So, what have you been doing all day?

Do any of you feel slightly explosive when asked the question ‘what have you been doing all day?’ and realising that despite your best efforts, there’s not much to show for it? Seriously, if ever a question invited domestic violence, that one would surely top the list. You know you’re ready for an overhaul if any of these apply to you:

  • You’re sick of doing laundry at 10pm
  • You procrastinate by absorbing yourself in social media, housework and emails
  • You procrastinate by over-doing the housework when a big project looms
  • You’ve overloaded your kids with extra-curricular commitments so none of you have time to stop and breathe
  • You started your business so you could have a better lifestyle…but the business has taken over your life
  • You’re tired of missing out on school sports day or other kids’ activities because you had to play catch up and didn’t plan ahead
  • You’re sick of your messy house and office and want it sorted out FOREVER
  • You do WAY too much housework…and for what purpose?
  • You’re drowning in email and paperwork
  • You were put on this earth to be so much more, but you’re trapped in ‘busy’
  • You want to reduce the stress and enjoy your weekends instead of playing catch up
  • You feel like you’re always behind and miss out on things, which costs more money and even more time
  • You want to free up more time to spend with family and friends

Thank you to all those who honestly answered the question – ‘What is your biggest time thief?” We had a huge number of responses. Eight categories stood out as the main time thieves. The chart below shows your answers. Take a look at the results and see which ones you want to knock for a six: biggest time thief chart

Here are all the activities you call ‘time thieves’. Some are obviously not ‘thieves’ but a normal part of getting through every day. But the point is that it’s about perception. If you called it a ‘thief’ it’s because you feel you’re spending too much time in that particular area. Administration, helping others, housework, email & social media, kids activities, failing to plan / procrastination, travel and work. The biggest thieves of all are the internet (which includes social media) and failing to plan. (Note – I would argue that kids activities are never a waste of time, unless they’re disorganised).

Good news – those are precisely the issues we will help you nail in our member program. Join now and we’ll get you started immediately. Failing to plan as you know, is planning to fail.

I’m very excited about the transformations that are happening every day in our member community. The 7 ‘secrets’ that make up the member program were taught to me by some of the most influential and successful game changers on the planet. These 7 steps are the ones that bring about the most profound results with our clients. If your children get to experience you mastering even a few of these steps through you’re modelling them at home then they’ll become masters too.

So next time someone (hopefully in full body armour) asks you ‘What have you been doing all day?’ You can say “I’ve been Milking It, by working the plan.” Isn’t that what life’s all about?

Help! I’m drowning in paperwork and e-mails! Where do I start?

Drowning in paperwork? Overwhelmed with your to do list?

You’re not alone. It’s hard to focus on anything when you’re in a mess. Your confidence takes a beating and you feel anxious and stressed. Not to mention snappy with loved ones.

You just KNOW you’ve forgotten something important, you arrive late, leave early, say no to invitations because you don’t have time. If enough’s enough, read on.

Step 1 – Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered. In fact, we’ve helped around 20,000 people sort their mess out and fall in love with their new system for managing paperwork and emails. We’ve done it for big businesses as well. With our help and your determination to get and stay organised, you’ll nail it in no time.

Step 2 – Start fresh today. Don’t look back. Simply forgive yourself for getting into a mess – it happens to the best of us. Now commit to a new system and new way of doing things.

Step 3 – Set up your new paperwork system first before you touch any of your paper or emails. Your system needs to include five main features:

1. an in-tray,
2. a set of folders to separate and contain your regular ‘to dos’ – like Bills to Pay, Correspondence To Complete, Blog to Post, Transactions to enter, Items to read, Contacts to enter, etc.
3. A set of folders for each of your projects – like Summer Holiday, Sale of Car, School enrolments, Business Launch event, etc
4. A set of folders for all the other paperwork and e-mails you need to keep to refer to but you don’t need to act on. Let’s call these your reference library. Important documents like birth certificates, passports, marriage certificate. Another reference folder might contain all your vehicle information, another your health records.
5. And finally the out ‘system’ which is where the paper and e-mails ‘exit’ your life forever – either off to the next stage in the journey, or to the bin or the scanner or into archives (for family history, financial or legal reasons).

Step 4 – create some rules to live by. Each regular ‘to do’ file needs a day of the week that you’ll attend to it. Put it in your diary. Likewise with your projects – what day will you do them on? Decide how many projects is enough in your life at any one time. We recommend no more than 7 or it’s too hard to move them forward. Focus is key.

Step 5 – get an accountability partner to help you and join our member program. We’ll give you all the training and support for setting up your new system and coach you until its second nature.

To find out more, click here

Brigitte’s book Organise your Paperwork is available in Officeworks stores nationwide

There are only three ways to store your belongings

When it comes to storage, there are three main ways of organising your belongings:

  1. Fitted or built-in storage
  2. Storage furniture or containers
  3. Or out on view – a method that shades into ‘display’.

Whether it’s 1, 2 or 3, there’s no limit to the style you can adopt, from a sleek contemporary look to a rustic or retro approach. In the following blog posts, I’m going to explore many different types of storage ideas.

Let your individual taste dictate your choice of storage. And if you need a bigger reason to get sorted, my real estate friend tells me that organised homes fetch a higher sales price. So there’s a great incentive for anyone wishing to sell! Share your thoughts and opinions here – I’d love to know your reaction.

The Seven Must Have Features of ANY Storage Solution

Whether you’re shopping at Howards Storage World, The Container Store or the $2 shop, making the right choice in storage makes your life easier and makes your spaces work hard for you.

So you’re all inspired to get organised, you’ve got a 45 minute window and you’re chomping at the bit to buy something! The tendency can be to jump at the gorgeous container on the shelf in front of you but then find it doesn’t work when you get home.

These seven tips will help you choose the best storage solution for your organising challenge and I hope they save you loads of time, energy and money, like they have for me:

  1. Size really matters: Grab that tape measure and always measure your items and the space where the container will need to fit before buying any storage container. (Tip: keep a tape measure in your shopping bag ).
  2. The style factor: Will your containers be on display? If so, what decor do they need to compliment? Consider colour, texture and material (like rattan or metal). If they’re not going to be on display, you’ll have more options of type and price.
  3. Visibility of contents: Consider whether you want to be able to see the contents through a clear container, or prefer them to be concealed. I love clear containers for behind cupboard doors (e.g. in my pantry and ensuite) because I know at a glance what’s in the container. For containers on display, labelling and indexing becomes even more important.
  4. Space saving: Square or rectangular containers use space much more efficiently than rounded containers. I got rid of my round canisters in the pantry years ago for that reason. Also remember the stack-ability of a container and whether you can stack multiples on top where necessary.
  5. Ease of access: Think about how you’ll use the container and make it as easy as possible for yourself. If you don’t need a lid on your container, you’ll have less moves to make to retrieve your items in a hurry. So think about whether you really need the lid. Also, could other features like wheels or handles make the container more portable?
  6. Always remember the UFF (User-friendliness factor): containers get messy and dusty over time, so think about the shape and how easy it will be to clean. It might be pretty but if it has lots of grooves and hard to reach bits, it might be tricky to clean. And if it’s fabric, make sure it can be washed.
  7. Divide and conquer. You might want to separate items in, for example, a drawer, or a vanity cupboard, or a pantry. So consider whether you need divisions within the container for sub-grouping items. The golden rule of keeping ‘like with like’ saves a ton of space and makes things easier to find. If a container you like doesn’t have ‘dividers’ then think about how you can work around that with drawer dividers or other small boxes placed inside, or plastic bags.

Mention: The gorgeous basket above is from www.crateandbarrel.com who now ship to Australia. This image is on my Storage board on Pinterest. Follow it here.

Please feel free to share these tips with anyone you know who’s on an organising spree! I’d love to hear your tips and favourite storage solutions.

Containers To Tame Your Space

craft room storageIn any room of your home or office, keeping things neat, tidy and organised is key to saving space and managing your time and stress levels. Container storage is one of the many ways we have to tame our mess. To keep your home or work space efficient, it needs to be neat and you need to be able to find what you need, when you need it. The golden rule is to keep like with like and give everything a home. Your daily tools; pens, pencils, scissors, labeller etc can be kept together in it’s own box that you can take with you wherever you sit to do attend to your paperwork.

Magazines, recipe books, diaries, note books look great in magazine storage containers – we love the range at Kikki-K. In the kitchen all your cooking magazines or cook books can be stored in magazine boxes, keeping them together and easy to access. Thanks to the many styles, colours and shapes you can colour co-ordinate your room or colour code your books and magazines, all baking magazines in one, all pasta books in another. You need everything at your finger tips especially when time is of the essence.

Rise and Shine – How to get out the Door with 3 kids, ready for work and full of energy!

There is always a noticeable reduction in the amount of yelling I have to do to heard everyone out the door on time in the mornings whenever I use this very simple tool.

It’s such an incredible feeling getting out the door with:

  • My hair done & dressed for work
  • My morning’s workout done
  • A nutritious breakfast served
  • The kitchen tidy
  • Forms filled out
  • Homework completed
  • School bags all packed with lunches, etc
  • Happy, calm kids sunscreened, teeth brushed, neat uniforms, hair done
  • Files and notes for my day’s appointments packed in my bag  
  • Time to chat calmly with each of my kids

You feel like anything is possible. You have a head start on the day.  You laugh with your kids and have time to play before school.  There’s time spare for any mishaps or minor events.

It’s such a good feeling that if ‘Getting Out The Door Calmly’ was a bottled product, it would be bought by millions of mums all around the world and I would retire as a legend.  But you can just get it here for free, cause we’re just so nice like that! 

Mornings are stressful if they’re not planned the night before.   To turn yours around, please make use of this free template – getting out the door on time.  

Getting Out the Door on Time

You’ll find that when you use it, all your mornings will smooth themselves out like a freshly ironed shirt.

Think of it as your tonight self giving your ‘morning self’ a big head start.

Catching Balls at 6am

By far the hardest things to keep track of in my day are my own thoughts and inspiration. Most mornings I get home from the gym, greet my children and then head straight into the kitchen to help with breakfast and lunches and getting everyone ready to go off to school. Whilst cutting carrot sticks and plating up pancakes, I invariably have a stream of thoughts racing randomly through my mind about the things I need to remember to do that day.

I really don’t want to forget these important thoughts and they are usually the most important things that really need to be addressed. While my hands are busy with food and helping, I can’t stop to write it all down, so here’s a quick and easy tool I use to capture those ‘to dos’ before they are forgotten.

I just open the ‘voice memo’ app on my iPhone and literally talk to myself! Here’s an example from today: “Morning B, today you need to remember to…go through Grace’s presentation with her again, make a hair appointment for sat night, send welcome packs to two new clients, go to the ATM to get money for the ironing, pick up the new glasses from OPSM, send the birth certificate to the rugby club for James and help Lachy with his reading.” That’s it.

Then once I’ve dropped the kids off at school, I jump back in the car, play the memo back and write them down. Then looking at the list, it’s a case of the four D’s – what do I DO, what do I DUMP, what do I DELEGATE and what do I DELAY?

See, juggling is simple! xx

Zen and the art of school pickup

This post is for those entrepreneurial mums like me who like to pick their kids up from school.

For years I used to arrive at the school precinct, on time or even a little bit early, only to find that I could not get a carpark for love nor tuckshop money. Every day, the same feeling: “damn! There are no parks!” So then you’re in the mindset of: can’t wait till the kids are older and they can go to the car lineup. Who wants to wish childhood away?

Over the school break the thought occurred to me to turn this whole situation on its head.  Why don’t I get to the school really early? But, instead of just hanging around making conversation, do what I have had on my ‘to do’ list for years (but never seem to get around to doing): meditate.  Yes, meditate! At first it felt a bit strange: being early, and not in a rush and actually meditating in the car.  Probably looks like I’m sleeping! I moved the seat back, pressed play on the Deepak Chopra meditation track and started breathing calmly.

Result: getting up to the school calm and refreshed and ready to enjoy the afternoon shift – my other ‘business’.

Give this instant energy boost a go. You won’t be late to the school gate again! Just don’t fall asleep in the car!! Ommmmmmm.

It’s as Easy as a Cup of Tea

Welcome to week two of our 2014 Milking it blog. As we said last week, February is the new January (who wants to change the world when they’re on holiday?) so now the kids are back at school, we’re getting down into the business of making this the greatest year of your life, business and home. This week is about your goals: seeing it, feeling it, connecting to it.

Getting the foundations right will ensure that the rest of the year flows. This week, it’s important to carve out some time to look at your 2014 goals (see the last blog) and create a compelling vision for each goal.

Why a vision? A picture tells a thousand words. It’s more efficient to have a picture of what you want than a long essay detailing the kind of house you want. Your mind naturally brings up an image when you think of any outcome you want. So by choosing those images you’re influencing that process. We all need a picture of the end result we’re striving for. When you’re cooking a meal, you start with the end result – an image of the dessert or the special meal we’re creating. You’re in the process now of planning out your life, your business, and your home in detail so you get what you want. You are a whole-brained person. You’re not just a left-brained person. You have emotion, colour, shapes, etc in your mind so you need to engage that thinking. We’re using images to engage our subconscious. The subconscious mind is the driver or the horse that gets us places. How many of us are on auto pilot?

We suddenly arrive at a destination and we don’t remember how we got there? We just get there. That’s our subconscious just driving us. We tie our shoelaces without thinking. The subconscious mind is like our internal GPS system. By feeding it the images we want, ideas will show up, people will show up. It’s all part of the neural conditioning in the brain. So by having a vision of what your heart desires this year, you’ll start to create new neural pathways which will lead to deeper insights and a journey that is aligned with your desires.

Having a vision board engages your reticular activating system – that part of your mind that obediently recalls what you want it to recall at any point in time. For example, you might be looking to buy a new pair of runners, and you decide the brand you want. Suddenly you see those runners everywhere. Yesterday you didn’t notice them, but today you start seeing them everywhere. That’s the reticular activating system at work. Like a periscope popping out from the submarine, it scans the environment and notices the things that are important to us. It’s a survival technique.

So this week, if you can find time to sit and have a coffee, then that’s your moment to create your vision board. Stick figures will do. Magazine clippings, photos, anything that reflects closely the outcome of your goals. Just make sure they are symbols. We’re not looking for perfection here, just progress.

This step in the Milking it journey will get you out of the dangerous world of negatives which is so common in our every day vernacular. We so commonly use negatives to describe what we want: ‘stress-free’, ‘debt-free’, ‘lose weight’, ‘injury-free’, ‘pain-less’ etc, etc. Remember that our brain doesn’t process the negative part of those phrases, only the key words. So those phrases would simply translate as ‘stress, debt, weight, injury, pain’. I think we’re all happy to move out of that world!

Your vision board is putting things out there that are right for you and everyone else.

There’s just one rule this week – it’s got to feel good. You’ve got to feel AHHH yeah! This is possible for me! I really want this! Yeah! You don’t want to feel like ‘this’ll never happen’, or ‘this is way too hard’. We want to look at the board and FEEL great.

When you’ve finished your board, just run it through what I call ‘The Believability Test’ – if you don’t think it’s possible for you, don’t put it up there. Just put the stuff there that you believe is possible for you. Then as those things happen, you can add to it and improve on it.

It’s so refreshing to embrace a genuinely new start to the year. We have a ton of resources in our membership area to help you with this exercise:

  • A workbook, five videos from me explaining the process
  • An hour long MP3 interview with world leading vision board expert Barbara Pellegrino (that was so much fun)
  • A forum full of Milking it members who are all getting into it and having a great time.

If you haven’t signed up yet, we look forward to having you on board. What are you waiting for?

Brigitte, Angie & the DYRTM Team

The Female Entrepreneur – diligent, capable, resourceful, courageous, energetic, active, audacious, passionate, self assured, gutsy, enterprising, imaginative, plucky, industrious and opportunistic

Today’s female entrepreneur is described as diligent, capable, resourceful, courageous, energetic, active, audacious, passionate, self assured, gutsy, enterprising, imaginative, plucky, industrious and opportunistic. Despite all these words – and many words we didn’t list – overall she is courageous.

Woman have often found challenges in business, especially when up against men, they have not only the challenges of a career to contend with but trying to balance family and work and deal with many out there who feel a woman just isn’t as effective as a man in the entrepreneurial arena.

Thankfully thinking and times have changed, as a society we have come a long way and now women are being recognised and acknowledged for the work they do, and while there is still some need for *acceptance* the female entrepreneur’s courageous spirit is shining through. Women have begun turning to the small business/solo-professional field to become fully fledged entrepreneurs in their own right.

Women are no longer accepting of the *status-quo* they are up to the challenge of creating their OWN business dreams. They have the faith they need and trust in their own abilities to push against the tide and head off into those *uncharted waters*. It is this courageous spirit that allows her to open doors, close doors that don’t work for her and to develop new business skills. The female entrepreneur of today sets herself challenging goals, is willing to face anything and has an *onwards and upwards* plan to move ahead – from starting something new to completely re-inventing herself.

It’s her desire to succeed and the need to reach for her dreams that gives her the courage to achieve her goals.

As with anything the first step is the hardest, getting your business idea off the ground is daunting, but any feelings of anxiety or uncertainty can be conquered by that can-do courageous attitude. By believing in your goals, your morals and your skills you can achieve anything you set out to do. Stay true to yourself, stay motivated, set yourself goals and stick to them and seize any and all opportunities as they become available. This is the only way you can avoid any set-backs.

Today’s female entrepreneur doesn’t look back, she doesn’t pine over lost chances or missed opportunities she keeps to her goals, letting her heart and passion guide her. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger are words she lives by.

If your courage has gone into hiding – now is the time to sit down and visualise your goals, where do you want to be? How can you get there? Set yourself on the path to achieving your goals do whatever you need to do, achieve whatever you need to achieve to live that entrepreneurial dream.

Do it not just for yourself, but for those women out there, the ones who are looking up to you and admiring you for what you have achieved – you can become the role model for the next generation of female entrepreneurs.