After a turbulent start to the year, many Queenslanders are in the midst of re-establishing themselves and getting their homes, families and lives sorted. For some, starting afresh means tackling seemingly insurmountable odds, for others it’s back to the daily grind.

However, according to best-selling Australian author of Paper Flow and Did You Remember the Milk; and Brisbane-based mum of three Brigitte Hinneberg, 2016 could present a positive opportunity for people to reorganise and gain control of their home, work and life.

“However, this topsy-turvy time has also made us identify what’s really important to us and that’s a good thing to get clear and a great place to start,” she says. “For many people this year could be a positive experience and one of substantial personal growth.

“Getting organised is going to be the key to our success. Taking a relatively small amount of time to get some simple systems in place will save you huge amounts of time, energy, money and frustration in the long term.”

This is what getting organised could save you in 2016:

  • 260 hours – Australians waste this time each year looking for lost documents
  • $2,000 – this is what we pay in late fees, lost health receipts, fines and unclaimed gift cards.

Despite being more tech-savvy, people are losing the paper war:

A piece of paper is moved 8 times before it is tossed or filed
80% of paper that is filed is never accessed again
70% of Australians use ‘to do’ lists, but never feel on top of them.

Here are some of Brigitte’s top tips to get 2011 back on track:

Mission Control

  • Create a ‘control tower’ – your personal office where you manage your recurring actions like paying bills and handling correspondence. This is where you’ll move your key projects forward each day. Within arms reach should be your main reference folders such as your important documents folder, current financial records and ready reference information like school contacts, schedules, planners and business reference.
  • The level of cleaning up and clearing up will vary between each household but the principle remains the same, choose one room at a time and break down the task. For some it will be a case of needing new furniture and for others it will be a major de-clutter. If so, start with de-cluttering before you re-organise it. Trying to get organised in a messy room will prolong the task. Put your space through the 7 step milking it approach to de-cluttering: assess the room, set your goals, create your zones and decide your scope, set a deadline, set some rules (how much are you going to get rid of?), assign each item to a category of keep, toss, donate, repair or reassign, decide what needs to go.

Be Your Own Task Master

  • It may sound basic, but only use one notebook you carry with you and put all appointments, tasks and key dates into one diary. The one diary, one notebook rule will keep everything in one place and at your fingertips when you need to access it. Keep removable tabs in your notebook so you can jump to categories.
  • Always start the day with a plan and tackle the most important things first. Daily planning is the most powerful tool for getting control of your time.
  • No more multi-tasking! Despite popular belief, the fastest and easiest way to get anything done is to get clear, set your target and focus!
  • Master the art of estimating your time and remember for every task to allow set up time, project time, and clean up/winding down time as well as travel time and a buffer for interruptions

Me Time

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed and in a rut, allow time for yourself because in order to go the distance and keep moving forward, you want to be operating in optimal condition. Although you might be strapped for time, exercise and healthy eating will give you more energy for your busy day and more endorphins, which will combat stress. Planning meals in advance will make shopping and cooking easier and save you time.
  • Aim to get eight hours of sleep per night and at least two of those before midnight. If you have things that are worrying you, write them down before you go to bed and then forget about them until you wake up.

The Power of Positive Thinking – create a new vision

  • It’s no secret that thinking positively and eliminating negative thoughts is a great way to combat stress. Become aware of the negative thoughts that crop up in your mind through worry, stress, anger, resentment and fear and write them down. Then come up with a new replacement thought that could help you re-frame the negative one.

Brigitte Hinneberg’s latest book Paper Flow the ultimate guide to making paperwork easy RRP $24.95 is available in all good bookstores, Australia Post, kikki.K, Officeworks, and selected newsagents.

Now she has launched her latest life-empowering tool, Milking It, an easy to use program that helps busy working mums achieve more with less effort.

“I wanted to create an affordable and easily accessible online coaching program, that you could access whenever you need it, wherever you are,” Brigitte said. Milking it gives you the tools and training to create 12 tried and tested systems that you can put in place in your life, business and home, such as: planning and time management, de-cluttering, meal planning, paper flow organisation, finances and helping children gain independence.

Click here to find out more about Milking It.