When More is Less: Cutting the Clutter

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 29-07-2010

“To be free, to be happy and fruitful, can only be attained through sacrifice of many common but overestimated things.” -Robert Henry

Excerpt from The Four Hour Work Week – Mini-Retirements

I know the son of one deca-millionaire, a personal friend of Bill Gates, who now manages private investments and ranches.  He has accumulated an assortment of beautiful homes over the last decade, each with full-time cooks, servants, cleaners, and support staff.  How does he feel about having a home in each time zone? It’s a pain the ass!  He feels like he’s working for his staff, who spend more time in his homes than he does.

Extended travel is the perfect excuse to reverse the damage of years of consuming as much as you can afford.  It’s time to get rid of clutter disguised as necessities before you drag a five-piece Samsonite set around the world.  That is hell on earth.

Let’s face it, though:  There are tons of things in your home and life that you don’t use, need, or even particularly want.  They just came into your life as impulsive flotsam and jetsam and never found a good exit.  Whether you’re aware of it or not, this clutter creates indecision and distractions, consuming attention and making unfettered happiness a real chore.  It is impossible to realize how distracting all the crap is – whether porcelain dolls, sports cars, or ragged T-shirts-until you get rid of it.

Have you recently taken a mini-retirement?  Share with us any success “de-clutter” story.

More to come next month on how Timothy Ferris de-cluttered.

Interrupting Interruption and the Art of Refusal

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 27-05-2010

“People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.”–Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes

Blaming idiots for interruptions is like blaming clowns for scaring children – they can’t help it.  It’s their nature.  Then again, I had (who am I kidding–I have), on occasion, been known to create interruptions out of thin air.  If you’re anything like me, that makes us both occasional idiots.  Learn to recognize and fight the interruption impulse.

This is infinitely easier when you have a set of rules, responses, and routines to follow: a ‘System’.  It is your job to prevent yourself and others from letting the unnecessary and unimportant prevent the start-to-finish completion of the important.

1.  Create ‘systems’ to limit your availability via e-mail and phone and deflect inappropriate contact.
Get the auto response and voice mail script in place now, and master the various methods of evasion. Replace the habit of “How are you?’ with “How can I help you?”  Get specific and remember–no stories.  FOCUS on immediate actions.  Set and practice interruption-killing policies.
–Avoid meetings whenever possible:
–Use e-mail instead of face-to-face meetings to solve problems
–Beg-off going (this can be accomplished through the Puppy Dog Close)
–If meetings are unavoidable, keep the following in mind:
–Go in with a clear set of objectives
–Set an end time or leave early

2.  Batch activities to limit setup cost and provide more time for streamline milestones.
–What can I routinize by batching?  That is, what tasks (whether laundry, groceries, mail, payments, or sales reporting, for example) can I allot to a specific time each day, week, month, quarter, or year so that I don’t squander time repeating them more often than is absolutely necessary.

3.  Set or request autonomous rules and guidelines with occasional review of results.

–Eliminate the decision bottleneck for all things that are nonfatal if misperformed.
–If an employee, believe in yourself enough to ask for more independence on a trial basis.
–Have practical ‘rules’ prepared and ask the boss for the sale after surprising him or her with impromptu presentation.  Remember the Puppy Dog Close  — make it a one-time trial and reversible.
–For the entrepreneur or manager, give others the chance to prove themselves.  The likelihood of irreversible or expensive problems is minimal and the time savings are guaranteed.  Remember, profit is only profitable to the extent that you can use it.  For that you need time.

Excerpt from The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.

Who are the NR (New Rich)?

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 19-03-2010

“Options—the ability to choose—is real power.   Be open to learn about how to see and create those options with the least effort and cost.  It just so happens, paradoxically, that you can make more money—a lot more money–by doing half of what you are doing now”  Timothy Ferris

So, Who Are the NR?

  • The employee who rearranges his schedule and negotiates a remote work agreement to achieve 90% of the results in one-tenth of the time, which frees him to practice cross-country skiing and take road trips with his family two weeks per month.
  • The business owner who eliminates the least profitable customers and projects, outsources all operations entirely, and travels the world collecting rare documents, all while working remotely on a website to showcase her own illustrations work.
  • The student who elects to risk it all—which is nothing—to establish an online video rental service that delivers $5,000 per month in income from a small niche of Blu-ray aficionados, a two-hour per-week side project that allow him to work full-time as an animal rights lobbyist.

The options are limitless, but each path begins with the same first step:  replacing assumptions.  To join the movement, you will need to learn a new lexicon and recalibrate direction using a compass for an unusual world.  From inverting responsibility to jettisoning the entire concept of “success,” WE NEED TO CHANGE THE RULES!

Once you “decide” things happen!

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 18-02-2010

Written by Brenda Martinez on Saturday November 29, 2008 from a remote beach in Mexico.

Once you “decide” things happen!

Okay, so it starts out like this.  My boyfriend builds log cabins in Colorado and his busy months are from April-October and he work’s his little bum off.  So, he decides several years ago that he’s had enough of the Colorado winters and now wants to spend them in Mexico.  We started to go on 2 week vacations.  Well that was not enough for him. He decided last year to go on two 1 month sabbaticals.  He thoroughly enjoyed it, but missed me terribly.  So this year for my birthday and our 5th year anniversary he got me a ticket to fly with him for a month.  Well, needless to say, I was scared and excited at the same time.  I thought, how I’m I going to afford this?  How I’m I going to make this work? OH but how exciting to be on the beach in Mexico while Colorado is freezing and cold.

I immediately started planning for being gone for a month.  All the while, thinking, this is crazy, what I’m I doing? I can’t do this? Of course I can do this!  I have to do this, I have a round trip ticket for 1 month!

About 3 weeks before we’re leaving, he said he was at Office Depot and saw this book, The 4-Hour WorkWeek Escape 9-5 Live Anywhere and join the New Rich and thought, Brenda needs to read this!

I read it when we got to Mexico, literally with-in 1 week, and I’m writing this story in Novillero, Nayarit Mexico with the most beautiful palm trees and miles and miles of beach with no one around, working!

My goal for the next month was to create my Website.  I have been here almost 2 weeks, and have gotten more done then I would have at home.  I’m more focused because I have plans and play time in the afternoon.  I signed up for Skype to communicate via the computer anywhere in the world and joined Elance.com and hired a web designer and a content proofreader.  I hired a Graphic Designer via Elance to complete my website.  I will be hiring a Proofreader and Editor via Elance.  I signed up with my bank for online Bill Pay.  My son is taking care of my home and my dog.

Once I “decided” to make it work, it did.  Everything has gone as planned.  Read the book, get inspired to join the New Rich.  Don’t be a slave to your work for 50 years and then enjoy your fruits of labor when you’re old, do it now!  Take mini sabbaticals or “retirements” as Tim Ferris mentions in his book, throughout the year.  Hire out your menial jobs.  Decide if you want to live your life NOW by doing all the things you would LOVE to do then schedule your work goals around it.  It’s all about “deciding” and planning, and writing down your goals.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Join the New Rich

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 25-01-2010

I decided to focus my blog on the teachings, direction and step by step guidance from the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris, on this new way of thinking about forgetting the old concept of retirement and the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times.  Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is awesome!

It supports the idea of working less but “Living More”.   Don’t wait till your over 65 to retire, take mini-retirements now and create a Lifestyle Design based on the here and now.

Testimonial from the book:  “Your book has inspired me to quit my job, write two e-books, sky dive, backpack through South America, sell all the clutter in my life, and host an annual convention of the worlds top dating instructors (my primary business venture, third year running”).  Thank you so much!  —-Anthony

I personally took a 1 month mini retirement 2 years ago and then last year I took a 2 month mini-retirement.   More on this later.

Create Space-Donate-Help Others-Tax Deduction!

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 11-12-2009

  • Go through your home and office and donate what you no longer need, use or love.
  • Create space in your mind, in your office and home before the holiday’s so you can have energy to enjoy your time, family and friends.
  • Donate by December 31st and feel great by helping others and in return you get a tax deduction.

Finally Fulfill One Of Your New Years Resolution

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 16-11-2009

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”  Confucius

Every year one of the top 10 new years resolutions are “Getting Your Office Organized”. 
As we near into 2010, the main topic for the Office Organizing & Productivity Tips will be on finally fulfilling one of your resolutions of getting organized.  Whether your really busy right now or things have slowed down due to the economy, don’t wait until the beginning of the year.  You will have other resolutions to start so why not check off your Organizing resolution NOW. 

While networking I was asked by a women who works for a Plumbing company, please tell me in one sentence the services I offer?  My response was “I help create an office System so you can have a process and a place for every document, phone call, voice mail, email, that comes into your office for quick retrieval” 
Well the woman responded;  you do not have to tell me the importance of a “System”.  We would not be able to survive with-out one, in fact EVERYONE who has an office should have a system! 

 Creating an office system is a process and an art form. 
Step 1.  Answer the following questions and complete a Scorecard to measure your success.
1)  What is your vision or goal for your office or your productivity level?  I typically ask;  What would your office look like? What would success feel like?
2)  What have been your obstacles or excuses?  What has prevented you from getting organized?
3)  How much time can you commit? Who can help you?  Do you have the budget?
4)  What tools do you have already i.e. Filing cabinet? Calendar Planner or Outlook? Contact Management System?
If you would like to discuss the above in detail with a Certified Professional Organizer, I offer free consultations.
Step 2.  Make only three decisions for every incoming item into your office.

Office Disorganization…..

Posted by Brenda | in Blog | on 08-10-2009

How has the cost of Disorganization affected your work space?  Please share all situations.