The Digital Disaster Zone

orgnasing+photosAre you overwhelmed by your digital images?

Digital clutter is on the increase. People are overwhelmed by images that are stored on memory cards, CD, USB, hard drive, phones, tablets, cloud and a plethora of photo sorting and storing software programs. And it is not only digital images that people feel overwhelmed by; it can also be negatives, slides and prints. No matter what format your precious memories are in we understand that all you want to do is enjoy your photos and have peace of mind that they are safe.

Here are our top 5 tips to help keep your digital photos organised.

1. Check your camera settings: having the correct date on your images will save you time and energy in the future
2. Delete the dodgy ones straight away: Resist the urge to keep all your images and be conscious that a bad photo is just digital clutter.
3. Have a place for everything so everything can be in its place: whatever filing system you use be consistent and make sure everyone knows and uses it.
4. BACK UP!: Wherever, however – just do it!
5. Make it a habit: just like your lawns, your photos deserve your efforts with maintenance, if you stay on top of it you can keep organised in just 30mins a month – promise!


Once your photos are organised it is super easy to utilise your photos in photobooks, slide shows and all the other display options in the current market. Once utilised the enjoyment for you and others comes naturally. As does the peace of mind that you can easily ensure the safety of those images with regular backups.

She's Organised

Think about your kitchen, if your fridge is full of healthy ingredients and your meals planned in advance how much easier is it to do the right thing?

The Filing Fairies are here to help you over that initial hurdle; be it digitising old prints and slides or searching for images on numerous devices. We manipulate your environment to make the things you should be doing (enjoying your photos) easy.

Our organise > utilise > enjoy concept can apply to a myriad of situations and life scenarios. I hope we have inspired you to think ‘organised’ and look for ways to ‘hide the cookies’.

About the author:

Mara from the Filing Fairies is a Professional Organiser specialising in photo and office organisation including paper and digital filing. They provide easy to use solutions to small business, individuals and families. For more info, contact:

The dining table that lived happily ever after

The happily ever after dining tableONCE upon a time, there was an invisible dining table.

It wasn’t really invisible, but it was so long since its family had seen it that they had almost forgotten it was there.

The reason no-one could see the table was that it was covered in a mound of paper.

The lady of the house who shall remain (ahem) nameless, had three children under four, a full-time job and a perpetual dearth of sleep.

Daycare notes, mail and catalogues were all placed on the table as they arrived.

And there they stayed because there was nowhere else to put them.

Then she read two books that changed her life: Sorted by Lissanne Oliver and Paperflow by MaryAnne Bennie and Brigitte Hinneberg.

The “lady” started with her desk at work and found, as she devised a strategy, that instead of needing paperflow she could go paperless.

Hard copy documents that needed to be kept were scanned and kept in folders on her computer desktop and the originals put in the recycling bin.

The desk is clear to this day, and old documents are quickly and easily found.

Emboldened by her success, it was time to rediscover the dining table.

Step one was was to label four washing baskets “bin”, “bills”, “receipts” and “miscellaneous”.

She grabbed a handful of papers and started tossing each piece into the baskets on the floor.

But how to prevent the mess building up again.

It was time for strategy. (See the box above centre.)

No more lost notes, mislaid prescriptions or unpaid bills.

As for the invisible dining table . . .

It was cleaned, polished and lived happily ever after at the centre of family life.

Read more online. Visit yourhomefcn on Facebook and click on the links.

Inspiration on Pintrest: yourhomefairfax.

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

How to Use Technology to serve you:

My basic philosophy with technology is this: “use it to achieve your objectives”. It’s that simple. But it can easily hinder your progress without a system in place to manage it. There’s a real art to using technology to free up, rather than eat into your time.

Many of my clients and friends share with me their feelings of technological overwhelm. I help them establish a system with some rules that work for them, knowing what they can cope with and taking into consideration their degree of mobility and the complexity of their jobs and lives. I thought it might be useful to share a couple of my own tips and tricks for getting the results I want in my work day and I hope they make your life easier too.

Technology in the handsGetting Inspired: Having a set of goals is important. Staying connected with them is equally as important. Images are a powerful way to do this. As I come across an image of something that inspires me, I save it in a file I set up called ‘Vision Board’. I have created a collage of these inspiring images in Picasa (free Google image management software). When I power up my PC, my ‘vision board’ instantly appears as my wallpaper on my desktop, immediately inspiring me and reminding me of my goals. I also use two other lovely little free apps called Penzu (journaling) and VisionBoard both from Happy Tapper.

Staying Inspired: I’ve moved on from bookmarking websites and remembering what I bookmarked (and why). I now use a fantastic free app called Evernote and I can add anything to it around my own themes, projects and ideas. For example, I’m currently working on a big project and I want to keep track of all the websites, e-mails, images, documents, etc that I come across that will help me with that project. All I have to do is click the little Evernote button and they get flagged neatly in there!

Making it happen: To make sure the rubber hits the road I use a fantastic free service called Simpleology to manage my tasks and keep me focussed. I log onto it in the morning, do my morning brain dump of everything I need to get done and then I just focus on one item at a time, ticking things off throughout the day. It’s so satisfying and makes me so much more productive than having 10 windows open at once just ‘so I don’t forget’.

Pull vs Push: I don’t get interrupted by e-mail all day long. When I’m working on a project, I apply the ‘pull’ strategy: I shut down my e-mail application and only open it when I need to. I then have three routine times when I handle e-mail, morning noon and night. The ‘delete’ button is your second best friend here.

Finding your files: I have a really easy system for knowing exactly where anything is in my filing system. This is all laid out in Paper Flow, your ultimate guide to making paperwork easy, along with screen shot examples. Basically there are just 5 main folders – only two of them for ACTION and everything is filed under those folders. The same applies to e-mail. It just keeps things flowing beautifully.

File sharing: I use a great free service called Dropbox to share and access files while I’m away. My clients and colleages can receive files from me without the e-mail trail with enormous file sizes. I have also created my own set of files that I’m working on, so when I travel (I’m actually writing this blog on holiday) I don’t even need to take my laptop with me. I can log in anywhere and have access to all my files while I’m away. Colleagues and clients will have access to real-time updates from me.

Reading: My iPad makes light work of my reading as all my reading material is loaded onto that before I go. I can now move mountains of work in airport lounges so there’s nothing waiting for me at the other end. I know it’s a bit of an investment but I’m not looking back!

Social connection: I can manage all of my social media accounts with my one social media dashboard: Hoot Suite. This enables me to post content across all the different social media, as well as schedule content to load at different times and for different channels.

Connecting 1:1: To keep costs down, I use Skype as much as I can for calls but I also use a great teleconferencing service for group coaching calls with the added benefit of recording the meeting. Webinars are my other favourite for learning and teaching.

For an easy, inspiring, no-nonsense, results-focussed online training program that teaches you systems for success in Life, Busines and Home, try Milking It. We hold your hand through implementing more than 12 systems for success with videos, workbooks, forums and coaching. So to make your life easier today, click here.

I’m curious to find out how you use technology to actually make your life easier (rather than harder). Please share your favourite tip with us on Facebook.

Paper Flow Going Global

After six years’ experience in the self-publishing game and some of the largest retailers as my distributors, I’m very excited to announce that we have a new publishing house! Wiley (Wrightbooks) will re-launch the popular Paper Flow, the ultimate guide to making paperwork easy here in Australia in June and will also launch it in the U.S. and Asia for the first time. I’m so excited and proud that Paper Flow is now going to reach a global audience. The team at Wiley are amazing to work with and having all that support means I now have more time to coach and train groups and individuals than before.

If you or your organisation is interested in workshops, presentations or coaching, please get in touch.