Thursday, 20 June 2013

10 Easy Steps to get Organised - for Home and Office

Today we have the lovely Alison (great name by the way!) from The Thrifty Issue join us and share her 10 Easy Steps to get Organised in the Home and Office.

Don’t pay hundreds of dollars on time management courses, or thousands to hire a professional consultant to get you organised.  Here are 10 easy and free steps to guide you on the path of organisation.   

There are no blitzes, huge clean-outs or expensive diary systems.  Just simple tips.   

1.      Distractions 

Are you surgically attached to your mobile phone?  Perhaps the TV is turned on, and stays on for the entire day?  Is your email and Facebook buzzing you every time someone makes an update?   

Set aside specific time for replying to emails, Facebook and internet browsing.  If you are not specifically watching a TVshow, turn it off.  All distractions should be turned off, including the notification settings on your mobile. 

2.     Allow Some Fat 

Need more hours in the day?  Find you’re running from one event to another.  You have meetings backed up one after the other and just … can’t … stop.   

Try allowing some fat.  When a meeting is scheduled for 9am to 10am … then put it in your calendar for 8:30am to 10:30am.  This means nobody else can steal that time from you.  Allow for travel time, and always add 30 minutes either side of your meeting. 

Use that “fat” time productively.  Debrief yourself, do any last-minute preparations, update your calendar or to-do list with action items.  Delegate or share what you can.  Action any urgent emails before your next appointment, but don’t get too involved. 

3.    Be On Time 

Are you notoriously late for everything?  You’re madly rushing around all the time and never have time to get anything done?   

Steps 1 and 2 will help you be on time.  Another trick is to get ready super early.  We also set a timer to go off 5 minutes before we need to walk out the door.  If there is spare time after we’re completely ready, that’s when we can drink coffee, watch TV, catch-up on Facebook etc.  Try and remember “Work then Play”. 
4.     Procrastinate 

Procrastination is one sure-fire way to get distracted and fall behind.  Remember “Work then Play”.  Schedule the toughest or least desirable job first thing!  This will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  My husband mows the lawn first thing Saturday morning, then we can enjoy the fruits of his labour all weekend.  Particularly when we hear everyone in the street mowing late Sunday afternoon! 

5.    Quick Check
Do a quick scan of your desk or the room before you walk out.  Is there something you can pick up and put away?  Pick one 2 minute task to do before you head home after a hard day’s work (i.e. wash your coffee mug, tidy your papers, empty your bin).  Make sure it is something quick, you don’t want to get caught up with distractions.

6.     Put Away, Not Down 

Don’t put things down, put them away.  Nothing further said. 

7.     Notepads 

Avoid complicated systems.  One notebook divided into “To Do Today” and “Notes” should do the trick.  Keep it with you and whenever an idea pops into your head, don’t distract yourself from your current task by deviating. 

Write your idea down under “Notes” to be done later.  You can use your calendar/notes phone app for this as well.

8.     Review and Re-write 

Pick your time: Either go to bed 10 minutes early every night with your notepad, or do it first thing in the morning.  Review the days activities and tick off your completed items.  Anything not completed, re-schedule for the following day.  Keep it simple.   

I also have a “Reminder” note stuck on the front of my notepad.  It reminds me to consider… “chores, home projects, me, kids, food, work, family and friends”.  I don’t try and do all these things in one day, but it makes me consider the big picture.

9.     Learn to say no 

If your list is becoming too long or your calendar too cramped, learn to prioritise and say “no”.  If you can’t say no, then defer those items to a time when you’re not so stretched.  Ask the other party for a raincheck.   

10.   Reward Yourself 

When going through your “to-do” list, give yourself a pat on the back each day for everything you have achieved, whether that be completing a task, turning up on time, saying “no”, or just being able to have 10 minutes to yourself at the end of the day. 

We’ve provided you with a free printable summary page to stick on the front of your notepad or at your office desk.  Print it here and refer to it regularly and refresh your memory.  

Hi, I’m Alison and I created The Thrifty Issue because I enjoy sharing ideas and creating things with my family and friends, on a budget. The Thrifty Issue is a place to visit for stylish, funky and fun ideas on saving time, money and stress. A place to meet, greet and explore come and join us here.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Product Review: BISSELL Air RAM Cord Free Vacuum

Now I'll admit, I don't love vacuuming, but I do love having a clean and organised home. So when I was given the chance to try out and review the newest vacuum cleaner on the block - the BISSELL AirRam - I didn't need to be asked twice!
This amazing vacuum boasts a whole range of innovative and unique features (no bag, no cord and super light) that promise to make this chore a breeze.
The first thing that I noticed when I took it out of the box, was just how light and compact it truly is. So light in fact, that Mr B (at 18 months) has been trying to whizz this around the house pretending to vacuum - well better to train them early I say :-)
The unit only weighs just over 3 kilos, so to me having this vacuum is just as convenient as the good old dustbuster to whip out at the smallest of spills and accidents - and trust me with an 18 month old, there are plenty of those in our house!!
One of the biggest ticks for me personally, is that there is no cord. Hallelujah for finally introducing a cord free vacuum that actually works I say! How much time do you waste plugging in that vacuum from room, to room trying to make that cord go as far as you can? By being cordless, it really does make the job a heck of a lot quicker and easier.
You simply charge up the unit and its' high powered battery cell gives you up to 40 minutes of vacuum time - plenty of time to do the whole house and still have charge left for next time. Just make sure you charge up the unit before use, and you are good to go! This little unit also uses 90% less power than a conventional vacuum - that has to be good come power bill time right?!
This is a bagless vacuum and the technology collects dirt and debris in small bales within the unit, making it super easy to dispose of waste. This technology still has he same dirt capacity as a regular bag less vacuum, no compromises here.
It is all very well having a pretty little compact unit, but how did it perform?
Well we have a doggy in our house (Miss Georgie who is a Beaglier). She is an outside dog, but she sleeps inside our laundry of a night. For the few hours she is inside the house before bed each night, it is amazing just how much hair she seems to shed.
The white hair + our charcoal carpet = darn good vacuum cleaner needed.
For such a small and compact unit, this thing had so much more grunt than I expected. I was actually a bit sceptical when looking at its size, that it just wouldn't cut the mustard when it came to our carpets and the dog hair, but it was quite the opposite. Not only was the dog hair quickly and easily removed, but the carpets looked brilliant after I finished. The slim design and low profile vacuum head, meant that I could get in to more places than I normally would with our regular unit.
At the end of my vacuum session, I still didn't love this chore - but you know what - it certainly was easier and quicker than regular vacuuming! Hate vacuuming? Then you may just hate it a little less with this vacuum, worth trying out in stores to see what you think...
The BISSELL AirRam is available from major electrical retailers such as Harvey Horman and Good Guys and has a RRP $399.
NB: I was provided a vacuum cleaner from BISSELL to review. All opinions expressed in this blog post are solely mine.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Ginger & Carrot Soup Recipe

When the weather turns cold, my weekday lunches are all about soup, soup and even more soup! So much nutrition in one little bowl, and it helps that Mr B loves it too. He has just learnt to dunk his bread in the soup - very cute, but very messy!
This amazing recipe is from the lovely Amy at Coconut Health & Healing and is super easy, yummy and packaged with so much goodness. Serve up with some warm crusty bread (lashings of butter optional) and it is a lunch made in heaven.
Image Source

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 1kg of carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/3 cups plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper
What to do:
  1. Combine the coconut oil and onion in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 10 minutes, until just starting to caramelize.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. Stir in the carrots, sweet potato, and the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots and sweet potato are very tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over high heat, lightly toast the pine nuts. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until very smooth (or puree in a regular blender in batches). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of the yogurt mixture and some pine nuts.
Thanks for the amazing recipe Amy! Don't forget that we have our giveaway on right now thanks to Coconut Health & Healing, pop over here to enter.
What is your favourite Winter soup?

Friday, 7 June 2013

Coconut Oil Capsules Giveaway

Winter blues be gone! With these amazing Coconut Oil capsules, one lucky reader is definitely going to be looking and feeling a whole lot better during these chilly months.

If you missed hearing about this amazing product, you can catch up by reading this post here.
A BIG thank you for Amy at Coconut Health & Healing for the opportunity to run this fabulous little giveaway. Entry is via Rafflecopter (who will hopefully cooperate fully just this once!) and the T&C's are listed below.
Good luck everyone....
a Rafflecopter giveaway

- The giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is open to Australian residents only
- The announcement of the lucky winner will be made right here on the Utterly Organised blog
- The lucky winner will have 5 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
- Failure to claim prize within designated period will result in another winner being drawn
- Entrants must like the Utterly Organised and Coconut Health & Healing Facebook Pages
- Any questions on the competition can be directed to

Monday, 3 June 2013

Beating the Winter Blues & Bugs with Coconut Oil

I don't know about you, but this Winter I am absolutely determined to get through without a nasty bout of the flu or getting run down. So I am watching what I eat (everything in moderation, right?!), trying to be good with my exercise and looking for ways to feel and look better.
Since being introduced to Coconut Oil earlier this year, I have been readily using this amazing ingredient in recipes, as an oil for cooking and in my smoothies. However I just cannot handle a spoonful of this stuff straight up, no matter how wonderful I know it is for me!
So I was absolutely ecstatic when I saw the new product from Coconut Health & Healing - Coconut Oil Capsules - genius!!
Now you can get all of the nutrients of the coconut oil, but in a convenient and easy to swallow format - gotta love that!
Some of the amazing benefits of taking this wonder oil include:
  • Weight Loss (yes please!!!)
  • Reducing Bad Cholesterol (Perfect for my hubby who suffers very high levels)
  • Increasing good cholesterol
  • Treating hair loss
  • Improving metabolism
  • Keeping skin looking radiant (definitely needed in winter)
  • Treating problems with digestion
Sounds too good to be true doesn't it?! But the results speak for themselves and at only $25.95 (including P&H), I am definitely going to be giving these a try this Winter.
The good news is that one of you will also be trying these too - for free!! The lovely Amy from Coconut Health & Healing is offering up this amazing product for one lucky reader. The giveaway will start this week on the blog - so stay tuned!
To order or for more information, pop over and visit Coconut Health & Healing here. If you are yet to discover Amy's blog or Facebook Page, it is full of inspirational recipes, lifestyle and wellness advice. Definitely one to bookmark in your Internet favs.

Are you a fan of Coconut Oil? Love to hear what you make or do at your place with it.
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