Guest Post: Spring Cleaning with a Touch of Feng Shui

Some say Feng Shui is the Chinese art of arranging the furniture in your home. But I can assure you, as a certified Feng Shui consultant (FSS), it really is so much more! It’s all about your own energy and where you put it. What does this have to do with spring cleaning? It’s simple: The outer order reflects your inner order. Meaning: If I am unhappy with myself and the world, or feel tired and worn out, my home usually looks like a bomb has struck with things lying around everywhere. After I clean it all up again I always feel so much more satisfied than before. I now feel ‘clean’ inside and am ready to conquer the world again.

Winter is a time of rest and darkness. It is the last season in the lifecycle, representing stagnation or even death as everything slows down and freezes. In those days I get lazy and love to curl up in a warm blanket on the sofa and do as little as possible.

Once the days get longer and temperatures begin to rise the yearly lifecycle starts all over again. Spring is the time of birth and growth. What better time to turn new ideas into projects? But before I can start my new projects, I want to get rid of the old dirt and all the unwanted, unloved stuff. This is where my spring cleaning comes in.

Remember how my outside (the home I live in) represents what my inside looks like? I admit that during the winter I put things into drawers just to have them out of the way quick. After a while this disorder starts to irritate me. It’s now time to do something about this mess!

Then I realize there is soooooo much to do, but where do I start? When I think about it I get overwhelmed, don’t know where to start and end up doing nothing at all. I feel like I will never ever get it all done, that it will take me forever and right now I just don’t have time for this…

Here are some tips that really help me get started with my spring cleaning:

1. I start small and decide to do only one thing at a time.

If I decide to clear out only one drawer today (not the whole commode!), then I usually get it done, because the goal is reachable within a short amount of time. Usually the energy comes while cleaning and if I have time to spare I continue and do another one and another and before I know it it’s all done. If I don’t have the time I just do the next drawer the following day.

2. Throw away the things you don’t love anymore

When going through my stuff I find all sorts of things, that I had forgotten about and I ask myself:

  1. Do I still love it?
    Yes = keep it / No = on to the next question (valid for all questions below)
  2. Does it raise good/happy memories when I use it or look at it?
  3. Will I ever need it again?
  4. Will I miss it when it’s gone?

If I say YES, I find a good place to put it and go on to the next thing.

If the answer is NO to all these questions, then into the trash it goes. Sometimes the item still looks new and I am reluctant to throw it out, then I either sell it on eBay/Tutti.ch etc. or ask around if anyone can use it or who may love to have it.

3. Sort out your Wardrobe

The same goes for my wardrobe. Here I ask myself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I wore this? If it was more than 2 years ago out it goes
  2. Do I feel/look good when I wear it? If not, out it goes.

4. Treat yourself after reaching the set goal

After I finish cleaning out that one drawer or my wardrobe, I treat myself to a nice little break. This could be a cup of tea on the sofa, or 30 Minutes of reading in my favorite book or just put my feet up for a few minutes and congratulate myself.

Clearing out old stuff gives me space and energy for new things and ideas. Cleaning up is actually step 1 of my professional Feng Shui advice. Before you rearrange any furniture or paint any walls its important to clear out unloved and unwanted things.

If you are interested in learning more about Feng Shui or wish to have a professional Feng Shui consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also visit www.fengshuiprincess.ch.

Looking forward to meeting you and happy spring cleaning!

Kind regards

Jacqueline

 

Jacqueline Vicario

Jacqueline Vicario
Dipl. Feng Shui Beraterin FSS since 2013

Jacqueline was born in New York, N.Y. USA to Swiss parents, who were interested in iGing and Feng Shui.  Raised half in Switzerland and half in the USA but calling Switzerland her home for the last 30 years. Works as an Administrative Assistant and Feng Shui Consultant

FSS = Feng Shui Schule Schweiz

 

How to get rid of clutter in five steps – “Spring Cleaning“ for more productivity

Overtaken by ‘paper’? For many of us it is worse than any other five-letter word.  It’s because paper can weigh you down and hold you back. Getting rid of paper and other stuff is a spring cleaning for the soul that will make you more productive. Here’s why.

►Let go of your fear and depart from the comfort zone.

You might have noticed that when you don’t feel in your comfort zone you need to have something in writing to hold on to. You can reduce complexity by having a plan or calendar of events on the wall. You might reduce your stage fright by writing down and scripting speeches and conference calls.

Retro-Vintage-Ads-Altered-Bitch-style-473What it means to let go is that you need to remember more but also that you focus on what’s really important. In the name of productivity I am trying to avoid tasks that do not add value to my business or my clients. In the old days we used to spend hours sorting and deleting emails or filing documents. Being a business owner now I am trying to reduce such work to a bare minimum as I have found out that if I cannot find something it is usually mainly because I am stressed and frantically look for it. In normal mode I find all my documents on the laptop by working with the search function. I don’t need to file documentation on certain topics because most of it can be found online. If you need a filing system for collaboration make it simple and self-explanatory.

►Simplify and standardize by reducing clutter.

Simplifying can also be done at home. I don’t have an extensive wardrobe. Reading articles on productivity made me standardize my clothes even more so I don’t have to take decisions about what to wear. I also place matching clothes together on the rack.

 

►Use color codes, the three-box system and laminated signs to sort your office.

In our office I use a very clean and color-coded physical filing system. It helps me find files that I need to see printed. It also helps me to grab the right file when I am on my way to a client. Most of the time I work without paper though. The three-box system is very simple. You need to have three boxes and give them three functions: box 1: bin / recycling, box 2: donations and box 3: treasures. You need to ensure that you go to throw away the bin right away. The treasures you can put in a box and leave them there until your next spring cleaning.3

►Take the first step by sorting for half an hour a day.

One important tip when you start to work on this process is to limit it to half an hour a day. Set the clock and reward yourself afterwards for example by buying yourself a bunch of flowers.

►Clutter is equivalent to emotional baggage.

Letting go of clutter means to learn to rely more on your brain. Tell us what you do to sort out your clutter and find order in your life!

Read this related blog post.

 

Sleepless in Switzerland Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

The last week has been one of the most challenging weeks of my life.

The bad news first: I have not been tested for CORONA-Virus, because my symptoms seem to be too mild. My dizziness, weakness, cough might just be a sign of an anxiety attack, mountain disease or a weird cold. For me, it would have been better to know if I’m positive or not. Not knowing if I’m potentially a transmitter of the disease makes it hard to allow my partner to come back home.. This is week 2 of my quarantine.

For those of you who are still trying to catch up on emails here is what happened and why I’m under quarantine. Read this!

The good news: Last night I could finally sleep for more than a few hours and I have the feeling that I’m on the right track mentally and also that my body is getting better. I promised that I would keep you up-to-date and share a few lessons with you. Maybe you can imagine that I have become an information junkie. So I’m trying to do this:

  1. I summarize 20 quick recommendations in a list style. Most of my recommendations are geared towards expats and international people living in Switzerland. Most of the advice will be working in any other country too though.
  2. I’m offering deeper conversations for those of you who face similar problems and I will be available via the RockMeApp over the next few days. I’m also giving every client free access to the online version of the RockMe! program. It might help you to work on a career-related topic during this crisis.
  3. I’m looking for an idea on how to distribute more information to clients and other people. At the moment I’m using Twitter (@angieweinberger) and LinkedIn.

I hope this is helpful and let’s stay connected through these times. Check below my 20 recommendations for Quarantine.

Angie’s 20 Quarantine Recommendations

  1. First Things First: Fix your” oxygen mask”, open windows regularly and try to take in sunshine. Look into ways to improve your immune system naturally. Eat Vitamin-C and Vitamin-D. Prepare your meals with grace and dedication. Add ginger to anything. Drink more water and herbal tea than usual. I start my day with adding all the water to the table so I know how much I have to drink.
  2. Help Migrants and Refugees: Share the multilingual updates from your country health authority. If you have capacity and want to do something useful, help the ministry of health by sharing the information in different languages. It seems the migrant population was not addressed in previous campaigns and many migrants do not fully understand what is going on. Help migrants in your neighbourhood if you can. This page has information in many languages.
  3. Buy Local: Ensure that you know where you can support local businesses by ordering food and home delivery. Newinzurich has great information for day-to-day topics such as food delivery, restricted areas, and online entertainment.
  4. Help the Neighbors: If you feel you can support others, get to know the neighbors through this site and offer your help.
  5. Be Reachable and Savable: Have phone and emergency numbers next to your bed. I left my apartment door unlocked when I felt dizzy. I will soon feel strong enough to lock it again.
  6. Define your Essentials: Stock up on essentials without hoarding, maintain a basic list of food and household items that you always want to keep in the house. I’m not good at this at all since I’m a convenience shopper but at least now I have enough pasta to survive a week or two without support.
  7. Consider Small Projects: If you are fit and free of symptoms, start spring cleaning at home
  8. Reduce Your Online Time: We are using the Internet too much now. We should learn to entertain ourselves offline too. Listen to old-fashioned radio, watch DVD’s or learn games with dice or chess. Read a paper-book. Challenge the kids for a round of “Kniffel”.
  9. Learn Basic Relaxation Methods:
  10. Enjoy the Fact That you are Still Alive: Sing and dance, play an instrument. Invite your friends to a virtual coffee chat and set up dinner dates.
  11. Reduce Your Work Time: Set a work schedule for max 6 hours a day if you are well enough. I’ve decided that I will work every day but only as long as I’m feeling okay. I have a hard time sitting in an office chair for more than two hours. I’m working mainly from my red sofa. It feels more like fun this way.
  12. Check Your Health Insurance: If you live in Switzerland you probably have basic coverage and additional hospital coverage. If you are not sure what is covered exactly and if your family members are covered for the same treatment it’s a good time to check that.
  13. International and Local Pension Plans: Verify and update the beneficiaries on your pension plan, check if your pension plan is sufficient for now or if you need to set money aside for your old-age pension. Usually, we procrastinate on these topics but in a situation like this we want to be sure our family is not suffering any unnecessary stress.
  14. Have Cash at Home: I keep more cash than usual. Even though it is generally recommended to pay with cards and other cashless payments for dealing with grocery shopping and pharmacies, you might need more cash than usual. Sometimes you just want to give a person a tip or you need to pay cash at the door. I know that I’m inviting burglars to my house writing this but I will cough at everyone who dares to enter. Karma baby.
  15. Improve your Cash Flow: If you are experiencing cash flow issues as a small company owner or freelancer please check if you are entitled to support through social security. For Switzerland, there is a temporary support package (see email below from Markus Hohl) and the really great news is that invoices from social security can be paid later without interest. I’m very happy with the government’s fast action following this petition.
  16. Ensure Business Continuity: I noticed that I’m the only person who can access the company bank account. So I’ve organized power of attorney for two close friends. The bank was very supportive and delivered forms in no time. I hope we can get everything set up digitally.
  17. Do Admin Stuff: You have to a lot of admin work anyway such as your tax declaration. If you are bored you can work on your tax declaration for 2019. The deadline has been extended to 31 May 2020 in Zurich for everyone. If you are done with your taxes think about all the money you can claim back now. Also, if you have a general train ticket you can freeze it online for 30 days. Small peas but they also contribute.
  18. Seek Professional Help: My colleague Axel Kellerbauer offers free German and English-speaking crisis support calls.
  19. Send an Orchid: Orchids are long-lasting and show perseverance. They are a perfect symbol for our condition. If you know a person who’s unwell send orchids. Help Hans-Peter Mayer so the orchids and shop can survive by ordering orchids for your team and others.
  20. Support this Petition: Switzerland should get more people tested against Corona-Virus in order to make more informed statements. Being in limbo myself, I know that not knowing doesn’t really help. The petition was started about a week ago and by now 2000 people have signed. The organizers will need at least 10’000 signatures before the government will take this serious enough.

Free Support & Access to RockMe! Program

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We will only charge fees for usual Executive Coaching sessions. Access to the RockMeApp, online support and program are free of charge until 30 April 2020. The access to the RockMeApp will remain free for 2020.

Special Offers for Our Readers (mention GPT, Angie Weinberger)

Temporary Living for Self-Isolation:

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Free 45 min crisis conversations with experienced colleague Axel Kellerbauer

Food Delivery in Zurich:

Food delivery with no food waste: FairCustomer.Ch

Online Shopping in Zurich: Zurich Liefert 


Resources

HR Professionals:

Coronavirus HR Comms & Resources Guide

Global Mobility Professionals:

Expatise Academy 

Global Leaders and Expats:

Global People Transitions

Medical Researchers

Sentinel Initiative 

WHO Immunization

WHO Emergencies

EDCE Europa Surveillance & Disease Data

Enthrat Covid 19 Task Force

Whatsapp Q&A by WHO

WHO Health Alert Brings Covid 19 Facts To Billion Via Whatsapp

My favourite Productivity Hacks – Seven Tips to claim back your Diary

When clients ask me how they can fit more into their day I tell them to forget time management. We manage our time when we have enough. When we are stressed and under pressure of delivery we forget all of the methods and act like crazy headless chicken or chucks.

Over the years of my early career having worked with bankers I learnt that time is money and efficiency was considered a must. Responsiveness meant that I would call back immediately and respond to emails as fast as possible. Today I feel this paradigm has shifted to social media, what’s app and text messages. Anyhow, when you are constantly in response mode it is hard to get any work done. Moving into more managerial roles I had to re-learn how I prioritized and as a company owner it was again different. If you also struggle with being productive I have five tips for you to claim back your diary. You want to have more time with family and friends? You want to start a new hobby or continue one you started years ago and then dropped? You want to go running regularly? If your answer is “Yes, but I don’t have time.” Practice one or two of the methods given below.

diary 2

►Have-Done Diary

In consulting firms you have to maintain a timesheet in which you document daily how you use your time. This can be great to give you an understanding of where you are focused. You can increase the value of this exercise by maintaining a daily diary in which you document your accomplished tasks (Have-Done-Diary). I recommend a notebook and handwriting for this exercise.

►Time blocks with pomodoro-clocks

Find your most productive time in the day and block 90 minutes for creative and conceptual work. Set a kitchen timer for the task to 25 minutes. Work without picking up the phone or checking emails or Social Media. Then take a five minutes break.

Then work for another 25 minutes and take another 5 minutes break and a third junk. See how much you accomplish with this method. This is called Pomodoro-Method and you can even get a timer on your browser.

http://tomato-timer.com/

 

For many professionals the most important brain time is the early morning but I hear there is the other camp of night owls as well. So it is up to you to find your best 90 minutes in a day.

►Use an easy categorizer to determine where to start

Our most important tasks will have 80% of impact on our success only take 20% of our time according to the Pareto principle. 80% or our time we usually spend on important but less urgent and urgent but less important tasks which will only contribute 20% to our success. When you are overwhelmed use an easy categorizer. Work with an A, B, C categorization whenever you add a task to your diary or task list. Use your time block for A tasks.

►The Island

In your day build one island of peace. The island can be lunch with a good friend, a massage, running or sitting outside watching birds. The island of peace needs to fulfil two criteria:

1) You cannot take your smartphone or it has to be switched off.

2) You are not allowed to take away tasks from this place.

►Repetition, Routine, Checklists

Repetition, routine and checklists are great ways to take the stress out of tasks that need to be accomplished but should not require a lot of focus. I prefer to work on such tasks in the late afternoon or evening. Examples are packing for an event, preparing your travel cost claim. Color-coding, tagging, printing and filing

If you feel that you are constantly looking for documents, try color-coding folders according to topic, tag documents, put descriptors on paper files, file papers weekly, throw out junk, advertising and ask yourself before printing: What will be the added value of having this document on paper? Will I read it? Will it end up in a pile? Will I review it?

In my experience we print a lot of documents, magazines, whitepapers without looking at them ever. Do you also have 50 books and only started to read them? When you are like me you probably should stop yourself from buying more books until you are at least through 25 of them (and have written reviews on Amazon).

►Outsourcing housework

Finally I encourage you to outsource your housework from grocery shopping to cleaning. Most of the housework you might still be stuck with but at least you can win about three hours per week if your house is cleaned by another person. You will also notice that you keep the house tidier if you have regular external help. I also sublet my office so that I have to keep the space relatively clean. If I did not have regular client contact I would probably have post-it’s everywhere and drafts in progress on the floor.

Now practice one tip per week and let me know what happened.

 

►Read more:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229772

 

http://acuff.me/do-over/

 

http://www.briantracy.com/blog/leadership-success/practice-the-abc-method/

 

http://blog.idonethis.com/franklin-focus-on-daily-progress/

 

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/3367/10-Management-Lessons-From-Donald-Trump.aspx

 

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/06/16/not-to-do-lists-drugs-and-other-productivity-tricks/

 

 

►Related:

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/how-to-get-rid-of-clutter-in-five-steps-spring-cleaning-for-more-productivity/

Back to School – Becoming productive again

Fall is here. The summer days are over. Sunflowers turned brown and you have started to turn on the lights in the morning again. When you get home from work, you don’t want to sit outside anymore as you can feel the chill. Apples are ripe for harvest and the smell of onion pie and early wine hangs in the air. This is how I remember the early fall.

With the fall and the feeling of being back in school again we also want to get back into performance mode. We are inclined to activate our inner driver and work toward the end of Q3 with passion. Over the summer I have been brooding over a new program and further developments for Global People Transitions. One of the recognitions I had is that it is really hard to relax nowadays. It is so easy to fall back into reading emails or to say “I’ll check my emails while I am away.” It is difficult not to be tempted to check social media. I tried it this summer holiday and it felt wonderful. I was reminded of an article Caitlin Krause wrote a while back and I thought I’d dig it out for you.

During the holidays I also tried to maintain my weekly “RockMe!” routines as well as I could. Some of my daily goals only work with a good Internet connection. Some require that I am in Zurich but most of my weekly habits are easy to follow through anywhere. If you are struggling to define those (or if you haven’t even started), I would encourage you to define weekly goals that you can achieve no matter where you are. An example could be a daily walking target, a daily relaxation exercise or keeping your work space and personal space clean of clutter. Even though it’s not spring I would like to share this post with you again.

Let me know how you will set your weekly targets and if you will join RockMe! (until 30 Sept 2017 you can join the group free of charge).

Angie

Kind regards,