October, 2010

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Thursday Recycle and Reuse: Batteries

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
ThuRs Recycle and Reuse

ThuRs Recycle and Reuse

A recent email from Neil L. Drobny of the Waste Not Center prompted this post. I am summarizing the information found by following Neil’s links.

Recycling of rechargeable batteries is now a fairly straightforward process.

Rechargeable battery types are: Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb). Rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, camcorders and remote control toys.

You can take these types of batteries to any of the participating retailers. In the U.S.:

  • Alltel, Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Black & Decker, Cingular Wireless, The Home Depot, Milwaukee Electric Tool, Orchard Supply, Porter Cable Service Center, RadioShack, Remington Product Company, Sears, Staples, Target, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart.

The battery manufacturers have funded this joint recycling initiative. Find the center nearest you that will take rechargeables here!

Non-rechargeable batteries (typically “dry cell or alkaline batteries”) still don’t have a recycler and general ly just must be disposed in the trash. Per Neil, “If you are interested in ordering a battery recycling kit, check out the three sites listed below:

The least expensive option is the iRecycle Kit 5. This is a battery and handheld electronics recycling kit for household that includes UN approved collection box, pre-paid shipping and pre-paid recycling.

Materials accepted include all types of dry-cell batteries including AA, AAA, C, D, power tool, laptop, cell phone, camera batteries and others; plus all handheld electronics such cell phones, iPods, and PDAs.

The cardboard container holds approx. six month’s to one year’s worth of batteries for an average household (5 lb. capacity) and is for Continental U.S. use only.  Cost: $24.95

Is that more information than you ever wanted to know about battery recycling? Me, Too. Now I have to actually dispose of batteries responsibly.

I would get started if I knew where to start!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

One of my “Aha!” moments as a professional organizer came while reading Take Back Your Life!: Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to Get Organized and Stay Organized by Sally McGhee. Sally was talking about strategic tasks, or strategic next actions.

Now, I know by definition strategy has to do with a decisive plan of action. How often in everyday life do we actually sit down and deliberately make plans? So I was thinking – without that detailed plan, how can I know what my strategic next action is?

Then I was blown away by the definition – “A Strategic Next Action (SNA) is: The next physically doable action with no dependencies.” That made sense! Sometimes jobs have pre-requisites. Until we identify those pre-requisites as SNAs, we are stuck.

When you have trouble getting started on your To Do list, you may not have any strategic next actions listed. Take one task and break it down into its component parts. For example: you want to bake an apple pie. You must:

____ check to see what ingredients you need beside apples

____ go to the grocery store

____ find your recipe

____ find your rolling pin and pie plate

____ begin mixing, rolling and baking

Which of the five tasks is your SNA? Either of the “find…” statements qualify. The other tasks have dependencies.

Once a large project is broken down into smaller tasks, it is easier to see where to start. Finally, there is a task that can be done immediately! You breathe a sigh of relief and gladly get started. “Aha!”

25 More Tips for Less Stress

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Last year right before the holidays I gave you 25 stress-busting tips from a list I like to read over when I need a boost.

Here we are again, ready to enter the holiday fray. Can you believe Monday is 1 November?!? So, I am pulling out that list to share another 25 tips. My suggestion: Print both lists. Read each morning as a reminder that you can choose constructive behaviors.

25 MORE Tips for Less Stress:

  1. Let go of what is lost.
  2. Encourage gentleness in yourself and others.
  3. Face life with dignity.
  4. Go more frequently where you will get what is good for you.
  5. Listen to the sound of your own voice.
  6. Redecorate some part of your home.
  7. Face painful questions carefully.
  8. Get a medical check up.
  9. Wear comfortable clothes whenever you possibly can.
  10. Get a massage.
  11. Avoid excessive noise.
  12. Engage in religious activity.
  13. Redefine your priorities.
  14. Stop letting people annoy you because they are unhappy.
  15. Start today to straighten out a problem in your life.
  16. Practice being alert to your surroundings.
  17. Exercise regularly.
  18. Stop waiting “until ____ ” and marking time.
  19. Set goals realistically.
  20. Learn to value feedback from others.
  21. Stop reflecting on things that didn’t work out.
  22. Write a journal of your daily thoughts and moods.
  23. Stop assuming others can’t get along without you.
  24. Think positively!
  25. Look in the mirror and smile.

Be sure to leave a comment with the tip that stuck out for you. You will be encouraging someone else!

Photo Credit: Flickr/Frerieke CC-A

Takes Time to Make Time

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. ~Thomas Edison

We all wish we had more time. That will never happen. We get 24 hours in a day to manage as we see fit.

Creating routines, organizing supplies, and establishing filing systems will save time in the long run.

What if you feel like you don’t have the time to even get started organizing your time and space? It’s rather like the chicken and the egg. You have to use precious time in order to multiply your future free time.

If you are struggling with finding the time to organize and establish systems, decide on one small area to attack. Then use one or more of these suggestions to encourage and motivate:

  • Make a date with yourself; write it in your calendar.
  • Set a timer and work for one hour on your project. You can always work longer if you are on a roll.
  • Work first thing in the morning so nothing can become an excuse.
  • Trade organizing with a friend. Work on your project together, then spend time organizing at her place. You might not always keep an appointment with yourself up but won’t stand up someone else!
  • Choose a reward you will earn when you get that area organized. Positive motivation helps when an activity seems overwhelming.
  • Tape your favorite show on DVR and do your project for that hour, knowing when you are done you get to go watch your TV show.
  • Have an accountability partner. Let someone know when you will begin on a specific project. Ask that person to check back with you on a certain date.

I volunteer to be that partner! Email me and tell me what you decided to do and when you plan on having it done. I will check in with you to see how you are doing.

When you get that area done, take a picture. Then you can move on to another. Congratulate yourself with a rented movie, a manicure, or a family night at McDonald’s! This is your first step toward an organized lifestyle.

Book Review: Time management from the Inside Out

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Julie Morgenstern is one of my favorite organizing authors. One of the longest-recognized organizing experts, Julie has a way of breaking down the process to simple steps. Taking action in easily managed steps makes a daunting task – like managing time – doable.

Her book, Time Management from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule — and Your Life takes the same principles from her signature book on organizing spaces and demonstrates how to apply them to the specific case of managing time:

  • Analyze and Strategize – what’s going on now and what are your life goals for the future?
  • Sort, Purge, Containerize – categorize your main activities, get rid of excess (busy work), and group like activities to save time in execution.
  • Make a (Floor Plan) Time Map – based on your week as a manageable unit, designate specific times to perform routine actions. Ex. Pay bills on Saturday morning, do grocery shopping on Thursdays after work, make follow-up calls at 4 pm each weekday.

Of course, Julie includes real-life examples showing how time mapping works in the diverse worlds of a business executive and a working mom.
I’d suggest you check the book out from the library first. There is some work involved in priority and goal setting as in any time management course. The rewards are definitely worth the initial time investment in my opinion. You can view a copy of my time map here and make comments/suggestions. ;-)

Sell It, Take It, or Forsake It: Senior Downsizing Workshop

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Special Electronics Recycling on Friday

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I want to pass on this announcement in case you have any defunct electronics devices lying around.

Tech Columbus is offering FREE recycling of information technology equipment.

Tell your spouse, friends, family, co-workers. Please help the environment by recycling responsibly.

Friday, October 15th – Drop off 10am–2pm

1275 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212

They accept all types of PC, Monitors, Servers, Laptops regardless of age condition, working or non-working. Other equipment to donate: cables, power supplies, printers, shredders. NOTE: Television sets will be accepted, but with a $10 fee.

See their site for more details.