5 Easy Tips to Improve your Time Management

personal concierge York RegionHow often do you find yourself running out of time? Not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Too much to do? Here are 5 easy tips to help you improve your time management.

1. Create a daily plan

  • Take 20 minutes each day to write your daily plan
  • List 3 – 5 things that are really important that day – you can do this electronically (there are many apps out there. My favorite is Evernote)
  • Make sure they are attainable
  • Prioritize each task
  • Set timelines around each task to maximize efficiency, i.e., social media
  • Schedule time for yourself

2. Use a Calendar

  • The most basic step for effective time management is having a calendar (Electronic or paper)
  • Electronic Base systems synch with electronic devices: Google Calendar or Ican (Apple users)
  • Paper calendar systems: Day-Timer, Franklin Covey, Day Runner
  • Use it, rely on it and everything is in one place
  • Look at it at the beginning of each week to get an idea of what’s on your plate

3. Focus/Delegate

  • Focus on one key task at a time
  • Block out distractions
  • Don’t multi-task. Research has shown this to be quite unproductive
  • Delegate things that are better done by someone else

4. Clock

  • How many of us lose track of time?
  • Have a clock visibly in front of you, it helps identify how much time you are spending on each task
  • Set time limits on your tasks – this is key
  • Helps keep you aligned with your daily plan

5. Re-Evaluate

  • Evaluate your method of time management from time to time
  • Not all systems work for everyone. Try something new! Use what works best for you
  • Hold yourself accountable

When you attain good time management skills, you generally get more done and are less stressed. Remember to reward yourself when you have accomplished things.

In the end, there are only so many hours in a day so if you are really feeling overwhelmed and can’t get a handle on organizing your time, we are happy to help. You can reach us via telephone or email, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

3 Easy Tips to Keep your Kitchen Organized

uncluttered kitchenThe kitchen is the heaviest traffic area in most homes. For many, it is the dumping zone for lunch bags, mail, purses, wallets, newspaper, electronics etc. Since this is the most used room in your home, it makes sense to make it as functional as possible. By using these 3 easy tips to organize your kitchen space appropriately, you will feel less stressed and be able to locate and find things quickly.

1. Store items by use
• Everyday dishes and glasses, should be near the dishwasher
• Special occasion, seasonal dishes, bowls and platters, should be up high or in a storage area
• Essential tools, scissors, spatula, tongs, wooden spoons, should be handy in a caddy
• Items used every day, should be on lower shelves
• Pots, pans should be near the stove Continue reading

5 Ways Wait Staff/Servers Make Events Stress Free

licensed wait staffDo you have an upcoming event, BBQ, dinner party or celebration of some kind? Have you ever considered taking the pressure off yourself and hiring wait staff/servers? Consider being a guest at your own event! Here are 5 ways that wait staff/servers can make your special occasion/event/party stress-free…Tip – Make sure you hire staff that are trained, come in uniform, wear name badges, are SMART Serve licensed and are insured.

1. Set-up
• Tables and chairs
• Set place settings, dishes, napkins, glasses
• Centrepieces, flowers
• Ensure bathroom supplies are replenished
• Table accessories (Water, Salt, Pepper, Sauces etc.)

2. Entrance Area
• Receive guests
• Hang Coats
• Remove shoes & boots from door area
• Receive gifts

3. Food
• Heat up appetizers
• Garnish foods
• Set-up buffet style
• Replenish food trays
• Prepare desserts, cut cakes & pies
• Prepare Tea, Coffee/Espresso etc.
• Serve appetizers

4. Bar Area
• Set-up self-serve or beverage station
• Prepare garnishes (Lemons, Limes, Olives)
• Glasses, drink mixes, ice, napkins
• Ensure wines are opened and breathing
• Serve beverages

5. Clean-up
• Ensure garbage/recycle bins are emptied
• Remove plates, glasses, plates, utensils
• Wrap left over food
• Clean up kitchen and bar area

Utilizing this kind of service gives you peace of mind knowing your guests are continually taken care of, and you can enjoy your event. What’s the point of hosting if you can’t enjoy and spend time with your guests? The best part of our work is when clients say “we’re part of the family”, because we cover all their special occasions.

We look forward to connecting with you!  You can reach us by phone or email, leave a message right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

10 Tips on How to Remove Stains From Clothing

personal concierge York regionIt never fails right? Your brand new shirt gets a stain on it! As a Personal Concierge, we are often asked by clients to remove stains out of their clothing. While there are no guarantees that these methods will work with every fabric, the following research tips* might help. We thought we would share the 10 most common stains we remove or get asked about.

1. Blood – If the stain is still fresh, soak in cold water or use an eye dropper with hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain. For a dried blood stain, use a brush to remove surface deposit, then pretreat or soak in cool water after using a laundry product containing enzymes.

2. Chocolate – Scrape off any excess, pre-treat with stain remover, wash. If stain still appears, re-wash with bleach that is safe for the material.

3. Coffee – Use cool water and sponge the stain or soak for 30 minutes in cool water. Pre-treat with prewash stain remover, wash. If stain still appears, rewash with a small amount of bleach, safe for fabric.

4. Grease – Pre-treat with prewash stain remover, wash and use HOT water. Make sure it’s safe for the fabric.

5. Ink – Sponge gently with a dry-cleaning solvent until ink stops bleeding. Rinse, sponge with rubbing alcohol, then hang to dry. If stubborn stain remains, rub in liquid laundry detergent and let sit overnight. Rinse.

6. Lipstick – Scrape any excess off, pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover, wash. If stain remains, repeat steps.

7. Nail Polish – Put fabric face down on a paper towel and blot with acetone (make sure it’s safe for fabric). Rinse with cold water. Repeat steps until blotting no longer transfers the stain. Apply pre-wash stain remover and wash.

8. Salad Dressing – Pre-treat-with pre-wash stain remover, wash, using HOT water (make sure safe for fabric).

9. Spaghetti Sauce – Working from the back of the stain, flush with cool water. Pre-treat with liquid laundry soap and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, repeat until you have removed most of the stain. Pre-treat with stain remover and wash.

10. Red Wine – Sponge the spot with cool water. Soak for thirty minutes or so in a sink or pail. Pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover, wash. If it’s safe for fabric, use small amount of chlorine bleach.

Other Helpful Hints:

Bleach – There are two types: non chlorine and chlorine bleach

Pre-treat/pre-wash products – Available in many different forms:

  • pumps
  • stick
  • spray
  • gels, and
  • liquids

Make sure you read the labels as it may not be suitable for all fabrics.

Tools – Brushes, cotton swabs, white cloth, eye dropper, spray bottle and paper towels. These items are what you need to keep in a container in your laundry area. This way, when a spill happens, you have all you need on hand.

One of the keys to getting nasty stains out is taking the time to read what your fabric states is the right pre-treat and pre-wash methods. Hope these will help you. If you have no time for your laundry, we would be happy to help :-)

Share your favourite stain removal tips with our readers! We love getting feedback. You can connect with us via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

*Experts from Good Housekeeping Research Institute

5 Unique Client Tasks we’ve Done as Personal Concierge

As a Personal Concierge, we pretty much do anything our clients ask as long as it’s legal and ethical. We are always up for the challenge! Our goal is to provide the best and most efficient service to our clients. However, from one day to the next we never know what a client may ask us to do for them, so you always have to be ready for the unexpected. Below are a few examples of very unique tasks we have completed for clients.

personal concierge Newmarket1. Medication to Alaska

A new client called, advising her mother had been in a hospital in Ontario and she wanted to take her home to Alaska to get better. In doing so, she inadvertently forgot her medications. She asked if we could pick up the numerous prescriptions from the pharmacy and send them to her.
Yes, sending medication across the border is a huge task; paper work, documentation etc., however since it’s legal and ethical, we can do it. She was so happy we were able to accomplish the task thus allowing her mother to recover with her.

 

Personal Concierge Toronto2. Passport Application

A new client called and asked if we could help with her and her husband’s passport renewal. The challenge was that he is in hospital, chronically disabled. Yes this posed some challenges, however, utilizing our resources and specific skill sets we were able to complete all the documents, photos and send them off to passport office. We received the new passports in 22 days….again, as long as it’s legal and ethical, we can do it!

 

Personal Concierge York Region3. Sell an Engagement Ring

A client called and asked if we would be able to sell an engagement ring. With discretion (we do not asked what happened), we do the task at hand. Since she did not have an appraisal or any documentation, we took the necessary steps; getting it appraised and finding a buyer. Once the transaction was complete, we met with the client and transferred over the money. In this case we were dealing with a lot of cash and potential risk, so we were not about to leave it at her residence. Again, it was legal, so we completed the task.

 

Personal Concierge Ontario4. Pick up Ashes

A client called and asked if we would be able to pick up her husband’s ashes for her. She was grieving and did not have the stamina to go back to the funeral home and get them. This was something new for us. However, we went through the process, picked up the ashes and delivered them to the client. When the client came out to the car, she could not believe (and was most touched) that we had seat-belted them in the back seat of our vehicle. (It’s the respectful thing to do).

 

Certified Personal Concierge York Region5. Notarize Permit Documents

A new client called and asked if we would be able to get some documents notarized. Sounds easy enough. Well, the documents had to be picked up from her in Toronto and taken to Oshawa. From there a notary in Oshawa needed to be found that would be able meet the appropriate individual at the client’s place of employment and sign the document. The challenge was trying to co-ordinate the timing with three parties within a 24 hour window. We were able to research, find someone to do it and get them back to the client within 24 hours…whew!

When there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things you need to do, consider hiring a personal concierge to assist with the task and give you your time back to focus on more important things! We are here to serve you.

How about you? Do you have some unique challenges we can help you with? We look forward to connecting with you. You can reach me by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kathy

Tips on Where to Donate Items in Toronto……to Help Others

donations TorontoFollowing on my last blog post, most of us have too much stuff! So, I thought it might be helpful to give you locations in the Toronto area for items you are ready to donate. This will not only help you de-clutter your own life, but it will help others as well.

jacket

 

Used Clothing

Value Village –  Check their website for the closet location to you. No receipts issued
Canadian Diabetes Association – Schedule a pick-up with them – 1-800-505-5525
Goodwill –  Check their website for the closet location to you. Drop off only. No receipts
New Circles –  Drop off only at 10 Gateway Blvd., Toronto, No receipts. 416-422-2591
Oasis Clothing Bank –  Free pick-up in Toronto. Or Drop off at 186 Bartley Drive, North York M4A 1E1 416-751-0553
Salvation Army – Drop off at locations all over Ontario, 1-800-725-2769
Dress for Success – Check their website for the closest location to you.
Pegasus – Drop off at 931 Kingston Road, Toronto M4E 1S6 416-913-2544
Recycle Rewards – 90 Northline Road, Toronto, M4B 3E5, Drop off. 1-866-927-3873

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Downsize your Life – Assessing your STUFF

ClutterHave you ever assessed how much stuff you have or more importantly, really need? How much of all your stuff have you actually used in the last year? Why do we need to collect so much stuff? It’s time to downsize your life. Living with less can guide you to a simpler happier life. For instance, here are some sore spots for a lot of our clients:

Sheets – Do you really need more than two sets for each bed in your space? If you are diligent and do your laundry consistently, then two sets is enough.
Tip – Donate the rest to an animal shelter.

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7 Tips on Planning your Second Wedding

Second MarriagesYou’ve found love again! CONGRATULATIONS! Planning your second wedding will likely be easier. Anything goes, so relax and have fun with it. The 7 tips below are to help guide you through some questions that you might not be sure about if you are concerned about following proper etiquette.

1. First Steps are always the same

  • Figure out the type of wedding you both want
  • Casual or formal
  • What time of year do you want?
  • Secure a date

2. Attire

  • Be yourself – wear what you want
  • Yes, it’s okay to wear white
  • Wear whatever looks good and feels good on you
  • Create a theme and align your outfit with it
  • Men – a simple suit or themed outfit

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5 Tips on Hiring the Right Professional

how to hire a professionalBefore you even start the process of hiring any professional, take some time to think about your goals and objectives for the project (big or small), and write them down.
It can be confusing and even get overwhelming to know who to hire – however, if you keep the 5 tips below in mind, it will make the process a whole lot easier.

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10 Reasons Giving Back to your Community is Important

community serviceWe are all so busy in our daily lives being pulled in so many directions it can easily make us oblivious to the big picture – what’s happening around us in our community? Giving back to your community is one of the most important things you as a person/business owner can do. Here are 10 reasons community service is important and why we all need to do our part.

  1. You really do make a difference in people’s lives
  2. Helps build a solid relationship between you and your community
  3. Demonstrates social responsibility
  4. Helps build your reputation which can lead to business opportunities/partnerships
  5. Teaches compassion and understanding for others less fortunate
  6. Rewards for selfless acts can be personally very rewarding and feels good
  7. Develops and grows you as an individual
  8. Sets a good example for your family and others
  9. Excellent opportunity to use or develop your skill set
  10. Provides opportunity to support causes close to your heart

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