought through.

Planning is a skill.  It’s something you get better at the more you practice it.  And it’s not something that’s ever finished.  As you get on with your life, there are always new plans to be made, whether it’s your grocery list for the week or what you want to achieve in your life this year.

So, it needs to be done regularly.  If you incorporate regular planning sessions into your life, that is, make it part of your routine, whether it’s daily or weekly or both, you will form a very useful lifetime habit and develop a skill which will help you stay organized and achieve what you want in your life.

An obvious place to start is to look at what you want to get done for the week ahead.  If you have a To Do list or a task list, make sure you’re choosing the most important items to get done first, and be realistic about how much time you will need to get the items done.

Spend your planning time, not just noting down in your planner, diary or calendar what tasks you want to do this week, or tomorrow, but thinking about how you will do them, how long they will take, what resources you need and so on.  Make sure they’re realistic, and that you’re setting yourself up to succeed.  If you’re not sure you can do it, set a smaller more manageable task.

It’s also valuable to spend some of your planning time reviewing your goals.  Imagine achieving them, what steps you will take to achieve them, enjoying those steps and feeling confident about them; enjoying both the process and the end result.  Identify as many specific, smaller tasks and steps you can complete which will take you towards your goal.  Think about why you want to achieve it.

Planning time is also the time to review your ever changing list of things to do and keep it organized.  Your list may need separating into categories, for example to ensure you are balancing the time you spend in different areas.

Your lists also need prioritizing.  You may think it’s pointless constantly re-writing lists, but actually, it’s a really good way of constantly re-evaluating which items are most important in relation to the others.  Number them in order of priority, and as you go to your list to choose the next item to attend to, you can go straight to number 1 instead of re-thinking the whole list again and worrying about it.

If you know you’re doing the most important things, that cuts out a whole lot of potential guilt and worry.

Planning is about decision making.  If you make decisions in an orderly and consistent way, it’s easier to actually make them instead of just ‘going with the flow’, and it’s easier to have confidence in your decisions.

Make planning time a regular part of your routine, with a set time limit on it of course, and your life will magically feel more organized.

Organize Your Life – Get the Ultimate Guide here

Man at work in an office about to throw a paper planePutting things off to do ‘later’ is something we’re all familiar with, some of us a little too familiar with perhaps.  It’s certainly one of my main struggles.

So why do we do it?  It’s a complicated topic, because there are all sorts of reasons, such as:

- We think the task will be unpleasant

- We would rather be doing something more pleasant

- We don’t know how to do the task

- We don’t know why to do the task

- We think it will take too long

- We’re not sure if we should do the task

- We think it will be difficult

- We’re afraid of failing at it

- Shock horror - it could even be that we're afraid of succeeding at it.

Gee, all of that.  And you thought it was just because you’re lazy?  Nope, that’s not it.  Seriously, I don’t believe in laziness.  I think what often seems like laziness is often a lot more involved.

What do you do when you’re not doing something you ‘should’ be doing anyway?  You might keep watching TV or surfing the net, or you might actually be working diligently at something else, something also useful and important, as a way of avoiding the thing you’re avoiding.  Sometimes you may be so set on avoiding something that you actually accomplish an amazing amount of other stuff, which is pretty funny.

But eventually, we do want to get that thing done.  We’d just probably rather that somebody else did it. 

Woman at a fork in the roadFeeling indecisive contributes to disorganization and vice versa.  To be organized is going to involve making some decisions, and making decisions is not always an easy thing to do - especially if your state of mind is fuddled by disorder.

Here is a very basic framework for decision making:-

- Firstly, recognize when a decision needs to be made.  This is not as simple as it sounds.  Sometimes we feel stuck and unable to get on with things, and it hasn’t even registered that the reason for the hold up is that a decision is required.  To do this, we can ask ourselves, “what’s happening now?  What am I doing?”

- Often when we find ourselves in a position where we think a decision is required, it is not.  What may be required instead is to remember and recognize that we have already made a decision. 

Clear plastic storage boxWhether you should be storing something or not is another subject, but assuming the stuff is worth keeping, sometimes you might be wondering where the best place to put something is.  How do you decide where and how to store your stuff around the home?

These are the desired outcomes:

- You want the place to look neat, tidy and un-cluttered.

- You want to be able to find things easily.  Really easily.  Instantly even.  No thinking or wondering, you know where everything is.

- You want to be able to get to things easily – no rummaging, scrounging, piling, sorting, lifting, climbing etc. 

- You want things where they won’t get damaged.

- You want everything up off the floor so you can clean easily.


"I am grateful to Yvette for the changes that she has facilitated in me. I feel that my learning from Yvette will stay with me for the rest of my life, and has brought me to a brighter, positive more confident and happy place in my family and work life."

Anshula Ohri, Toronto,

"Before I met Yvette I had many opportunities in front of me but I was feeling overwhelmed and I had no confidence in making the decisions.  I was feeling stuck and confusedd.  My career has progressed in a positive direction and I am now functioning better in physical and emotional health.  Thank you Yvette for your help.  This was one of the best decisions I have ever made."


Sarah Grudzien,
Melbourne, Australia

"The coaching with Yvette was very beneficial. In just a few weeks I had achieved so much. I am so thankful. I found Yvette to be very patient, professional and reassuring. I would definately recommend NLP now that I have seen the difference it has made to my life. I have left the past in the past and I am happier within myself."

Western Australia

"Your belief in me gave me the confidence to work out ways of improvement, knowing how important it is that these answers be found by me within me to enable them to be so powerful and successful. I loved the CD you sent as your voice is so easy to listen to and reassuring as it imparts great words of wisdom and strengthens the concepts taught within your life coaching sessions. These life skills are amazing!"

Lynne from Lowood,
Queensland, Australia

"I consider myself very fortunate having chosen Yvette for coaching.  It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I started from a place where I was stuck in procrastination and everything seemed so overwhelming that I didn't really know where to start.  I love the freedom and empowerment I now feel.  Yvette's methods are personalised and very effective.  I have looked forward to every coaching sesssion."

Melbourne, Australia

"Yvette is a great coach who inspires you to overcome the obstacles that she finds in working with you.  She is highly motivated and has worked hard to increase her knowledge in many areas that in turn help her clients.  Yvette draws on her own real life experience adn studies to help those of us who have to juggle many responsibilities and mangage the conflicts in thinking that come from that.  I am looking forward to working with Yvette again in the near future"

Liz Jarvis, CSI Business Solutions, 
NSW, Australia

"Through my coaching experience with Yvette I was able to shift my awareness onto my value system as opposed to staring at my circumstances each day and feeling pulled in a hole.  It's powerful because I want meaning, I want to live up to my values and what's right and good for me!  So, I truly learned the value of letting go and receiving the abundance of knowledge for every situation that gives life, love and meaning to who I am and what I can do, with this fearless self awareness."

New York, USA

"Yvette.  Many thanks for a wonderful experience... Our sessions were productive, really interesting adn I so looked forward to them each week with anticipation of what I can learn about myself and my behaviours.  Every session seemed to flow right on topic of what was present in my relaity at the time and your effortless guiding of my strategies never ceased to amaze me.  I highly recommend you as a life coach and thank you again for the experience."

M Shears, 
Melbourne, Australia

"I really questioned my future career ambitions and thanks to Yvette I changed direction from something I felt I had to do, to something I know I will love to do.  I was stuck on this topic for quite some time and Yvette really helped me shed light on this.  I changed the MBA I signed up for and feel excited about my careeer and all the opportunities in the future."

Sabine Mascarenhas, 
Wollongong, Australia