I finally wake up early because of this Instagram post

You just never know what's going to stick in your mind long after you see it. You also never know what seemingly tiny little experience will actually prompt you to change. I've struggled with being an early riser my entire life. "Early" to me is anything before 8am. The best thing about being self-employed: waking up whenever I want.  I certainly don't take this to extremes. Getting out of bed after 9:30 on a weekday is just plain depressing. I am guilty of routinely getting way too much sleep though, simply because I can.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a post on Instagram that was my "come to Jesus" moment. I didn't recognize it as such until a few days later. Something had changed. I had deleted every alarm that was set after 7:25am.  I was still snoozing for about 20 minutes, but that 7:25 alarm had become my new normal.  It still is, even on weekends.  Knowing that alarm is coming has also completely reshaped my late nights for the better.

I've been wanting to share this with you but I wasn't able to find it again on Instagram. I've re-created it for you here. I believe that how we do anything is how we do everything. As this image states, it's not just about rising and shining. It's about being more consistent with what I preach and the life I want to live.  I think it struck me because the "before" half looked so cluttered.  Always seeking out ways to further declutter my life, not just my space, I had to make the change.

Evernote Camera Roll 20150812 111615
Evernote Camera Roll 20150812 111615

What kind of person are you? The left image or the right image? Are you an early riser but haven't always been so? Please share in the comments below.

Never lose another photo

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 7.24.50 PMI really resist using technology late at night, but two nights ago I found an app so good that it kept me up til 1:30am: Google Photos.  WOW.  This is the photo organizing tool/app I've been waiting for.  Folks always ask me about digital photo organizing and until now I didn't have any suggestions.  I found iPhoto to be too cumbersome, so like many of you, my 1000+ photos sat on my phone.  I was uploading them to Dropbox for a while, but that took up valuable hard drive space.  Google Photos are in the cloud and I'm 100% fine with that.  Does Google own my photos now? Probably, but I really don't care. The pros certainly outweigh the cons: - Automatic uploads/back-ups from all devices - Ability to title individual photos - Searchable by date, location, face, title (even without a title or description) - Super simple creating of galleries - Easy sharing of galleries - Free

Here is a thorough, 10 min tutorial my my favorite YouTube tech guru, Steve Dotto:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD1sxS1hIms

Do you have experience with Google Photos? Do you use another photo organizing/saving/back-up software or app that you love?  Please share in the comments!

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119 CircleOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter & receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com/subscribe.

What I Do Every Day Before Checking Email (& Two Other New Habits)

Folks are always asking me how organized my files are.  They're pretty neat, perfect in fact.  This doesn't mean I don't have other areas of work-life that are in need of an extreme makeover.  I'm in the process of finding balance between online and offline life.  This past spring I realized that I, like many Americans, have a technology addiction.  I was waking up and walking straight to the computer like a zombie robot. I was checking email at stoplights, at dinner with friends, and in clients' bathrooms (true confessions here!).  I was turning to Facebook at the first sign of restlessness, or indecision, which seemed to be many times per hour.  The nature of my work doesn't require me to be on call 24/7.  This clearly was a compulsive habit. I'm at my happiest when hiking in the mountains, doing yoga, in the moment with a client, etc.  It's not my nature to tie myself to technology, but somehow it had happened and I didn't have a good excuse for it.

A dear friend, with monk-like willpower around technology limitations, gave me a smackdown one day and challenged me to only check email 3x/day.  That worked for about two months.  I don't consider it a failure though because with that came other habits that did last and others that have crept up since.  Here they are:

1. Since the spring I almost never, ever check email on my phone.  If I'm expecting something time sensitive (which is almost never, ever) I'll check it away from home.  If I'm away from home for more than 12 hours, I'll check it once.  Cold turkey on this is the only way to go.  I had a compulsive addiction, so to slip once is a slippery slope towards ridiculousness.

2. For the past two weeks I fix myself breakfast before checking email.  This is NOT easy, but is getting easier.  I asked myself, "Is checking email more important than nourishing myself?"  That was an easy one to answer.

3. The latest one I've implemented is Facebook-free Sundays and Wednesdays.  Hey, I'm not going to knock Facebook.  Do I need real time hourly updates of friends of friends who I've never met?  Nope.  I started with Sundays and it was so easy that I implemented the mid-week Wednesday diet as well.

I preach and teach about the power of small changes and implementing good habits.  To do this myself, in areas where I struggle, is to relate to my clients and assist them more deeply.  Now I need to work on that Pinterest addiction and getting out of bed in the morning...