Wednesday, 9 October 2019
My name is Tracy Ross and I am a Professional Organiser. I set up Blissfully Organised eight years ago to support my clients to simplify their home management and make better use of the space that they have.
I am often asked how clutter affects our brains and the positive benefits of decluttering. I wanted to share with you my thoughts. I hope that you find it useful.
Where do we learn our organisation skills?
The way we organise the space in our homes is individual to each person, but a well organised home will save you time, save you money and reduce stress levels. Often when I am with a client they will say oh I got that from my Mum. We may adopt the same organisational traits as our parents or sometimes we rebel against those and do things differently. For example, if you grow up in a busy home you might prefer to create a calmer environment in your own home. Alternatively, if your parents were very organised and didn’t hold onto items (maybe they disposed of a favourite toy when you were little) you may now feel a stronger sentimental attachment to the things that you own.
Why do we hold onto things?
Since I started Blissfully Organised 7 years ago I have found that there are some key reasons why people hold onto the things that they have.
1. I might need it one day
2. Strong sentimental attachment to items that they have inherited or been offered as a gift from special family/friends
3. It was expensive. You may have treated yourself to an expensive pair of shoes or jacket that you no longer wear but want to hold onto
4. Books/crafting materials I will read it or make it one day
Why is it difficult to let things go?
The more that you are emotionally attached or financially committed to an item the more you feel that you need to keep it. We attach a value to each new item coming into our home making it harder for you to give them up.
Does Clutter Really Affect Your Mind?
Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes workplaces and ourselves. Messy homes or workspaces can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Each person’s perception of clutter is unique to them. All my clients have different things in their home that are important to them and need to be managed. I work with them to create easy home management systems that will reduce clutter. Your home should be a place where you can relax away from the chaos of day to day life. If clutter can build up it will have an impact on your mind.
Visible clutter or chaotic storage cupboards in your home or work environment bombards your mind with excessive messages and creates chaotic signals. It can affect you in one or more of the following ways:
1. Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from where our focus should be
2. Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally
3. Clutter creates visual reminders of everything that needs to be done
4. Clutter creates feelings of guilt (I should be more organised) and embarrassment (I don’t want people to see the chaos in my home)
5. Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly e.g. paperwork, car keys etc.
6. Managing clutter takes more time (i.e. looking for misplaced items or preparing for guests to arrive) and costs more (the cost of replacing items and purchasing duplicate can add up, incurring late fees or not getting the best rate on your utilities or investments)
Clutter isn’t just physical clutter. Digital clutter has the same impact on your mind as physical clutter i.e. managing the files on your computer, managing your digital photos on various gadgets, responding to and managing emails, social media alerts, App updates etc. Anything that beeps for your attention will impact your ability to focus and perform tasks.
How can reduce the Clutter in My Home?
1. Start with one area at a time and finish decluttering that area before moving onto the nest space. This will give you a sense of achievement. I am always there to support you if you need non-judgemental support with any specific area
2. Create designated spaces for frequently used items and supplies. So that you can quickly and easily find what you need when you need it.
3. If you don’t use it, don’t want it or don’t need it get rid of it. You can recycle or donate items that are still usable.
4. The items that you use less frequently should be stored in less accessible places i.e. loft, garage, utility room. When you put things in the garage/loft add a date and keep an electronic list. If you have not accessed, it within a year you probably don’t need it.
5. When you take something out of its designated storage space put it back when you have finished using it. It takes practice to begin with but if you have a designated space for everything that you need it is much easier.
6. Be aware of what you and other people bring into your home. Don’t let papers pile up. Think about the journey of all papers entering your home/workspace. You need to create an arrival space for all incoming papers. I usually recommend a shallow in-tray. Then spend 15 minutes each day sorting through what needs to be actioned, items to recycle and those can that be filed away. Get into the habit of immediately recycling papers that you don’t need right now. If you want to find out the information you can do this very easily. i.e. flyers, menus newspapers etc
7. Mental clutter -focus on one project at a time without distractions of mobile social media etc
I offer a confidential and non-judgemental service to support my clients to declutter and organise their homes. I provide the emotional support, practical help and motivation to help you achieve your goals, step-by-step. To find out how I can help you tame the chaos and set up easy to manage systems to maintain a clutter free environment please contact me at email@example.com.
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
How can a health and wellbeing strategy help you?
Whilst many employers are aware of the benefits of promoting health and wellbeing, it's often carried out on an ad-hoc basis. The difficulty with this approach is that it makes efficacy evaluation difficult, creating challenges when it comes to getting buy-in from those in control of the budget, and it can also lead to spiralling costs.
Health and wellbeing strategies are also often underpinned by a specific focus, for example reducing absenteeism. However, one of the key challenges is to go beyond this core objective and take a more holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing.
Below we outline some of the topics that a strategic approach to employee health and wellbeing can start to address:
Why do workplaces need mental health first aiders? Our research shows that 86% of UK employees believe their organisations are not doing enough to help them deal with work-related mental health issues. Mental ill health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK and 12.5 million working days are lost each year due to mental health issues. Read more.
Building resilience is one way to successfully manage stress. It gives us the ability to persevere and continue to function at a high level in times of adversity, despite failures, setbacks and loss. Here we take a look at 10 steps towards building resilience to cope with stress in the workplace and avoid burnout. Read more.
British people sit for an average of 8.9 hours a day. Office workers are spending the majority of these hours sat at their desks, and research indicates that this poses a real health risk, irrespective of how active people are outside of work. This is why it’s vital to reduce sedentary behaviour and be more active in the workplace. Read more.If you need any further information about our health and wellbeing offer for Chamber members please get in touch or visit our website.
Monday, 15 July 2019
This change enables us to bring together all the communities on the platform and make it easier for every member company to be visibly part of a wider global platform.
British chambers of commerce will appear under the new “UKGlobal” community.
We remain committed as ever to growing the platform – now 27 chambers and more than 11.000 members – to become the new global standard for business connectivity, repositioning chambers of commerce as the gateway to business success in the 21stcentury.
To ensure continuity in terms of expertise and capacity to support former COBCOE and other British Chambers on the platform TIAO has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Daniel Shillito, immediate Past President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Italy and former COBCOE Board Member, who will partner with TIAO in servicing Connects chambers, the UKGlobal community and their moderators on the platform, as well as in the recruitment of additional chambers. TIAO’s Karolina Vainilkaitė will remain the first point of contact for all chamber moderators.
We believe the announced changes will serve to further strengthen Connects and its UKGlobal community platform and we look forward to continuing to work together with BCC and all former COBCOE chambers to connect British chambers and their members around the world.
 Daniel Shillito will partner with TIAO as a separate commercial entity, not as the British Chamber of Commerce in Italy or in his former capacity as its President.
Monday, 10 June 2019
Do you ever worry that you’re not being taken seriously at work? If you doubt yourself, then this can come across in the way you speak and present yourself. The key to being heard and taken seriously is assertiveness.
What is assertiveness?
Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself confidently, with respect and consideration for others in the conversation. Assertiveness takes confidence, tact, and thoughtfulness.
In an attempt to avoid being passive, people often mistake assertiveness with aggression, but this is not what being assertive is about. Being the loudest person in the room does not make you the most assertive. Assertive individuals know how to get the point across without being intimidating or dismissive.
How to be more assertive
At a very young age I found myself as one of the only women on a board for one of the world’s largest logistics mergers. This was pretty intimidating and it would have been so easy to convince myself that I wasn’t qualified to be there. But I was qualified, and I needed to show that.
I had to learn quickly how to maintain my assertiveness in this situation. I developed the following ideas in response and they have helped me countless times since.
The best way to speak with authority on a topic is to make yourself an authority. Learning and preparing as much as you can will help you speak and act with assertiveness.
Admittedly, this isn’t a quick-fix. It takes work. This may involve preparing for a big meeting with notes for every possibly contingency, or generally learning as much as you can about your industry. Identify the gaps in your knowledge, the areas where you feel uncomfortable or less confident, and build upon those areas.
Don’t rush in
If someone asks you a question or comes to you for your opinion, it can be easy to panic and rush in with an answer, any answer. It is better to take a deep breath and really consider what you’re going to say before you say it.
Taking your time and being thoughtful with your responses won’t make you appear unsure or timid. Just the opposite really; it conveys confidence and poise. If you don’t have an answer at the moment, be honest and explain how you plan to find an answer. Honesty and authenticity will garner you a lot more respect than ultra-quick answers.
Being assertive is not just about what you say and how you say it. In order to respect others in the conversation, it is important to listen to them and understand their opinions. Incorporating other’s information and points of view into your responses makes a great impression on your peers. Assertive individuals will listen without interrupting others or responding in a rude manner, even if you disagree with them.
Being assertive involves being confident, thoughtful, tactful, and prepared. Boost your assertiveness by doing your research, taking your time with your responses to others, and by being an active listener.
Could you be more assertive at work? I provide coaching tailored specifically toward assertiveness and confidence in the workplace. Get in touch if you are interested
In this day and age, with celebrity news, YouTube adverts, Instagram images… it’s easy to think that success often happens ‘overnight’. However sometimes ‘overnight’ has meant several years of hard work, and what we see is the end result.
Especially if you are reaching for a different way of life, or goal – rather than just the next step forward. This is where breaking down goals into manageable chunks is important because you can take a step-wise approach, rather than facing a huge mountain of a goal!
So back to ‘overnight success’ let’s look at some famous successful people, and what it took them to succeed:
- Sly Stallone was sleeping in his car and even had to sell his dog when he got his first substantial movie part. He bought the dog back by the way!
- Seuss’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher sold six million copies of the book.
- Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and started a business called Traf-O-Data which failed, but the rest is history.
- Oprah Winfrey is one the richest and most successful women in the world but had many career setbacks and was fired from one TV presenting job as she was told she was unfit for TV.
- Sidney Poitier won an Oscar and became a very respected actor but was once told to stop wasting his time in acting and go and wash dishes.
- Harrison Ford was told by many famous executives that he didn’t have what it took to make it in films.
And these are just a few examples, and I’m sure if you look at your life to-date you can see the twists and turns that’s taken you to where you are now.
I’ll cover just a couple of traits or characteristics that successful people demonstrate:
This means adapting to setbacks, rolling with the punches and course correcting rather than being completely put off but setbacks. In fact setbacks can be positive experiences if you choose to see them that way – great opportunities learn, reflect on what you want, and recalibrate how you get there.
Pay off…again in similar vein to resilience it’s about keep keeping on. Not be put off by difficult situations, or giving up because it’s hard work, or too hard. Keeping a picture of the end in mind will help. Keep going until you hit on an idea or thought that’s going to work.
Managing negative mind chatter
Our minds can go into overdrive with negative thoughts and patterns that can run riot in our minds. There are many tools and techniques where you can re-train your brain and create new neural pathways that are geared for success
Many successful people are self-aware. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and don’t overestimate themselves. Yes confidence is important but not when it tips into arrogance. This means you can seek help where you need it, and aware where you really add value. Successful people also tend to use techniques to help develop and maintain self-awareness such as meditation, quiet time and solitude, keeping a journal and practising gratitude.
It takes work. By all means outsource tasks where you can, especially if it’s not your core skill set – but really no-one is going to do this for you – if you want something, you have to put the effort in. Otherwise, you’re kinda daydreaming.
So I’ve just covered a few aspects of what contributes towards success, there are many more. However, a lot of it is mindset. To find out more about anything mentioned in this blog, or the techniques visit my coaching programmes page and the MindNav® programme: https://sarah-j.com/self-navigation-coaching-programmes/mindnav/
If you’d like to contact me directly, feel free to get in touch with me here.