Saturday, 22 February 2014

Time to Attack

OK - so I admit it. I am a terrible procrastinator... actually, that's not quite true. I am an amazing procrastinator, I could procrastinate all day long - unfortunately this has a terrible impact on my ability to get things done.

Although, technically, it's not my ability to do things that is affected, my ability is still the same, I just don't do it. I need to remember that things don't have to be perfect, but they do have to be done :o)

Since my last post I haven't started on any of the things that I suggested as my next area to de-clutter and organise, and as they are areas that don't bother anyone else, and aren't visible to people who may come round (not that there are many of those) I find it easy to forget about them, or sit and plan how I'd like them to look and how I would like them organised.

This weekend I have decided that the area that needs to be attacked next, and that is going to be most beneficial to the whole family is the dining room - more specifically the IKEA Expedit unit (basically one that is just made up of squares) and surrounding area (which often includes half of the dining table too). The unit is the 4 x 2 one which we bought to put the boys chart supplies, colouring books, jigsaw puzzles etc in. Over time however, it has overflowed somewhat due to finished (or more usually part-finished) projects and drawings, toys, general bits and pieces of various child debris that doesn't have a specific home. There are also currently a couple of boxes in the room which contain more supplies (mainly paper, pens, more unfinished projects, sticks, rocks, and I'd hate to even guess what else).

I have realised that one of the biggest problems that we have with the storage in the unit is that we have some of the boxes that fit in the unit, which seems perfect as everything can be stored out of the way, but in practice this doesn't work for us. When there are lots of smaller things that need to be kept together, putting them all in one big box just doesn't work. We can never find anything, and nothing gets put back properly, because once it is back in it's box it'll take an age to find the damn thing again (or at least that seems to be Marcus's reasoning, as he "hasn't finished with it yet"). It's amazing how much stuff he hasn't finished with yet.

To help with this I have bought a block of clear drawers to store the different types of paper in (although when I go through the boxes I may find that one isn't enough). The next step is to go through all the shelves and boxes and throw away anything that is no longer needed, finished pictures that are to be kept will be stuck into the scrapbooks that the boys have. We have so many colouring books in boxes and loose on the shelves that it will be great to see the back of. The boys don't use them, are Marcus is happy for me to throw most of them out (he is much more interested in drawing things himself than colouring in pictures).

Once the storage for this area is sorted I think (and hope) it will be much easier to keep it tidy and organised so that it is easy for us to get the crafting things out when we want to use them, but also easy to put them away again too...

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Simplifying - Is It Working?

Well hello from me on my day off :-)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about starting off on my simplifying journey by reducing the amount of electronic communication I do/read. The next question is obviously - is it working? Hell yeah!!!

My personal email inbox only has items that I need to action in it (I don't receive many emails that I need to action, so I don't feel the need at this stage to set up a separate action folder with possible sub-folders), and everything else has either been filed or trashed.

My Facebook time is now under control - apart from days like today, but it's my day off, so I'm allowed to indulge, right? If I hadn't been indulging I'd never have spotted the Gillio for sale in the Gillio group in time to pm the seller and make it mine :-)

My work email has been under control for some time now, with an action folder containing many sub-folders, a "waiting for" folder which mainly contains emails that will be deleted as soon as another item has been completed and signed off, for example the monthly report that I prepare from various submissions from others. The attachments get saved into the appropriate folder on the server for the report, but I keep the original emails until the report has been completed and sent out just in case I haven't saved something down, or it has got corrupted.

One week a month my work email inbox goes all to hell as it's monthend, and I have neither the time, nor the inclination to file mails appropriately, and many of the ones that come in relate to the monthend itself and so I like to be able to see them and flick up and down the list to make sure that everything is OK. Once monthend and reporting are finished I then go through my inbox to see what items still require action. Those that I just need to keep for reference get filed, those that are no longer required get deleted, and all others get put into the relevant action folders. I then go through the action folders to check what needs to be done - list it, and work out when it needs to be, and will be done. This doesn't work for everyone, but this system is working well for me, so I'm happy.

My next task to simplify things for me was to sort out the bathroom sink area and cupboards, to make keeping the area clean so much easier. I like to try to give the sink unit a quick clean each day to keep it looking OK, but when there are toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, hair stuff, deodorants etc all round it then it's not that quick as you have to take everything off first, and everything becomes a total dust magnet if I don't. I have now put everything we need on a daily basis into the cupboard above the sink, all my additional moisturisers, make-up, etc. have been removed and put in the desk in the bedroom, which will soon become a dressing table. Now there is no junk on the vanity unit at all it makes keeping it clean so much easier - even the boys automatically put their toothbrushes etc back in the cupboard, without being told once.

Next stop was going to be the recycling area in the kitchen, but that's a bit scary, so do I tackle the bedroom next (set up that dressing table, clear out more old clothes, see how much stuff I can throw away), or do I go and attack my special room with all it's stationery, crafty stuff, etc...? Hmmm...

I feel a need for bin bags coming on - time to be ruthless (although not sure how ruthless I can be when it comes to stationery...).


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Rudeness & Copyright Issues

Some people are just unbelievably rude!!! The post below was written by Janet Carr of This Bug's  Life in response to an issue that our beloved Philofaxy King Steve Morton encountered when someone used his photos to pass off as an item that they were selling on eBay (it wasn't even the same product that the person was selling, let alone the actual one). When he contacted them to mention that this is a problem he was faced with a barrage of (totally unnecessary) abuse:

Have a look, if you will, at the eBay auction below (the listing has been taken down so I have put several screen shots instead). Notice anything?
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 5.29.44 PM
Well, the first thing one would notice is that the photograph is of a pocket Filofax, whereas he auction claims to be selling a mini. [Before the listing was removed, there was a live link above to the auction itself which showed two photographs - one pocket and one mini. I am not sure who owns the photograph of the mini but I have removed it from the screen shot above out of respect for the owner's copyright ]
The next thing one would notice is that the featured photograph (see below) comes from this post on Philofaxy, and belongs to Steve Morton.
The third thing one would notice is the description, and below that the note.
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 5.32.53 PM
The note reads as follows:
NOTE TO BIDDERS/WATCHERS I am being forced to end this listing early and re-list it. This is because the first image (showing a filofax on a pine coloured table) was copied and pasted from google images. I was then contacted on ebay by a filofax blog owner (I’ve never seen the blog before – and yes someone clearly has too much time on their hands) demanding that I remove the image. Extremely unreasonable given the fact this is in no way an attempt to infringe their IP rights and was just used for illustrative purposes in order to save time when originally listing the item for sale. As the item currently has a bidder (many apologies to you!) ebay settings won’t let me delete the stock photograph. I am therefore re-listing the item but only using my image of the item as taken on my iphone on 04/02/14. Thank you for reading this message and apologies for any confusion caused. You can find the item again by looking at all the items I’m currently selling.
The irony of the fact that she was not actually selling her Filofax but Steve’s, seems to have completely escaped her. Or the fact that doing a Google image search, copying, pasting and uploading Steve’s photograph probably took longer than taking her own photo and uploading it would have. Or that if she was using it for illustrative purposes only and it was not the one she was selling, she should have made that clear to her buyers. Particularly as the one she was selling was another size entirely and much smaller than the one in Steve’s photograph.
Right, so if you think that is rude you should see the contents of the eBay message which she sent to Steve when he wrote to let her know that the photo belonged to him.
I have seldom seen such insolence and arrogance – not to mention a total lack of knowledge about intellectual property law and how Google images works. She was apoplectic at having her entire evening wasted by a person she felt was so stupid as to feel that her using his image was wrong.
She explained rather rudely that it was perfectly acceptable for her to use Steve’s image because she found it on Google images (the mind boggles at how she thought it got there in the first place). She was utterly astounded that someone actually found out she was using said image. And felt that Steve’s completely unreasonable behaviour caused her to lose a sale. Naturally she did not express it quite so politely. The only way to describe the tone of her letter was abusive. I have been rather gentle in my description above but I was flabbergasted at the content of the message and how she spoke to Steve. None of which really comes across here but out of respect to the seller I am not going into detail.
It just astounds me that nowadays people feel that Google is an enormous website full of free information and photographs which appear out of nowhere and don’t actually belong to anyone. Or that copyright does not apply to anything on the internet. Probably the same people who feel that being anonymous entitles you to be as rude and cruel as you want to be because no one knows who you are and if it is on the internet it doesn’t matter.
What makes me most cross is that Steve Morton is one of the kindest most generous people around. He has built an entire community to which he willingly gives his time and with whom he generously shares his expertise. He organises competitions, awards, meets and is admin for about 15 Facebook groups. He is always at the other end of a post, a comment or a personal message to advise, commiserate or encourage.
Even worse, there is no way you can report abusive messages like this to eBay. Apart from writing a letter of complaint to them and including a print out of the message. There seems to be no other recourse if you are harassed in any way.
So for me it was important to write this article to show my displeasure with how he was treated. If anyone agrees with me, please re-Tweet or reblog this to show Steve he has our support.

Thank you Janet for writing this piece, and hopefully this will also serve as a reminder to others to be careful when purchasing off eBay, as people are often misrepresenting what they are selling. This isn't to bash eBay sellers generally, as there are a lot of perfectly genuine, excellent sellers out there. Maybe it should also serve as a warning that the Philofaxy community are a tight-knit group, don't mess with us, and certainly don't be abusive to our Steve :o)