The power of YET for students

I believe the power of YET for students is one of the most important words for them to meet their potential as learners.  It is a word that educators and parents should also be using on a regular basis as well!

One’s mindset determines how they behave, their outlook on life and attitude towards everything they do.  Mindset is a simple idea discovered by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck following years of research on achievement and success.  Her research found that brains and talent don’t bring success and sometimes even stand in the way of it.  On top of this, praising ones brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment and can actually even jeopardize them.  Where as teaching students about mindset and this simple idea can actually increase marks as well as their productivity.

Fixed v Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck’s research has found the following:

  • Fixed mindset – having a fixed mindset about yourself and your abilities means you think you are the way you are and that you can’t change anything.  Sometimes students with a fixed mindset believe that their talent alone can create success without putting in any effort which unfortunately is not true.
  • Growth mindset – means you believe your skills are not static and that you have the ability to change and learn.  This type of mindset can really assist one to succeed as this allows them to believe by working hard they can improve. With a growth mindset a student can know that whilst they may not be good at something it could either mean they haven’t learnt or practiced it YET.

At the end of the day all the tips and strategies given to students to assist them to study and improve their marks won’t work if they don’t have the right mindset in the first place – a growth mindset.

For further information about fixed v growth mindset you can click here to read another blog I have written about the importance of a growth mindset for students.

Use the word YET

Image of the word YET - The power of YET for students

By using the word YET it can really alter and improve a students’ motivation.  It can create the idea of learning over time.

So when they say “I can’t do this“, “I don’t have the skills needed” or “I’m not smart enough” by adding the word YET it can really change their motivation levels. With guidance and regular reminding and using the word YET it changes their fixed mindset statement they have made into a growth mindset one.

And it means that with your guidance they will continue on their learning trajectory and get there eventually. It puts their fixed mindset statement into a growth mindset context of learning overtime.

To begin the process of fostering a growth mindset, we need to catch ourselves when we are thinking with a fixed mindset and then revise those thinking patterns toward that of a growth mindset.  When we find ourselves thinking “I’m just not wired that way”, we need to make a mental note of the thought and revise our thinking patterns toward something along the lines of “I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ll keep trying to learn.”  Doing this will not only assist us in being more resilient, but it will also help to keep us more motivated.

So the next time you hear your child saying they CAN’T do something remember to add the word YET to the end of the sentence.  It is amazing how powerful this change in the way you acknowledge can make a difference to their beliefs about themselves and their abilities.  You might even like to give it a go yourself if you find yourself ever saying I CAN’T too.

For further assistance on mindset or other areas on how I can assist you and your child please do get in touch.

10 common decluttering excuses

Many people have different reasons why they don’t declutter.  In my experience, as an Organising Expert, keeping unnecessary items and clutter can in fact do more harm that good in most instances.  Do you find yourself making decluttering excuses?

Here are 10 common decluttering excuses people use to avoid starting or doing it:

  1. I might need it later – many people hold on to items just in case they might need it in the future.  In most instances you probably don’t!  I’m certainly not saying get rid of all these items but want you to give thought to them rather than holding onto many such items that usually are taking up valuable space.  Be prepared to release and let go of things no longer needed or useful. If you are struggling with letting something go then a suggested approach may be to make a future date in your diary and if you haven’t used the item in that time ie 6 or 12 months then it is time to move it on.
  2. It was expensive – you or someone you know might have spent quite a bit of money purchasing an item and dollar symbol - declutter excuse as it was expensiveyou don’t want to see it go to waste.  If the item is something you are not using, or are likely to in the future, then it is still being wasted and there is no point keeping it.  If you are really worried about the expense you can try and sell it and recoup some of the money.
  3. I don’t know where to start – this is very common and often one of the things all of my new clients discuss with me.  I usually recommend to start small rather than trying to do a whole room in one go – pick a shelf, drawer or cupboard and start there.  The last thing you want to do is to create more overwhelm for yourself by pulling everything out as then you really won’t know where to start!
  4. I don’t have time – We are all busy and I get that life can take over from time to time.  However this is usually more than not just an excuse as most people find time for the things that are important to them.  If it is something you want to do then you can clock with a cross - no time to declutter excusealways start small and do 5-15 mins at a time.  If you did this on a regular basis then you will still make progress!
  5. Someone gave it to me – This is another common reason as people are worried that because it was given to them feel like they are not being respectful to whoever gave it to them if they get rid of it.  Often people think they need to keep it just in case that person comes over and looks for it.  In reality this doesn’t happen very often or even if it does maybe hang on to it for a little while but then it is really yours to do what you want with.
  6. I don’t know how long to keep something – I understand this can be difficult for some items like paperwork, filing, receipts – the important thing here is to find out from someone who does know and then set a system in place to regularly review your materials and keep them in order.
  7. There are memories attached to it – the main point to highlight here is the memories will still be with you without keeping a particular item.  If an item is really important to you then it is more than likely something you would like to see regularly rather than having it stored, often incorrectly, in a box somewhere in your home.  The unfortunate thing is that when I work we clients we often discover these items and they are damaged more often than not as they have not been stored correctly,  You might like to read this blog in how to deal with sentimental clutter.
  8. I have plenty of space to keep everything –  so this might be true but just because you have space it doesn’t mean you need to fill it all up.  Ideally you should only be keeping things that really matter to you, what you use and need and not just keeping everything because you have the space.  It won’t matter if you actually have a spare shelf in your cupboard – don’t just fill it up for the sake of it.
  9. My children might want these some day – the reality is probably not!  Please don’t take this personally as they no doubt care for you but they really don’t want your stuff.  It is probably best to ask rather than assume and keep things for them.  If you are having a clean out and come across items, from their childhood or items that belong to them, I usually suggest putting them together and then inviting them over to go through and take what they would like to keep.  It can be hard but you will need to accept their decision if they don’t want many of the items.
  10. Thinking you can do it on your own – for some people this is true but for the majority having someone to assist can help and make you accountable at the same time. That person, whether it be a friend or a professional like me, is not emotionally attached to your things and therefore can help to be objective and allow you to make decisions. If you think you can do it on your own often for some reason you actually just never get around to it!

Now you have all the reasons in the world NOT to declutter.  And they are all great reasons (or so you think). Do you know that keeping unnecessary items around can cause more harm than good?  Let’s see if you have said any of these things to justify keeping clutter.  Just to let you know, if you have, you’re not alone.

Next step

If you find yourself using and of these excuses to declutter then why not just get in touch to have a brief chat and see how I might be able to assist you.  I promise I WON’T make you do anything you don’t want to do as if we work together you will make your own decisions.  In working with my client I just ask the questions and you actually come up with the answers all by yourself.  So what have you actually got to lose?

8 tips for parents to avoid homework battles

Whether you agree with homework or not it seems to be part of most school’s current programs.  So how do parents avoid homework battles?

Homework is generally set to give children the opportunity to:

teenage boy doing homework

  • practice and consolidate skills;
  • practice creative thinking or problem solving; and
  • carry out long term projects.

Completing homework should not be about acquiring new skills.

The one thing I hear from many parents is that homework battles are very common and that they can be very painful to deal with.

As I outlined in another recent BLOG – ‘Who’s responsibility is it to ensure homework is completed?” – it is the child’s.  It is also an arrangement they have with their teacher and school and this needs to be kept front of mind too.  Having said that I do agree that parents also still play a role in monitoring, supporting, guiding, teaching and ensuring that children complete their homework themselves.

8 tips to try and avoid homework battles include:

  1. Send clear messages about homework – including that it is an important part of school; you will give your child support if they need it and that you will not be doing their homework for them.
  2. Have a plan – this really is key for students of all ages in tackling their homework. Depending upon what it boy not enjoying doing homeworkis they need to do a plan can be detailed or just written down on a scrap piece of paper.  The plan should include a rough outline of what they need to do and a guide as to how much time they need to spend on each aspect.  Then it is useful to work out what subject to start with first – for some children it could be the easiest or for others they like to tackle the hardest.  Ask them what they would like to start with.  By having a plan they are more likely to make a start as well as to get their homework done.One important point for parents is not to assume they know how to do this and you may need to teach them how to put a basic plan together first then be their to support until they can do it by themselves.
  3. Breaking into chunks – sometimes it is the homework task itself that can be overwhelming so it is useful to assist your child to know how to break tasks down into chunks that can be dealt with during the same homework session or on different days.  It is common to assume they have been taught how to do this and therefore we often just expect them to be able to know how to do this when the reality is they don’t necessarily understand.  If this is the case it is useful to work with them and explain how.
  4. Develop set homework times/routines – work with your child to develop times when they can get their homework done around their other activities.  Having set times tends to work for younger children where as older children might like more flexibility around taking responsibility for when to complete theirs.  One thing to be aware of is to determine the best times around children’s energy levels.  Often the best time can be after they get home from school and have had something to eat – usually within 30 minutes to an hour at most.
  5. Find the best place for them – have a discussion with your child, particularly older children, as to where they feel they work best and then help them to create the right space and environment ie does it need to be quiet, do they want to have music playing or maybe they work best in amongst it all in the kitchen space?  Be aware that they might also like different spaces depending upon what homework it is they are doing at the time.  I recently found out, by asking, that one of my students hated the desk space she worked in as she found it really dark so she avoided using it.  After speaking to her parents and with a coat of paint and more lighting she actually was happy to start working in there again.
  6. Minimise distractions – I could write a whole BLOG on this alone however I would like to highlight that girl using iphone when she should be doing homeworkparents can help children become aware of distractions and work with them to come up with the best solution that will work ie help them to turn notifications from social media off on devices they are working on or remove phones to another room whilst they are working.  Where possible get them to come up with the decisions on what to do rather than dictate them as they are more likely to stick to them then too.
  7. Help them to get started – often this can be the hardest part.  As we know many children like to procrastinate and never seem to have any trouble finding other things to do.  One way to help get them started is to set a time for 20 minutes and then allow them a 5 minute break before setting again.  Sometimes this is enough to anchor them to their desk to complete homework.  For some children using incentives can also assist them to get their homework done ie give them something they look forward to doing as soon as they finish homework.
  8. Make sure they have all the supplies – often this can be an issue as children complain they don’t havewhat they need.  Therefore parents can assist to make sure they have a variety of supplies at hand and close by to where the children complete their homework so there really are no excuses.  It might even be worth checking in with them from time to time on upcoming homework they need to complete if you need to make any specific purchases like poster paper or other supplies.

Homework battles can be very draining on everyone involved so the more planning and educating you can do to assist your children the easier they should become. Why not give some of these tips a go to see if you can avoid homework battles in your home making it much better for everyone!

If you would like to discuss the regular challenges you have or to know more about how I can assist you and your family please get in touch.

Do you need Amanda Monday’s to get organised?

You might well be a bit puzzled by this heading – “Do you need Amanda Monday’s to get organised?”  Well the story behind this relates to an email I recently received from a client:

“Just thought I’d let you know I’ve made a recurring appointment in my diary from 1-4 on MondayImage of Amanda to go with Amanda Monday's to get organised called “Amanda Mondays”. You showed me how much could be achieved in 3 hours and how good it then felt for the rest of the week. It won’t always work out but the plan is for that time to be spent on getting things – house, paperwork, business plans etc – in a deeper sense of order not just doing the day to day responding to stuff.

I like the way you approach both the organising and me – it feels very much like you are helping me to get what I want done but find very hard to do myself. You don’t impose order, you work with me to discover it. That’s very cool.”

I was chuffed to be reminded of the impact I have on people’s lives.   I am privileged and honoured that my clients welcome me to work with them and take steps to make a difference to their lives.  Not only do we deal with the physical clutter but in turn often the mental side of clutter at the same time.  This  is really important and often an aspect that people don’t give too much thought to.

So what does Amanda Monday’s to get organised really mean?

You are still probably wondering why I am telling you all of this?  Just like my client the importance of having “Amanda Monday’s to get organised” is something we all actually need.

The first step in the process is naturally to get organised and feel back in control of your stuff whether it be a room, house, office, paperwork, filing and the list goes on.

The next step in the process is to then to stay and maintain being organised.   I often say this can be the hardest step in the process but needs to become a regular habit in people’s lives and not just something they do occasionally.

That is why the point of having “Amanda Monday’s” for this particular client resonated with me.  It is showing a demonstrated need to find the time to keep on top of the maintenance required to stay organised.  By no means does it need to be a full block of time, as this client has highlighted, but it does need to be regular blocks of time and needs to suit a person’s own needs and lifestyle.  It has to be able to work for them or it won’t happen!

Maintenance is the key image - organising and decluttering - and helps with Amanda Monday's to get organisedYou might like to find out more on the maintenance aspect of getting organised so here is a link to a recent blog “Maintenance is the key to being organised”

When I work with my clients I focus on not only the organisation side but providing them with tips and strategies as we are working so they can keep it organised an maintain it themselves going forward.  There is no one size fits all solution and each solution is tailored to my client’s individual needs and what is likely to work for them.

I realise that life can get in the way sometimes but the main thing is to be aware of this and then still find time around this so as not to let disorganisation become overwhelming again.

So what now?

I regularly check in with my clients to see how they are travelling and in particular to see if the strategies we have put in place need tweaking or altering.  I plan to keep in touch with this client who is having “Amanda Monday’s to get organised” to see how this might or might not be working for her going forward.  The good news is she recognises she needs to be disciplined to do this and if it works for her then great!

If you are struggling, feeling overwhelmed in your home or business, then please get in touch and discuss the difference getting organised and then maintaining that can make to your life too.

 

Who’s responsibility is it to ensure homework is completed?

So just who’s responsibility is it to ensure homework is completed?  This is an interesting question and one that many people, including educators, will tell you that the answer should be that of the student.  The parent’s role should be one of support and guidance if required (if required being the key words – naturally it will be age dependant to a degree too)!

In my work with both upper primary and secondary students this is often an area of discussion I have with both students and parents.  These days many schools have web based school management platforms that allow both students and parents so see what homework and assignments students need to complete.  I have even heard of some schools that actually emailimage of daughter at a desk being watched by her mum at the door the parents the homework that students need to do.  This is where I believe some of the problems around who’s responsibility to ensure homework is completed stem from.

Whilst the communication is a great thing, parents tend to then take on the responsibility as we fear that our children will fall behind, won’t succeed or get the most out of life if they don’t do their homework.  Whilst these are real fears this is where parents become unstuck as a result of knowing what needs to be done and when it is due they often start to nag and put pressure on children to get homework done.  The unfortunate part is that children, particular those in early teen years, don’t react well to this and it can have a negative impact where they will often do the exact opposite of what you are trying to get them to do.

Factors to consider

Consider these 4 important factors as to why the responsibility to ensure homework is completed should be that of the students:

  • key life skills development – research shows that doing homework can help children develop “self directed learning skills” like initiative, independence and confidence.  When completing homework it is important that students ensure they understand what it is they are to do, how much time they should allocate for completing it and then using their time wisely to do so.  These are all great skills for students to learn that will continue to assist them throughout their education and lives.
  • developing independence and feeling in control – as children grow in age and become teenagers it is only natural for them to want to be able to make their own decisions including when to do their homework.  They need to feel like they are in control, can do things by themselves and work to their own timetable.  This can be sometimes hard for parents to deal with though it is important to know when to take a step back rather than following up with your child too often.  I usually recommend to parents to continue to take an interest, be supportive and let your child know you are available to assist if required.
  • being responsible for their own actions – this is another important life skill for children to develop.   They need to learn for themselves, be conscious of making their own decisions and following their own actions.  It is then up to them to deal with any consequences as a result of their actions or inaction as it may be.  For instance if they leave their homework at home I tell parents not to go running it up to the school or if your child doesn’t complete something and gets a detention then that is something they need to do and learn.   If they don’t experience the consequences of their work, whether that means a good grade or a failing one, they are less likely to change the behaviour that’s been making things difficult in the first place.  It can sound harsh but children usually will learn more as a result of dealing with the consequences than if they have everything solved and smoothed over.
  • developing problem solving skills – ideally as parents we’d love our children to be able to solve their own problems, with support that is age appropriate as required.   In order for them to develop these skills parents need to move away from being direction givers all the time.  It is sometimes easier for parents to always step in and solve problems by telling our children what they need to do, where they need to be and what they need to have with them.  Unfortunately though this is only teaching them to follow directions and not being responsible themselves.  Questions to ask instead are what do you need to do; where do you need to be and what do you need?  Let them tell you!  In order to develop good time management skills, which are essential for completing homework and study, it is important to let them both problem solve an to make their own decisions.

image of teenage boy studying or completing homeworkIn essence as a parent if you take on the responsibility for a child’s homework it often doesn’t always allow them the ability to develop these core life skills.  So do you think you can make any necessary changes and support your child to do the same?  It will take away some of the battles you may be having over homework too.

For tips on how to focus and get homework done you might like to read this BLOG for some ideas – click here

If you or your child need any further support please don’t hesitate to get in touch as I can work with them and or you 1:1 – amanda@organisingstudents.com.au or 0409 967 166.

Please note that this blog has been written in a general context and I appreciate that many students may still struggle with what I have suggested above as there are often many different factors at play.  Therefore it is important perhaps for these students that these factors be considered and the necessary support provided to them as required.

Organising your inbox – Is your in box out of control?

Everyday we are surrounded by clutter in some form at home or at work.  One of the big ones for many people is their email inbox.  Are you good at organising your inbox?   For many people this can be hard to achieve particular when they have multiple inboxes to manage so the issue of clutter can be magnified somewhat.  Does this sound like at all like you?image of on email inbox page

Several of my own friends have thousands of emails in the inbox and when they are looking for something it can waste so much time and be very unproductive.  Using your inbox as a pseudo filing system does not really work.  There are certainly better ways to use one’s time than scrolling through pages and pages of emails to find something you need!

Steps to organising your inbox

Here are 6 steps your can take to tame your out of control inbox and save yourself time in the long run:

  1. The first step will be to clean out your inbox – to do this I suggest you create a few folders in the first instance – usually by year is the best place to start – 2017, 2016, 2015 …..  If your emails are actually more recent then you might like to name folders that are relevant to you and your needs.  Afterall you are the one who needs to be able to find them easily.
  2. Once you have created these folders then move all your emails from these years into their relevant folder.  If this step is creating angst for you don’t worry as you are just moving them and not deleting anything at this stage.
  3. The next step is to take control from here on in of what arrives in your inbox.  All those emails we have put into yearly folders can be dealt with later when you have time.  Even consider this that if you don’t find yourself looking for anything over a period of time you may also want to just delete them.  The important point here is to make sure you have a process moving forward and that you are not adding to the backlog.
  4. For any new emails that arrive in your inbox from here on in you need to make decisions on what to do with them and not just leave them to pile up again.  Questions to ask yourself are:
    • Does this email require me to action it?  If so either you can deal with it there and then or add it to your to do list for later.
    • Is this something I might need to refer to later?  By this it might be useful information that you might need at a later stage ie tickets to an event, travel ideas, financial or tax information etc.  My suggestion for these type of emails is that you create folders within your email that make sense to you and allow you to easily find your these materials at a later time.  Using the examples above the folders you might like to create are ‘My ticket information’; ‘My travel details’ and ‘Financial information’ respectively.
    • Is this something that is trash and can be deleted?  If necessary unsubscribe or just delete the email.  Be decisive in that if it’s not relevant delete it!
    • Do I actually even want this in the first place?  Over time we tend to subscribe to many different newsletters, product updates or email updates and some of these are probably no longer relevant or needed.  If this is the case I suggest that from here on in as you receive one of these emails that you go to the bottom of the email and hit ‘unsubscribe’ (Sometimes this button can be hard to find but keep looking).  Another way of doing this is to create a folder called ‘subscriptions’ or something and move all the emails of this nature into that folder for say a month.  Make a diary not for a month’s time and go back and see how many you have and then to decide which of those are of value and which aren’t and then hit unsubscribe.
  5. If you now have time and want to go back through those emails we moved into yearly folders then go for it.  However the most important thing you can do moving forward is to ensure you keep on top of any new emails that arrive in your inbox and follow the steps outlined above so that it doesn’t get unwieldly again.
  6. If you are someone who has multiple inboxes then you might like to follow the same steps above for each inbox that you have.

There are many other ways to manage your inboxes with setting spam filters, using junk folders and also setting email rules.  If this might be something you’d like to do then I suggest you check them out in the email system that you use.

Good luck and here’s to no longer spending ages trying to find an email again! Remember your inbox is there to serve you and not the other way around.

If you are still unsure of how to take control of your inbox or maybe you have issues with your electronic files as well then please do get in touch as this is something I can assist you with.

6 homework tips – how to focus and get homework done

Parents often think to themselves why don’t they just do their homework and get it out of the way – for some students it isn’t that easy.  Sometimes getting started can be the hard part.

Here are 6 homework tips that will assist students to stay focused and assist them to get their homework done:Image of a student working at her desk - get homework tips to get it done

  • Start homework sooner than later – students tend to waste time from 3-6pm most days.  To be more productive it is useful to start homework within 1 hour of finishing school where possible.  They are still alert at this time, particularly after having a good snack too.  This is much easier to do it or at least make a start than having to sit down and start after dinner.  This might not always be possible with after school activities and sport but worth putting into place on days when it can be.
  • Have a plan – having a plan means students are more likely to take action, know what they need to do and make a start.  It’s important that the plan is manageable and actionable.  It doesn’t have to be very detailed and can just be written down on a scrap piece of paper or even a post it note as to what they’d like to achieve today and allocate an estimated time they think it will take.  Through the action of breaking down activities into smaller time segments students develop a clearer sense of how to prioritise, focus, initiate, transition and complete their daily responsibilities.
  • Have a reward or treat in mind – for some students this can really motivate them to get their homework done.  One way is for students to challenge themselves to do their homework before a certain time.   Another is to just work and get it done (without rushing through and making sure it is their best work).  Following the completion of homework they then get time to do something they like – ie catch up with friends, play video games, spend time on social media.
  • Eliminate distractions – students, like most of us, do better if they only focus on one thing at a time.  Many students though when doing homework are constantly interrupted and distracted often by their phones, device they might be using and social media.  It is best if students can recognise that this happens and remove the distractions where possible or otherwise seek assistance from parents to assist them.  If students do get distracted it can take quite a bit of effort to get back to where they were with their focus and attention and therefore it increases the time it takes to complete homework.  Also a students learning is not going to be as great in terms of what they remember if they keep getting distracted.
  • Use a timer – sometimes students can struggle to get started and using a timer can help.  One technique that often assists students is to work for 20 minutes and then have a on 5 minute break.  I often refer to this as the 20 minute/5 minute techninque and others may know it as the Pomodoro technique.  Some students may need to continue using this technique and others may just need it to get started.  Another option is to get them to challenge themselves to compete their homework before the timer goes off – naturally they have planned out first before they started as to how long a piece of work should take.
  • Get enough sleep – this is such an important thing for students and their brain needs it.  This can be challenging as many students, particularly teens don’t recognise they actually need this and that is good for them.  They should try to set themselves a ‘bed time’ and follow a regular routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.  By getting enough sleep students are more likely to cope with all their academic and extra curricula activities.

By following all or some of these tips students are more likely to take control of their homework rather than it taking control of them and leading to an increase in stress and anxiety.

For further assistance in assisting you and your child with their studies, their organisation or time management (or lack of these skills) please get in touch.  

There are answers!

Everyone needs a plan to get organised

What is it that you keep putting off?

Is it the pile of paper clutter in your study or the spare room which has become a junk room?

Or is it that pile of photos you still need to sort and go through?

Please don’t put your life on hold and continue to worry about as it can be both physically and mentally taking valuable time – put a plan in place to deal with it!

IMAGE OF A ROAD WITH A START AND AND ARROW - suggesting everyone needs a planWhy everyone needs a plan

Whatever it is that you keep putting off might seem just too hard to deal with but it is worth having a think about what you want to achieve and then putting a plan in place to get it done.  You don’t have to do it all in one go and often taking the small step approach is the best way in achieving a plan to organise something.  You might even like to seek the support of someone to assist you – this could be a friend, family member or even an organiser like myself.  Sometimes just having another pair of hands can make it seem so much easier too.

The hardest thing for most people is often the overwhelm they feel and not knowing where to start. This is where having a plan comes into play – you might like to note it down or you can have it in your head but having one is the first step.  The plan should include the overall goal that you would like to achieve so:

  • if it is clearing the paper clutter all over the house then note that down or
  • if it is sorting out the spare room the goal might be to have the room cleared so it can be used for that hobby you never get to do or for those visitors you’d like to have stay.

Having a plan and vision will help you to keep a focus on what you are trying to achieve.

Allocating time for the plan

The next step is in your plan is allocating some time to begin ie today I will spend 30 minutes to an hour and will keep allocating similar blocks of time on a regular basis.  It might only be 15 minutes a day and that too is okay.  You need to find the amount of time that is sustainable and achievable for you.

I also recommend having steps to a plan so that it can assist with the overwhelm.  Continuing with the same examples:

  • for paper clutter it might be to clean out the filing cabinet first so you have somewhere to put the sorted paper – one drawer or 5 files a time then sorting through one pile at a time after that before filing it away.
  • for the spare room it might be to start with one box or one section and keep working through the room like that.

Taking steps

In my experience having a plan in place will see you are more likely to achieve your goals than not having any plan at all. If it starts to get hard then the plan is also there to remind you of your vision and why you are doing what you are. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting yourself organised will take time and effort and won’t always be easy – take small steps to achieving your overall goal. Believe me when I say it will be worth it in the end and you no longer have that worry of the physical or mental clutter pulling at you. You can stand back and be proud you have done something about it and can get on with enjoying life!

So are you going to put a plan in place?  What have you got to lose – go on give it a go!

If you would like some to make changes in your life and think you really might need some help then please just get in touch.

Future of education in Australia

image of an old school house and statement of school system designed in 1893 and how the future of education needs to changeWhat is the future of education in Australia?  Towards the end of 2016 I had the opportunity to see the educational film – Most Likely to Succeed by Greg Whitely.  This film has in recent times created quite a lot of interest and discussion on the future of education in America, Australia and around the world.

Personally I believe it to be very thought provoking in that it makes sense that one of the main themes of this film suggests that a review of our education system is needed considering the last major change was way back in the Industrial Revolution in 1893! Don’t you think it is hard to fathom that students today are still learning what was put in place over a century ago?

Shortcomings of the current system

Some of the key areas highlighted as shortcomings of current school models were:

  • Technology, the economy, and our understanding of children and learning have all evolved far more than our schools, and it’s time for that to change.
  • How it is becoming harder to find jobs at the end of our education system and how the shift în technology is partly to blame where many jobs have or will cease to exist. Entry level jobs used to be plentiful and college was an affordable path to a fulfilling career.
  • The current system appears to reflect that of a factory culture particularly with the ongoing use of bells and timetables.
  • Standardised testing is out of date – the goal of the current curriculum system is to pass tests whether students are interested or not – it doesn’t teach students about learning, preparing and succeeding later in life.

Key messages

For me the key takeaways were:

  • An education system needs to keep students interested and engaged.
  • We need to be looking at what technological skills we will need in the future.
  • Students need to be excited about a particular topic or subject and then they are more likely to be interested to learn and remember the information.
  • When students study they should have a choice how they do it and what works for them – they shouldn’t have to do it a certain way as they are all different.
  • The learning way suggested was a focus more on student centred learning and what they are interested in as opposed to saying they must learn a particular subject.
  • Students are more likely to gain a real sense of purpose which is suggested with a new education model.
  • The idea is that students learn best by doing, and what they do should be complex, challenging, self-directed (with support), and purposeful.
  • It can be really powerful for students to make something during their learning that wasn’t there before or that is new.
  • A problem/project-based learning approach that features flexibility and autonomy for both teachers and students, will provide students with skills and mindsets that are more valuable and more effective than are typically fostered in schools today.
  • No situation in real life is similar to how one takes a test!  So why is the education system using this?  We grind out learning in our system and students memorise things that they then forget a short time later.
  • It’s a big change for parents to get their heads around though they need to remember that education is and should be different to what they experienced.

Image of school children

A must see

This film is really a must see for anyone with an interest in educations place in society today and our children’s futures.  If you get the opportunity I encourage you to take a look for yourself and see what you think!

For a preview of the film click here

The film suggests that teachers, education leaders and policy makers must look at creating new visions of what schools are and what they do.  A move towards it being more specialised and more personalised for students can only be a step in the right direction!

So what do you think?  What do you think the future of education in Australia should be?  Please get in touch and let me know.

Decluttering – What happens to my clients stuff?

When I work with clients on decluttering and getting organised, the outcome is that there are usually many excess items they no longer require or want in their spaces.

I regularly get asked by people what do you do or they do with the stuff they no longer want?  Keep reading below for the answers to this common decluttering question.

Decluttering – items of value – selling is an option

For items with a value I usually discuss with my client whether it is worth the time, effort and sometimes money, in trying to sell something.  For some items it definitely can be and depending upon what they are I usually can recommend places, websites or people to get in touch with to assist.

image of antique dealer to get rid of items from declutteringSome of the sources my clients have used to sell items include:

  • antique and second hand dealers
  • gumtree
  • ebay
  • other specialised websites for specific items

 

Homes for stuff – charities

Unfortunately often there can be quite a bit of rubbish when sorting through stuff but where possible I usually help my clients to identify things that can possibly recycled rather than just going to landfill.

As a an extra service to my clients, on the day of service, I usually take away items that they no longer require other than rubbish.  As part of this process we usually discuss if they have a preference for where things should be donated.  Nine times out of ten the clients are just happy for it to be removed and are just pleased to see that it will be given to someone else, usually in need, for them to use.

Over the years I have provided many items to various charities including:

Other homes for stuff

Other uses or places for items where I have given bits and pieces over the years have included:

  • Metal coat hangers in good condition being returned to the local dry cleaners for re use.picture of a metal coathanger
  • Blankets and towels delivered to the lost dogs home or even pet shops.
  • Cardboard is usually put into the recycling or taken to the transfer station for the same purpose.
  • Many transfer stations also take other items for recycling like tv’s, computers, printers, cables, books, paper etc.  You need to check our local transfer station to see what they take at no charge.
  • Often things like dress ups, toys, games and books in good condition have been donated to local schools or kindergartens.
  • image of old bicycleOld bicycles can often be reused and repurposed and are taken and then fixed up by many local charities.
  • Gumtree or Zilch have been another valuable sources to get rid of unwanted items that can still serve a purpose for someone else.  For many of my clients who list items for free they are usually snapped up very quickly.

 

Do you have any other sources or places where you like to recycle or donate items?  I am only more than happy to include them on my donation list for the future too. 

If you’d like assistance to undertake some decluttering of your own and get more organised then please get in touch – or call me on 0409 967 166.