Finding Balance with productivity and organization

I’m not a big fan of New Year Resolutions for myself because I set goals quite regularly throughout the year.  That being said, I support others that do use new years resolutions as a means for changing habits and trying to get on track.

Over at Retire Happy Blog, I have written about some ideas to help others who want to set some financial resolutions and try to develop some healthy financial habits.

Balance Rocks

Balance Rocks

Although I don’t really set new years resolutions for myself, I have found that I have been really productive in getting organized this year and it’s helped me with finding balance in life.  The New year is only 5 days old and I’ve managed to undertake some big projects to get organized

Organizing the garage

You might be able to image the garage of a household with four young boys.  There’s a lot of bikes, soccer balls, skating equipment, and other sports equipment for active boys.  Add in my tools, building materials, and other storage items for Halloween, Easter and Christmas and you have one full garage.

On boxing day, I went out and bought a bunch of new Christmas lights for net year and that motivated me to get organized and find space to store these new boxes.  I re-organized for an entire day and although the garage is still full, adding shelves and purging ‘stuff’ has really helped de-clutter the space.

Purging toys in the basement

Getting the garage organized put me in the purging mood so I moved to the basement and got the kids to help put away toys they do not use anymore.  We threw away a ridiculous amount of broken toys and found lots of things that we could donate to other kids or organizations.

I was really proud of my kids for doing a great job purging but the best part was having them understand how much stuff they have and how they only play with about 20% of what they have.  When we got rid of stuff, the boys were really happy with the extra space and organization downstairs.  One of my boys said “There’s so much room down here.  It feels way bigger.”

Changing light bulbs

This may sound odd but I spent the next half a day changing light bulbs in the house.  When we built our house, our lighting designer recommended 144 pot lights.  I did not think anything of it at the time but the problem with 144 pot lights in the house is there’s always light bulbs that need changing.

Changing light bulbs may sound simple enough but I have 10 foot ceilings and for someone that is 5’5, changing light bulbs is a bigger deal that standing on a chair or even a small ladder.  In the end, it feels good to get that off my to-do list.

My financial files

Lastly, I spent a good 8 hours getting my financial files organized.  I use a binder system and because 2011 and 2012 were such busy years of growth for the business, I was a little behind on my financial spreadsheets and organization.

I updated my net worth statement and reviewed my spending for 2012.  We made more money in 2012 and surprisingly spent less despite taking 3 good family holidays last year.  In the end, we had a healthy increase in our net worth because of improved stock markets and savings.

The bottom line

The new year is a great time to get organized.  When I think about finding balance in my life, the past few days have reminded me about the importance of simplification, purging and just spending time on getting organized.  Do you feel better when you are organized and when you get rid of stuff?

In the past 4 days, I’ve completed 4 pretty significant projects.  I think I’m ready to coast for the rest of the year.  Now how that for finding balance?

Written by Jim Yih

Jim Yih is a financial expert, columnist, best selling author and award winning blogger. He is also a Group Pension Consultant for Clearpoint Benefit Solutions.To learn more about Jim, visit and

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