Clear the Clutter

Transform Your Life By Decluttering


I am about a week out from the kids coming for Thanksgiving.  In between hubby working on some projects in the condo, I have been doing some clearing out.  Piles to donate.  Tossing stuff.  Then there is the piles of “I could sell this, if we had a yard sale”.  Okay, let’s be honest, it isn’t going to happen.  The condo association doesn’t allow yard sales.  I have thought about putting things online but the thought leaves as quickly as it comes.

I focused on my office the other night.  I had lots of “stuff” laying around and my brain was getting cluttered.  I seem to work better with the “less is more” theory.  The less stuff, the more I get done.  I am amazed at how focused I am now when I get in my office.

Decluttering and downsizing is all the rage now.  Everyone seems to want to go back to a simpler time when we had less stuff.  The truth is before I totally understood why I needed to declutter, it was just another task on my to-do list which kept getting longer and longer.

Then I found a great blog post by The Peaceful Mom and I want to share some of her thoughts on how decluttering can transform your life:

#1 Clear Spaces Increase Your Focus and Productivity

Did you know clutter drains you mentally by distracting you, restricting your ability to focus and inhibiting your brain’s ability to process information?  It is a proven fact.  I don’t know about you but I can squirrel enough on my own, I don’t need any help from the clutter. Cluttered surroundings can cause you to become frustrated because your mental resources are worn down. Decluttering reduces your frustration as well as increasing your ability to think and be productive.

#2 Clear Spaces Decrease Your Stress Level

Researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) published the book “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” revealing the results of their study of 32 California families. They found a direct link between increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in female home owners and the high density of clutter in their homes. Decluttering brings calm and reduce your stress.

#3 Clear Spaces Save You Time and Money

This time of year, I always seem to spend more time looking for an item I bought ages ago and put in a ‘safe” spot, what about you?  You know you have it but you can’t find because of all the other stuff in your house?  How often have you bought something only to find out, you already have it but it was stuck in a pile in the back of the closet or in the garage?  Clear organized spaces mean more time and money to do what you want to do.  I don’t know about you but I could use some more time and money.

If you’re feeling stressed, drained and overwhelmed, decluttering is a fantastic place to start. Getting rid of all the excess stuff in your home can be challenging, but the benefits are so amazing.

As I am clearing out, I think of my daughter many years ago telling people “mom is in a cleaning mood, so if you aren’t tied down or don’t have a purpose, you could end up in the trash!”.  I’m headed again in the “cleaning mode”, one step at a time.  Lots of donations being dropped off over the next week or so.

Check out The Peaceful Mom’s 31 Day Declutter… I have done this sporadically but it makes a HUGE difference when trying to overcome the mess.

Share your best tips for decluttering with us… Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Unclutter Your Life

2 Minute Rule

imagesTGIF!  I am enjoying the mountains of North Carolina spending time with family.  Tomorrow is football at Western Carolina and tailgating with the Stray Cats.  It has been a long time since I unplugged and I desperately needed it.

Today’s blog is a great tip from Barbara of Simplify Days.  This is a tip you can use in your business or in your personal life.  This is a tip that is easy to teach your kids so they can learn time management early.

I don’t know about you but my week is usually full of trying to pull off the most simple tasks in a short amount of time. From changing a light bulb to responding to an email to sorting mail, a load of laundry or loading the dishwasher.   Some tasks just seem to sit and sit.  My one touch system for paper didn’t seem to work as well for projects…….

So, why not try the 2-minute rule?

The 2-minute rule comes from the widely recognized leading expert on personal and organizational productivity, David Allen. David is the author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.b3c9036f019b4ea1bbbe45f24b3b6870

The 2-minute rule is simple to follow and can make a huge difference in day-to-day life.

Here’s the rule: if a task will take 2-minutes or less DO IT RIGHT NOW. I am a list person and tries to make a plan.  The problem is that I spend way too much time in the planning mode.  The 2-minute rule kicks me into gear and helps me knock out those simple tasks. Instead of writing things down to complete later, the 2-minute rule helps me actually get things done instead of just written down.

No, I have to admit, I do push it to a 5-minute rule…. WHY?  Because even the simplest emails take a few minutes to write.  I know I can’t change a light-bulb in 2-minutes. I work really hard to complete right then if it will only take just a few short minutes !

I started doing this before we left on vacation and I was amazed at how much I got done.  Instead of making a list and then crossing things off…I had a completed list which made me feel AWESOME!


I challenge you this week-end to try out the 2 (sometimes 5) – minute rule and see how it works for you. If a task will take less than 5 minutes DO IT.   If you are planning out your week and remember a task that will take less than 5 minutes DO IT.  An email comes through, you can quickly respond to, DO IT RIGHT THEN.

I have to be honest, I was skeptical.  You will be surprised at how much you’ll able to get done and how often the simple act of getting started with a short task will keep you moving through a productive day.

I can’t wait to hear what you think….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Want To Be More Productive?

bad habits 2

We are almost done the first full week of the New Year, so how do you feel?  Are you overwhelmed with all of the posts about “planners”?  Does the thought of getting taxes ready make you sweat?  Are you already dreading the goals that you set thinking they are impossible?

BREATHE!  Stop for a moment and take a deep breathe.  Release it slowly.  Now, let’s talk about putting things in perspective.  Here are some tips that I have picked up over the last year that work for me:

  • Put just 3 things on your to do list every day that will help you reach your goal.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a LONG “to do list”. The difference is that each day I pick 3 things that will help me reach my goal and make sure that they are done first!  Not sure what your goals are – use this SIMPLE planner by my friend Desiree Wolfe.
  • Block out distractions. Period.  Shut down Facebook or your email or whatever else is on your computer that distracts you.  You will be surprised at what a difference in makes in getting things done.
  • Set up productivity rituals. This is a work in progress.  By 9AM, my goal is to have completed my devotions, a blog post and checked off my “daily tasks”.  This even includes about 15 minutes on Facebook to see what it going on with friends and family.  Setting up rituals of automate behaviors, make us more productive – without depleting our energy reservoir.  By getting all of my “daily tasks” done, I am able to focus on the 3 things that will make me money when everyone else opens for business.


  • Get up earlier. Research shows that mornings can make or break your day. Use the mantra “mind over mattress” to motivate yourself to get out of bed to pursue your goals.
  • Increase your effectiveness through technology.   There are oodles of programs to help with this and many are FREE.  I use Cinchshare for posts to Facebook.  LOVE Dropbox to store files online and it allows me to access documents when I am out and about.  Hootsuite will also help to schedule your social media posting.
  • Don’t say yes to every request.  I am guilty of this! Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which can kill our productivity
  • Stop multi-tasking.  Yes, you heard me!  There is new research that confirms that distractions invading our lives rewire the way our brain works.  Practice focusing on just ONE thing and you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish.  Set a time limit if you have to but stay present in whatever you are doing.
  • Learn from others.  I am like a sponge, always learning – I am in constant student mode.  The idea is that you have to gain information you don’t know so you can get to where you want to be.  This does NOT mean that you have to copy everything.  Learning means that you find out what works for you and knowing that just because it worked for someone else, it may not be right for you.

Taking consistent steps to move forward in your business will allow you to ultimately reach your goal.  Yes, you want to see the big picture.  In order to be successful in reaching that BIG dream, you need to break it down into smaller manageable steps that do not overwhelm you.

Hope you have a ThirtyOne-derful day!




Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life


why unplug

When was the last time that you totally UNPLUGGED from technology?  I know that may be scary to some and I thought it was totally impossible.  I mean I have my own business, I rely on social media and technology for a large portion of it.  What happens if……?

A million reasons run through your mind as to why you should NOT unplug, right?  What did we do BEFORE technology took over our lives.  I used to call people until I got someone on the phone or if they had a machine, I left a voice mail.  The truth is business survived and thrived, right?


The last time that I totally unplugged was on our cruise in 2011.  By totally, I mean no cell phone or internet.  No communication with anyone that was not on the trip.  After the first 24 hours (the roughest), I actually didn’t think about technology.  I was enjoying building relationships with people face to face.

Although I haven’t unplugged completely in a long time, I have changed the way that I look at technology and its effect on my life.


So what’s the effect of technology on your life?  I bet A LOT of the requests for your time, your money, and your energy come to you digitally, right?  Probably mostly via email as well as messages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites.  And it is stressing you out. It’s distracting. And worst of all you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  I know that I am not alone in this.  I have told my team and others in direct sales “there is no PURSE (substitute your product) emergency”.  So I finally took my own advice.

Yes, I used to check email in the middle of networking meetings; while stopped at red lights; in the middle of dinner with my family; and as soon as my eyes popped open in the morning.  I used to hate to have any notifications showing on my phone.

I was afraid. Afraid of missing out: on booking a party or the next big potential customer or potential team member; or maybe someone on my team had a question. I was afraid of just not being “in the know” or worse yet, them going elsewhere. Crazy, right?

Here are some tips for unplugging and re-claiming your life.  Honestly, who would want to join our direct sales business if we are always accessible?  Is there really a “purse emergency”?


I have removed all notifications from my phone – the apps are still there but the only notifications that I get are text messages.  My family does a lot of texting so it is a good way to connect with them long distance.  I start my morning with devotions and coffee – social media comes later.  I don’t even have multiple tabs open on my computer when I am working so I only check email periodically along with Facebook.  I actually am more productive.

What will you do to #UNPLUG?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Multi Task versus Productivity

monday morning

WOOHOO!  I really do like Mondays… Yes, I am one of those crazy people BUT it is because I love my business.  So, let’s talk about multi-tasking and productivity.

I always said “I am great at multi-tasking” but I always felt like I was falling short on productivity.  Despite my best efforts to lay out a plan and a timeline, I was always crunching things at the end.  So then my tag line was “I work better under pressure”.  Really, who wants to work under pressure?

Now as CEO of my own business, I occasionally find myself on this same hamster wheel.  I find that I spread myself too thin,  getting small amounts of many tasks done, but never quite finishing any of them.  In the end, I feel over-worked and under-productive, basically burnt out.

So my mission is to change the hamster wheel mindset.  Did you know that you can increase your productivity by 40% when you give yourself time to focus on one task?  You know what I mean, those squirrel moments.  We all have them, right?

So how do we get off the hamster wheel and increase our productivity?

1.  Put your phone far, far away.  

When I am in my office, I very seldom have my cell phone.  I have spotty reception in my office so why be frustrated  or frustrate others with dropped calls.

If you are one of those who have notifications for every app (Facebook, etc) alerting you –  STOP!  That simple notification in the middle of working on a project can leave you distracted and considerably less productive.  Put your phone across the room or even *gasp* turn it off which will reduce the risk of distraction. Why not let people leave a message and return their calls later after you finish the project?

2.  Notice patterns and set specific times

Think about your patterns. What’s your go-to distracter? Email? Updating your calendar? “Work”-related social media? Whatever it is, avoid the distraction by setting specific times during the day that you can check it.  Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek suggests checking your email 2-3 times a day, max. Give yourself specific times when you’re not working on other tasks.  This way you are present when talking to customers and team members without being distracted.

I close all  “tabs” on internet when I am working on something.  Better yet, if I am working on a project, I close the internet if I don’t need it.  When I consistently do this, it takes less time to get a simple project done because I am not distracted.

3.  Take a productive break

If you feel the urge to switch tasks, take a a little break – this will increase your productivity.  Now, that doesn’t mean make a call or run a quick errand.  Instead, take a walk or meditate for 10 minutes.  A real, mental break will give you the relaxation you  need and leave you with a more productive mindset.

4.  Set a timer

I only use this one when I am pushing to pick up the dreaded 500-pound phone but I may need to try it for some other projects.  Set a timer for your task.  While the timer is running, ONLY work on one thing.  When you’re finished, take a quick break to check social media, or whatever it is that normally distracts you

Set your timer based on your daily to-do list of the top 3 things you want to complete then set a time limit for each task.  This way you can properly plan out your day.

Who is ready to conquer Monday and spend the rest of the week being productive?  What is your best tip to increase productivity?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!