Uptown Errands

 

 

Hi everyone!  My name is Kadie Kersey, and I am the founder of Uptown Errands!

 

I have always known the importance of a balanced work and home life. However, many of us struggle to find this balance. There are never enough hours in the day to complete our never-ending, ever-growing “To Do” lists. Until now!

 

My company, Uptown Errands, is an errand-running service that allows people and businesses to outsource their “To Do” list!  Need to pick up dry cleaning?  No time for grocery shopping?  Need an oil change? We’ve got you covered! Uptown Errands offers a wide variety of personal and professional services to help you take control of your busy life.  With our help, you will have the ability to accomplish more!  And, we assure that your time will once again become your own.

 

Errand Services are priced at $30/hour* and can be booked online using our easy-to-use booking tool, which can be found at the top of each page of the website or with a simple phone call, email, or text!


Procrastination

 

When we willingly defer something even though we expect the delay to make us worse off, we’re procrastinating. (per Piers Steel) And most of us are guilty as charged. It’s so easy to find a distraction that doesn’t demand much commitment that avoiding a demanding task or project is commonplace. But dragging our feet doesn’t make the job go away. It only makes us feel guilty, inadequate and ultimately overwhelmed.

Procrastination has many faces. The thrill-seeker loves the euphoric rush of waiting until the last minute. The avoider often has unrealistic expectations or a serious case of perfectionism. The decision avoider feels that by dilly-dallying, he’s absolved of any responsibility for the outcome.

Procrastination might be a basic impulse, but it’s also bad habit. It’s costly and anxiety producing. Failing to file taxes on time results in fines. Late papers and projects can mean failing grades. Dithering over a decision often closes the door on options.

Here’s a procrastination conundrum: Avoiding the onerous task doesn’t seem to make people happy. This is what William James was talking about. Not doing something we know needs to be done is exhausting and defeating. In our heart of hearts, we know that “One of these days is none of these days.” Henri Tubach

So how can we overcome the tendency to dawdle? Try better planning. Set deadlines or have others set them for you and impose penalties for failure to comply. Expect interruptions- they’re part of life so give yourself enough time to complete the project even if the roof springs a leak or the dog goes missing.

Divide projects into smaller parts, each with better definition so the tasks are concrete and you don’t have to think about how to start. Restrict your options.   If you need to buy a new washing machine, determine your budget. Ask two friends for recommendations. Read several consumer reviews. Pick one that looks good enough- no expectation of perfection. Buy the darn thing!

Will power has been compared to a muscle that can be strengthened through exercise. Making now the time to act, paves the way for that pattern to more easily be repeated. You can become one of those people who accomplish things in a timely fashion. The best way to get something done is to begin.

 Getting Things Done by David Allen is full of time- management tips.

“The Thief of Time” essays edited by Chrisoula Andreuo and Mark White

By Robin McCoy

 

 

 

 

 


What Type Are You?

The idea of personality type has always been intriguing to me. Over the years, I’ve taken several personality tests – Myers-Brigg, Enneagram, Love Languages, etc.  With each test, you can learn a bit more about yourself. Are you a judger? Agreeable? Introverted? Extroverted? Do you like to receive gifts or spend quality time?  The list goes on and on.

carson tate working simply

Recently, I had the opportunity to take a different type of personality test. I was able to learn my “Productivity Style”.  For two days (approximately 20 hours), I attended a two-day implementation boot camp called “Working Simply: Work Smarter, Not Harder”.

Led by expert and author, Carson Tate, the purpose was twofold – to learn more about my own style and how to increase my personal productivity, but also to learn how to detect and identify other people’s styles so that I can help clients not only in their homes but also their lives.

The first morning began with a seemingly innocuous task – use a large blank sheet to describe your productivity in various ways.  Being the prioritizer that I am, my sheet contained bullet points, numbers, straight lines, and I finished first. Apparently, finishing first is a common trait for prioritizers. As I looked around the room waiting for others to finish, I realized immediately the purpose of the task.  With a very short and concise activity, it can become quickly obvious to detect someone’s “type.”

carson tate workshop

From prioritizers (me), to planners (my colleagues), to visualizers and arrangers, we covered the gamut.  I learned that my “prioritizing” style tends to be straightforward and fact reliant (not a big surprise).  We moved on to sequential and organized “planners” and intuitive and big picture “visualizers”. Lastly, we became acquainted with “arrangers”, those who thrive on relationships and like to focus more on people than the process.

The rest of the two day boot camp was an intense study of personal productivity. How do you manage your schedule – on paper or digitally? How do you manage your time – focused or distracted? We learned how to improve communication when considering your audience – how to determine your co-worker’s and client’s productivity style? We even spent time with a tech guru to make our inboxes work for us rather than us working for our inboxes? Do you ever feel like a slave to your inbox? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

All in all, we were able to come away with a toolbox full of ways to increase our own productivity and communication. We also walked away with many resources to help our clients in their lives; from home office organization to simply managing the endless to-do’s of daily life.

On the last day, during the last hour, each attendee was asked to “free-write” for ten minutes on a blank sheet of unlined paper.  My “visualizer” neighbor made a bullet point list…something she had never done before. My “prioritizer” bullet point list from the first day turned into a stream of consciousness memoir of the past two days.  I walked in as a “prioritizer” and walked away more in touch with my inner “visualizer,” a true measure of bootcamp success.

Carson Tate Group pic

Simplicity’s Shyla Hasner, Laurie Martin and Jenna Skaff with Carson Tate.

By Jenna Skaff


Simplicity’s Student Planner

student-agenda-cover

“The assignment is due when? Today??”

We’ve all been there at some point. Somehow, that assignment due date just slipped right up on us without our noticing. That is why organizational skills are so important to school performance.

Using a planner is the key to time management!

Students are doing more than ever before-taking multiple classes, completing homework, preparing for projects, studying for tests, participating in afterschool activities, playing sports, and attending family and other social events. With so much to juggle, it is important for students to have a planner that works for them. Planners help students track and organize all their to do’s including their homework, tests, projects, and other events. Planners reduce stress, increase productivity, and prevent students from feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to invest in a planner that fit’s your child’s needs.

Tips for Using a Planner

  1. Pick the right planner. Take your time when choosing a pocket planner. Find one that fits inside a special pocket or pouch in your book bag if you can. Avoid planners with locks or zippers that will only annoy you. Little things like that will become a hassle and create bad habits.
  2. Put your name on your planner. At some point throughout the school year-most students misplace their planner. Take 30 seconds to put your name and phone number or email on your planner-just in case!
  3. Make the planner a part of your daily routine. Carry it with you at all times and remember to check it every morning and every night.
  4. Fill in your assignment due dates as soon as you learn them. Get in the habit of writing in your planner while you’re still in the classroom. Don’t put it off!
  5. Learn to use backward planning. When you write a due date in your planner, go back a day or a week and give yourself a reminder that the due date is approaching.
  6. Use a color-coding system. Keep some colored stickers on hand and use those for reminders that a due date or other important event is approaching. For instance, use a yellow caution sticker to serve as a warning two days before your research paper is due.

Put everything in your planner. You must remember that anything that takes up time, like a date or a ball game, will keep you from working on an assignment. If you

  1. don’t put these things in your planner as time out, you may not realize how limited your homework time really is. This leads to cramming and all-nighters.
  2. Use flags. You can buy sticky-note flags and use them as tabs to indicate the end of a term or the due date of a large project. This is a great visual tool that serves as a constant reminder of a imminent due date.
  3. Don’t discard old pages. You will always have important information in your planner that you’ll need to see again at a later date. Old phone numbers, reading assignments—you’ll want to remember those things later on.
  4. Go ahead and congratulate yourself ahead of time. On the day after a big project is due, put in a reward appointment, like a trip to the mall or a meal out with friends. This can serve as positive reinforcement.

Things to Include in Your Planner

It is important to block off anything that consumes your time, in order to avoid conflict and crisis. Don’t forget:

  • Homework
  • Test, Quizzes and Papers
  • Holidays
  • Sports/Activities

If your child has lost their planner or has a planner that doesn’t seem to be working efficiently, consider using one of Simplicity’s student planners!

Simplicity’s planner includes:

  • A laminated, durable cover
  • 3 hole punched
  • Monthly calendars
  • A tab that divides the weekly calendars
  • Ample room to record assignments and projects
  • A special section to write announcements, reminders, and notes

To purchase a Simplicity Student Planner please email info@simplicity-organizers.com


Overcomplicating Organization

Overcomplicating Organization

When it comes to conquering clutter, one goal is often to create simple, functional systems to make daily tasks run smoother. Labels, containers, calendars, lists- you name it, and we use it. But with most things in life, the “less is more” adage holds true here as well. When trying to get organized, it’s important to not overcomplicate it. Being honest with yourself, acknowledging other participants in the space you’re organizing and being realistic about your expectations will save time and money.

Some people start by making the (extremely fun) trip to The Container Store or Target for supplies. Whereas, anyone who has worked with Simplicity knows, we won’t bring anything in before we’ve pulled it all out, sorted, and purged. Our team leader as well as many of our project managers ensure clients that “it gets worse before it gets better.” You can’t figure out where you’re going until you know where you’re starting. Logically, all things are like this, you can’t solve a math problem without knowing the numbers. You can’t make a delicious meal without determining what ingredients you need. So how can you expect a purchase of essentially more stuff to help with your current stuff issue?

While organizing can be overwhelming, tackling projects with these tips can help minimize frustration and keep it simple:

–       Start small. Instead of tasking yourself with an entire room to accomplish, pick a single drawer or cabinet. The feeling of success will come a lot quicker and may motivate you to keep working!

–       Timeframe. Give yourself a time limit. Set aside a specific increment of time, ex. 1 hour or the afternoon 2-4pm. Set a timer. This keeps you focused on your expectations and decisions when sorting or purging. Even if you merely come to a stopping point in that time, it allows for a natural break as well.

–       Incentive. Although a newly organized, simplified space is rewarding enough, most of us are motivated by more tangible rewards. Especially if organizing is more daunting than fun for you, decide on something to work towards!

–       Challenge yourself. Your intentions to simplify are admirable and you owe it to yourself to do the very best. Ask yourself challenging questions about what you’re sorting, “Do you love it?,” “Do you use it?,” “Can you live without it?”  

–       Keep it simple. Sort into only a few categories, you’ll only confuse yourself if you try to get too specific. For example, if you’re sorting through kitchen utensils, consider your storage and create piles of frequent use, occasional use and seldom use (this pile you could potential purge and donate).

Keep it simple and STICK with it, you can do it!

 


Coach Approach

Coach Approach

Simplicity is the very first organizing company to send their entire team through a Coach Approach program!  We underwent an intensive and comprehensive 8-week coach training program that has added tremendous value to the services we offer our clients.  Simplicity strengthened our coaching skills through education and leadership by master trainers at Coach Approach.

Week 1-Betsy House

The International Coach Fedration’s website defines coaching as, “Partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”  The Coach Approach states that “Coaching is not advising, telling, training, showing, organizing, counseling or consulting.  Coaching refers to the bundling of specific, effective communication skills and to a creative and resourceful partnership.”

We entered into the first week with hesitation as to what we were about to embark on, but quickly realized how powerful this program was going to be both personally and professionally.  We practiced new coaching skills in small groups by role playing from a neutral space with no opinions or judgements using self-management skills.

Week 2-Anne Steppe

This week we were challenged to practice our Active Listening Skills.  We made the connection as to why it is powerful to take a brain-based approach to coaching.  During our practice sessions we worked on how to co-create relationships with our clients and how to listen “to” and how to listen “for” what our clients are saying.  We also worked on the skill of endorsing.

Week 3-Shyla Hasner

This week we worked on creating a coaching metaphor to provide us with a self-image that grounds and inspires us as coaches.  Developing our personal metaphor will help us to hold a set of personal intentions to maintain when coaching.

Week 4-Deb Fletcher

We began Week 4 with a clarification of our metaphor exercise.

We deepened our understanding of the “DO” of coaching by learning to listen for self-criticism, contradictions and what is left unsaid. We also added the concept of direct communication by adding the use of powerful questions.

Week 5-Jen Borda

Success (or success in failure) and seeing the value of our learning that leads to meaningful change. AEC – Awareness, Engagement, Completion.  It is important to use “curious accountability,” by checking back with clients on their solution and then brainstorming. We learned how to try to help the client shift their perspective from negative to positive and focusing on how the client brings value (and opportunity).

Week 6-Robin Leonard

In  week 6, we looked at the strategy piece of the coaching puzzle.  The three parts to this segment are Request, Challenge and Champion.  The request aspect is asking the client to complete an action with specific parameters.  The challenge aspect is a super power request.  The champion aspect  is when we are speaking to our client’s future capability.  Each of these components are important to the success of our clients because we are giving them ownership.

Week 7-Katie Puckett

This week we learned about accountability during a coaching session. According to The Coach Approach definition of terms: “Accountability describes the work of the client and coach to support client actions beyond simply identifying and choosing them. As partners, the client and coach agree to learn from the experience of agreeing to, attempting and/or completing these actions”. There are many kinds of accountability. Action (or inaction) is an opportunity for deeper learning coming from a supportive, curious, and neutral environment within the coaching partnership. Accountability should come from the client. Coaching helps the client create accountability within themselves.

Week 8-Betsy Blair

With the completion of 8 weeks of training in Coaching Essentials, in the words of Cam Gott, our instructor, “We are now organizers with coaching skills”.  It’s been a life-changing course.  As a Team, the skills we have learned taking this class will equip us to offer so much more to our clients who are looking to break-free from their stuff and live a more productive life.  Our clients call us for the organizing, but we hope they will stay for the coaching.

Coach Approach Training

 


Good Intentioned Resolutions

The beginning of each new year dawns with good intentions that are much easier to make than to keep. Holiday excesses are fresh in people’s minds. Couple that with a yearning to live more healthy and productive lives, and getting organized becomes tops on many people’s list of resolutions.

So what can you do to enhance your chances of success this year?

1. Be realistic: Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

2. Celebrate small accomplishments: Since “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

3. Ask for help: Because “many hands make light the work.”

Simplicity-New Year

The clutter, chaos and disorganization that you want to conquer wasn’t created overnight and won’t be banished overnight. Your goals should be realistic. Start by making a list of projects you want to tackle. What will be your definition of success? If you have a busy family and work responsibilities outside the home, your success might look very different from that of the retired, empty-nester. Prioritize the organization tasks and projects. Estimate how long each will take. Be sure you have the necessary tools and supplies to do a good job. Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing well. A household that hums is surely a worthy goal.

The hardest part of getting organized is simply getting started. The enormity of the project can sandbag you from the outset. Now that you’ve identified and prioritized your problem areas, try this simple trick. Spend ten minutes filling two trash bags – one with actual trash and one with items for donation. Set a timer and spend only the allotted 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, you’re through until the next day when the exercise is replayed. At the end of a week, deliver the donation bags to your preferred charity and congratulate yourself on the progress you’ve made. The good news is that success breeds success.

When getting organized becomes a family affair, the rate of progress increases exponentially. If everyone played a part in creating the clutter, it seems only fair that everyone should help with the de-cluttering. If your organizational dilemma is overwhelming, outside help makes sense. A professional can provide whatever level of support you desire. Maybe all you need is the road map and a bit of assistance with the start. Maybe you want regular sessions with your organizer to tackle specific projects. Or maybe you want to have the organizational “swat team” descend on your home and not leave until there’s “a place for everything and everything’s in its place.”

Just remember, your home is the center of your family’s universe. With a bit of time and attention, it can be the sanctuary you all crave. If you’ve resolved to really get organized, Simplicity would love to help.

In addition to our tried and true services, we offer a Year of Simplicity program. It incorporates the three steps outlined above. By committing to work on a specific project or problem area each month, you’re setting an achievable goal. Having scheduled a monthly block of time with your Simplicity team member, you’ve already taken that first step – the hardest one – toward an organized household. And finally, an experienced organizer will lighten your load enormously. Working side-by-side, you’ll learn the tricks of the trade so you can maintain the organization you’ve labored so hard to achieve. 


Simplicity for Young Adults

You’ve heard the phrase “Start ‘em young!” Well that definitely applies to organizing.  Growing up, did anyone help teach you how to create and maintain organizational systems? Maybe it was your mother who showed you her meticulous methods or a teacher who demonstrated how to be tidy. Whatever the source, it is ideal for the origins of organization to begin in childhood when individuals are thrust into new responsibility and routines.  Since organizing does not come naturally to everyone, many need to be taught these important life skills, especially young adults who are venturing off on their own.

Here are some basic pointers for those just starting to structure their organizational success as an adult:

  • Create a paper or electronic system: Stacks of paper or rows of emails can accumulate quickly.  It is important to establish a folder or file system for all of your documents.

Simplicity for Young Adults

 

  • Carve out time to de-clutter: Set aside a day per week, either after work or on a weekend to maintain your systems. Put away dishes or hang your clothes.  Sort your mail and file papers.  Donate, toss, shred, or recycle what you no longer need.   Update your weekly calendar.  Remember it is much easier to keep up than start over. Maintenance is key to organizational success.

ical

  • Make lists and use calendars: DO NOT RELY on your young brain to remember everything!  Use one calendar to record all of your appointments. Write down your to do lists and plan your week accordingly.

 

Simplicity for Young Adults

  •  REMEMBER: There isn’t one right way to be organized. Systems can change and be altered with time and necessity. What matters is that they work for you –bringing order, structure, and simplicity to your life.

Summer – a chance to turn procrastination into action

Customized Family Handbooks – an Invaluable Family Resource

I’m ready for summer! Looking forward to days of when our routine is gone and relax into an agenda that reveals itself anew each day.

Where the stress of carpools, parent/teach meetings, homework assignments, and task lists are gone and the freedom to just “enjoy the day” returns for a brief season.

Purple Martin & Co Purple MartinThe Purple Martin & Co.

During the summer I close The Purple Martin & Co. and take time to reflect. I think back on the clients I have had the opportunity to serve and take stock of all I have been able to learn from each of them.

My goal is always to re-open in August with new and refreshed ideas…to create more efficient strategies for my clients and to stay on top of the latest trends and technology enhancements.

I am fortunate enough to have been able to work with phenomenal and inspiring clients over the years, such as:

  • A mother of six
  • A young mom battling cancer
  • A widowed parent of young children
  • A young mom beginning to “parent” her aging mother
  • A retiree managing her mother’s dementia

Each client has a unique set of needs and circumstances, but at the core they all have one thing in common…The need to empower others to help them.

Why?

Well the most logical answer I always receive from clients is “so I can have a break”.

But the most important answer I know we are both thinking is…

“Because I may not be here one day and I need someone to know EVERYTHING that I know.”

In the business world, when we are assessing risk within an organizational structure we always look for what we call “Key Man Dependency”. This is when one person holds all the cards, has all the knowledge, and nobody else is trained in their “expertise”. The biggest risk with “Key Man Dependency” in business is if that employee were to decide to quit, all of the knowledge of that specific job would walk out the door and into the hands of the competition.

In the case of managing a family, if one person is managing all of the “day to day” tasks of running the household and has not communicated the details of his/her role to anyone else, the family is at risk of key man/woman dependency.

The biggest question I receive from every client I meet with is…

“Why can’t my iPhone (insert any form of technology here) stand in for me in an emergency?”

I always answer this question with the following question…

“If your spouse’s plane crashed today, and you were handed his iPhone, could you figure out everything you needed to know about his job? More importantly, could his phone tell you where to find his life insurance policy or who his power of attorney is?”

Then we turn the tables…

“If you were to die today, would your husband be able to take your iPhone and understand how to do your job?”

The answer to both questions is always – “No, I would be completely lost.”

The reason being that technology does not translate our intent to others. My iPhone cannot tell my husband what time my daughter eats lunch at school, what my son’s carpool schedule is for baseball, who he can call for my four year olds play dates.

My iPhone is excellent at recording contacts- but they are just that – names and addresses lacking the CONTEXT of how they touch our family’s life.

My iPhone can you you I have an allergist, but I can’t tell you that my son receives like saving peanut allergy treatment via an epi-pen that is stored in the upper left cabinet in our bathroom.

Only YOU can provide the details and intricacies of how you manage your household.

The second question I am asked most frequently during speaking engagements is…

Do I have to hire someone to have a family handbook?”

The answer is ABSOLUTELY not.

I encourage you to take this summer and create your own family handbook!

  1. Make a list of all your specific roles
  2. Describe both how and who you use to accomplish them (be detailed and include accurate contact information)
  3. Organize your information in a logical format that others can understand (use a simple three ring notebook and tabs to divide the information into logical “chunks”)
  4. Store your information in a safe place (I recommend having both a hard copy and electronic version)

Above all else, I like to remind clients that your family handbook remains useful only if the following criteria are followed:

  1. Others know the handbook exists and know its permanent location
  2. You and your family are familiar with the handbook contents and are comfortable retrieving information in a panic
  3. The criteria data remains updated and accurate

There is not right or wrong way to create a family handbook. The most important thing is that one exists and that others can retrieve the information easily and in an emergency.

The third most frequently asked question I receive is…

“My life is so complicated, how will I ever find the time to complete this?”

I encourage you to take this summer and turn procrastination into action.

Take a few minutes each day to chronicle the important intricacies of your family’s life. When you think your handbook is in a good place, put it through a test run.

Hand your notebook to a close friend or spouse and see if they can step into your shoes and help in a crisis based on what you have created. If your notebook needs tweaking, take the time to make the changes recommended by a friend.

I’ve seen the crisis first hand and while we don’t live for the “what ifs” in life, providing a safety net for those we love “just in case” is something we can’t afford NOT to do.

Be inspired to take the summer challenge of creating your own family handbook. My hope for you is that your family handbook will become as one client described…”like the fire extinguisher I keep under the kitchen sink…I hope I never have to use it for its intended purpose, but it sure does give me peace of mind knowing it is there.”

Lori Martin

 By Lori Martin of The Purple Martin & Co. 

The Purple Martin & Co.’s Facebook page


Entering Summer with Simplicity

Simplicity Equals Spareness
Simplicity Equals Elegance
Simplicity Equals Calm
Summer Sky
Spareness: You wouldn’t wear a wool coat or choose to eat a
heavy stew during hot weather, but summer is the perfect time to practice spareness with your things.
In less than an hour you can:
Purge the pantry of all the mysterious sauces, chutneys and mixes that you got for Christmas. If you haven’t used them yet- you won’t.
Edit your winter wardrobe as you shift summer outfits forward. If you didn’t wear the winter garment last year, it’s a safe bet you won’t wear it next year.
Toss every catalogue and all but the most current issue of your magazines. More will be in your mailbox soon and almost everything you are saving for reference can be found online (if you ever really want to find it).
Elegance: Treasured items need fewer things to keep them company. Their story fills the space nicely. Put treasures in honored places and enjoy telling their stories. Children’s art, family photos and random “sit-abouts” can all use some editing.
Calm: Streamline your calendar. The impromptu neighborhood get-together, family outing or quiet time with a book won’t happen if every waking minute is scripted. Make time so that spontaneity and serendipity can be savored. Consider these simple suggestions. They just might inspire you to make this your most organized and least chaotic summer ever!