Archive for the ‘organizational tools’ Category

Have a boo-tastic Halloween!

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

You might be a parent trying to make your child’s first Halloween as special as possible or perhaps you’re a seasoned holiday organizer. Whatever the case, these tips are sure to help make your Halloween boo-tastic!

1) Collaborate with your neighbours

Get in touch with other parents and friends in the neighbourhood and put something special together for the kids on Halloween night. This is a great way to come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas. Also, halloween decor can get expensive! Sharing the cost with neighbours will be lighter on the wallet, and dividing the stuff for storage will be easier on storage space too! Let’s not forget the time you will save by having others to help with all the planning and shopping.

2) Keep it healthy but fun

Whether you are going to send your children trick or treating or have them stay home in their ‘haunted house’, Halloween is nothing without some treats and candies. Parents are becoming more concerned with the high sugar intake on Halloween and for good reason. Healthy snacks can easily turn kids off, so get creative and find a happy balance. Look online for some ideas, we really liked these 9 healthy treats ideas . Don’t forget to keep some mini chocolates around the house!

3) You don’t need to buy new costumes each year

This holiday is signified by scary props and fun costumes. Don’t break the bank when buying costumes for the kids. Chances are they are not going to want to wear the same thing year after year and there’s a chance it will no longer fit. Throwing a sheet over your child and calling it a ghost costume might not be the way to go but cheaper alternatives like value stores are worth taking a look at or, similar to a tip from our last blog try swapping with other parents.

4) Let Taskhire make Halloween a little less scary this year

Like with most holidays, getting ready for Halloween can be a time consuming task. But have no fear, Taskhire is here! Our network of Task Runners can help you every step of the way. Be it putting up or taking down decorations, pumpkin carving or even handing out candy the day of – they can get it done.

Keeping it together for Fall

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

When Fall comes around we think of beautiful colored trees, kids back at school and the holiday season to come. However, Fall also brings with itself never-ending chores and housework and to top it all off the days get shorter. All of this can be a little overwhelming but a little focus and organization will do the trick. These 5 tips can help you get a jumpstart on the new season.

1) Pack

Pack away summer clothes, furniture and other items you won’t be using for a while (punch bowls, picnic baskets). Don’t forget to pack mothballs in the clothes boxes and seal them so that they will be as good as new next summer. This will create more closet space and  clutter-free cupboards.

2) Add storage space

Go through your closets, cupboards and different rooms in the house (kitchen, laundry room) and see where you could add shelves or other storage units to keep things in place and out of the way. Take a look at Ikeas online catalog for ideas. Keep in mind that Task Runners can go to Ikea, buy what you need and come and assemble/install it all for you, making this task as easy as 1 2 3!

3) Label

Apart from packing it is important to label as well. Label all your boxes, be it for clothes or kitchenware for easy retrieval at a later date. This simple tip can save you loads of time.

4) Maintain your Backyard

Next on our list is your backyard. All those beautiful leaves falling can create quite a mess. If you can’t find the time to rake them regularly then try to do it at least once or twice a week. You and your spouse can take turns or you canmake it a weekly family affair by having a mini picnic while doing it to make things more fun! If you’re short on time then don’t forget Task Runners are more than happy to help with raking leaves, pool cleaning and other outdoor work.

5) Get the kids involved

This is one of the best ways to reduce your workload at home and to teach your kids how to be responsible. Assign them simple tasks and tell them to take ownership of their things and keep them clean such as their room. It’s always a great idea to offer a reward for good behavior so treat your kids when they’ve completed their tasks or sign up with a website like HighScoreHouse to keep them motivated.

Remember: Things are only as hard as you make them out to be. A little organization and help from your loved ones can make your chores and tasks easier and more fun! For more on Fall organizing, see our recent newsletter.

6 tips for students: Get back into school mode

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

It’s back to school time! Whether you’re a freshmen or a high school senior, these simple tips will have you back in school mode in no time.

1. Get organized

The key to any fresh start is to first get organized. Browse through student-friendly apps like student life organizer for the iPhone or Complete class organizer for the iPad .

First try out some free versions on your smart phone or tablet to find one that works best for you. A notebook with empty pages would even suffice! Take note of your timetable early so you have time to get used to which classes you are taking and their timings and location beforehand. This will save you a lot of time searching for the classes on campus.

2. Get a head start

It’s a great idea to get a head start on your reading, so get your books early! This is very important, especially for university level students. We’re not saying to spend your last few days of summer studying, but try to familiarize yourself with chapter titles and important headings to get a good idea of what the semester holds. Also, browsing through the glossary is a smart way to get comfortable with new words and will keep you from feeling like you took a foreign language class ;)

3. Save money

Borrow books at your school library, or use a website such as Coursesmart that rents out books for a semester or lets you buy e-books. This can help you save up much needed cash. And don’t forget keeping a roommate (or two) and packing your own lunches will save you hundreds of dollars a month.

Keep detailed notes of your budget or try an app like “My student budget planner” .

4.  Earn money

You have to be creative when finding ways to earn money that work around your school schedule. Seasonal jobs like mowing lawns or shoveling snow are good ideas.

Don’t forget that you can become a Task Runner for Taskhire and do some odd jobs and errand running for the extra dough you need.

5. Find balance

School comes first, but we are fully aware that spending time with with friends is a big part of student life. Find balance in your work and play; forming study groups and offering yourself rewards for getting your work done are good starting points.

6. Sleep!

After late summer nights it can be hard for most students to reset the body clock but fret not, getting to bed just 20 minutes earlier each night will make it an easy transition. Not only will getting enough sleep keep you healthy and attentive during classes but waking up early may also put an end to your parking woes!

When your second semester is around the corner, set your classes earlier – time flies in the morning and you’ll have plenty of time for more fun after class!

The aforementioned tips will help keep you focused on what’s most important during school: Staying healthy, studying hard but studying smart and maintaining a productive balance. School is about learning, making friends and memories for life. Good luck!

5 Easy tips to get parents back into the school routine

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Its already mid August! Where does the time go? For most students, back to school is just around the corner, however it’s not just students who have to get back into the school mode, parents also have to change their schedules and work around that. Family routines usually slide during the summer but come fall its time to get back into the school routine and that can be a little overwhelming!

We have come up with 5 tips that can help you get back into the back to school mode and save time.

1) State the rules

Parents, its important to make your expectations clear at the start of the semester, for instance what time do you want the kids to have breakfast, dinner or their study schedule. Give them incentives to stick to their new schedules.

2) Early to bed and early to rise

We all know that during the holidays kids are given a little leeway when it comes to bedtime. So when school is about to begin, start getting the kids early to bed. Make it a smooth transition by putting them to bed twenty minutes earlier each night to make sure that you change their sleeping routine slowly.

3) Fully stocked

Make sure that you have a full supply when it comes to lunches, snacks and school supplies. Keeping lists and doing a small inventory check before you buy are simple ways to keep from over spending.

4) Be organized

Prepare lunches and help your kids organize their backpacks and lay out their clothes the night before.

5) Take it easy

It’s important to get back into routine but take it slow and easy. Preparation is great but don’t go overboard. Do make it a point to spend quality time with your child and encourage a balanced lifestyle in work and play.

Things get busy when the kids are back in school but there’s always clever ways to keep from cutting back on family time. Give these tips a try and let us know what works for you.

See our recent newsletter Stay cool during back to school http://conta.cc/p1kqlg

Minimize Your Post-Vacation Stress with Taskhire’s Help!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

It’s mid-July and if you haven’t found the time to travel just yet -but plan to soon- some pointers from Taskhire (with the help of our team of Taskrunners!) is just another way we can help you make sure your return from vacation is as painless as possible- nobody likes to get bogged down by post-vacation “coming-home” chores.  Taking our cue from Christina Peterson at GoodHouskeeping.com, here are a couple of ways Taskhire can help you stave off any post-traveling housekeeping.

If you’re leaving for paradise and you know the chores waiting for you at home, why not post a couple of tasks for our Taskrunners to complete for while you’re away.  It takes less than 2 minutes to post a task.  The peace of mind in knowing that your return from sun soaked beaches won’t be tarred by your neglected fridge or less-than-par state of your lawn.  Take the extra time you saved with Taskhire for one last escape to the pool, and help ease your way back into the swing of things.

Here are a couple of ideas:

1- Laundry:

While you’re taking the time to catch up on your email, set aside your laundry that needs washing for a Taskrunner to finish.  If you’re a family of three or more, you know how long of a process this than be with each member having traveled with their own suitcase.  Save yourself the grief and double your productivity by not having to pay special mind to the imminent task of laundry.

An example of some post-vacation laundry (apparently, this is after 2 loads of laundry had already been completed!)

An additional task can be for to wash and re-set the bedding of your household so that you’re first night back makes you feel like you were back at that “Bed & Breakfast” you weren’t quite ready to leave behind.

2 – Gardening and Lawn Upkeep

With temperatures surpassing 30* this summer, the last thing you want to do is be on your hands and knees weeding your garden or front yard.  Hire a Taskrunner to water or weed your garden for you.  That way you can spend your time inside tending to the other, more pressing needs of your home.  This would also be a great idea for all those households with allergies; don’t spend your time fighting allergens if you don’t have to!

3 -  Cleaning out your Fridge

Whether you’re on a 5 day cruise or you’ve been backpacking in Europe for the month, food in your fridge is not going to stay fresh forever.  In what is probably the most unsavory chore out of any post-vacation list of chores, hire a taskrunner to clean out your fridge.  Wouldn’t you rather spend your time marinating a couple of kebabs to BBQ later with your spare time?

These are but a few ideas Taskhire has up its sleeve to help you enjoy as much of your summer and time away from home as possible, helping make you feel happier and less stressed!

This Year, Stick to Your Resolutions! 8 Tips to Make It Happen

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

1) Make reasonable goals

Make goals you know you’ll be able to accomplish. It’s great to shoot for the stars, but you’ve gotta get off the ground first. If a resolution seems too overwhelming, it will be difficult to get started. Also, try making goals in stages. If your ultimate goal is “lose 45 pounds”, start with “lose 15 pounds” then once you get to it, make a second goal until you get to your ultimate one.

2) Make a resolution with a friend

It’s always easier to accomplish a goal when you and a friend can work together. It’s much less frightening starting at a new gym or to finish a school course when you have a friend to motivate and/or commiserate with you.
Can’t find someone brave enough to join you? Instead, try telling your friends your resolutions – tell everybody, the more people you tell, the more you’ll feel accountable for them. That way your friends will be likely to remind you of your goals just by casually inquiring, “So, how are you coming with [insert goal here]?”

Concerned your friends won’t help enough? There’s always the possibility of hiring a Task Runner to help keep you on track. Task runners can call or send motivational emails. They can also provide wake up calls or rides to the gym. You might even be able to find a gym partner!

3) Make specific resolutions

Instead of “eat healthier,” try “eat healthier by cutting out chips and soda” or “eat healthier by eating out less.” Making specific goals does a few things. Firstly, it makes that goal much more concrete. You have a goal, and you also have a path through which to reach that goal. Secondly, it gives you a way to start and takes away that difficult stage of “okay, I have a goal, what do I do now?”

4) Make a plan for your goal

You may have the best intentions to actually follow through with your resolutions this year, but without a step-by-step plan, you’ll find it difficult to know where to start. After making your more specific goal (“lose 15 pounds by working out” or “Make a comprehensive budget on Mint.com”) come up with a step-by-step plan to accomplish your goal. Example: “lose 15 pounds by working out 3 times a week” Plan: MWF 30 mins Strength, 30 mins Cardio from 5-6pm after work at X Gym on X Street. Step One: Sign up for Gym Membership. Step Two: Sign up for Personal Training Session. Step Three: Track Weight Loss (etc).
Without a plan, your goal will remain a vague idea that will turn into an excuse: “I don’t know where to start!”

5) Get an app for it

Smart phones have made following through with your resolutions so much easier because of the various applications available to track your goals. For example, Calorie Counter Fitness Pal takes in your weight loss goal and gives you a comprehensive plan to reach it. The Mint.com application helps you keep track of your budget – combining all your bank and credit cards in one place. Regardless your resolution – as they say in those annoying commercials – there’s an app for that.

6) Give yourself a deadline

This is very important. Without deadlines in mind, it will be easy to keep putting off your resolutions. And don’t give yourself all year. As we mentioned earlier in this article, make goals in stages. Start smaller and with a closer deadline. Of course, it’s good to keep the larger goal in mind as well. Example: “Lose 15 pounds by March, lose 45 by August.”

7) Work it into your Routine

The more work you put into your goal on a daily basis, the easier it will be in the future. Perhaps your goal is to keep your house cleaner and more organized – start making the conscious effort to put things where they belong the first time, instead of tossing things on your bed or couch. Eventually, it will become habit to put things away, and you won’t even have to think about it anymore.

Keep in mind that it’s perfectly reasonable to conquer only one goal at a time. Of course it’s going to feel impossible to eat healthier, go to the gym, quit smoking, and wake up earlier if you try to change all those things at once. Instead, try to figure out which of them is most affecting the others and start there. For example, perhaps if you go to sleep earlier you can wake up earlier and then you won’t feel the need to eat so much sugar or caffeine to stay awake during the day. That, in turn, will make you feel less stressed and it will become easier to quit smoking. Don’t expect your body to immediately adapt to the change, either. Our bodies need time to get over a dependency and that will certainly take a lot of effort and even pain on your part. Stick it out the best you can – everything gets easier after the first few weeks.

8) Start today!

There is no better day than today to get started on your resolutions. The more you put it off, the harder it will become to get started!

Mint.com: A Great Free Money-Management System

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Looking to make a budgeting resolution for 2011? Look no further than Mint.com. This little tool can go a long way in money and account management.

“See all your balances and transactions together, on the web or your phone. Mint automatically pulls all your financial information into one place, so you can finally get the entire picture.” (from Mint.com)

How it Works

6 Ways to Make your Career Search Successful

Friday, December 17th, 2010

In today’s economy, finding a job is difficult. Many people are settling for entry-level positions even though they have years of experience. In the spirit of making money and being efficient, Taskhire has brought you a list of ways to make your career search successful.

1) Take Advantage of Social Networking Tools

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress – are all great ways to expand your network. If you aren’t on one or more of these networks, then get moving!

LinkedIn – keep an updated profile, join groups, read postings & comment on them! Check to see who’s looking at your profile and take note of the types of people you attract, this will enable you to tweak your profile accordingly.

Twitter – follow people from your area in your industry. Start conversations with them. Remember, it’s perfectly normal to butt-in to conversations and to throw out random questions to people with a ton of followers.You might be ignored, but don’t let it discourage you – Twitter users like to communicate, share, and interact. The more you tweet, the more you’ll find people responding to you – even some of the twitter giants. It helps if you @ them with a relevant question that many of their followers may want to know.

WordPress – starting a blog is one of the best ways to get yourself heard – providing that you create relevant content and get the right people to read it. How do you do this? Well, first of all it’s important to establish your niche: what do people in your industry want to read about? By now you have presumably established who the major players are in your field/area – try to connect with them through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social media. Comment on their blogs, @ them with questions. Also, make sure there is a link to your blog on all of your media sites. If a person likes what you are tweeting, or finds your LinkedIn profile intriguing chances are, they’ll click on your blog to find out more about you. One they we wouldn’t recommend is tweeting at targeted people with the line, “Please read my new blog post” or something similar. Some people may be sympathetic and check it out, but chances are the majority will be annoyed and ignore or unfollow you.

Your main goal online in relation to your online job search should be to form or become part of a community of professionals from your industry. Arrange meet-and-greets and connect with those who can point you in the right direction for some great job opportunities. The beauty of online networking is that A) you have a very wide – endless, almost – arena to connect through B) you have the opportunity to tailor exactly how people will perceive you, and C) you have nothing to lose by trying to connect with notable people online. After all, how will they respond if you don’t make the first move?

2) Get Involved in the Community

You may be thinking, “I need to be looking for a job. I don’t have time for anything else.” But the truth is, the more involved you become in your community, the more likely you’ll meet that right someone who can recommend you to another right someone who has a job available in the field you’re looking for. Try volunteering for a local program or library. Join a sports league, a book club, a worship center – anything that will help you meet people.

Putting yourself out there and attempts to make friends with strangers may be a little bit intimidating, but you never know when that person may lead you to a job or internship that will send your career in the right direction. Learn to be friendly. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, check out a book like The Art of Mingling by Jeanne Martinet to give you some tips. When you meet someone new, keep your job goals in mind and see if you can steer your conversation in that direction, but don’t make it all about you. Try and bring something to the table too. Get in the habit of helping people you meet connect with people you know that could help them – even if they can’t help you. Ideally, if you help them out, they will keep you in mind for any opportunities they come across that might interest you in the future.

One other thing to explore is your family’s networks. You never know when Dad’s best friend’s boss has an opening in the field in which you’re looking. Most people are interested in helping someone to whom they are connected – however vaguely. If you discover a helpful connection, send them a kind email inquiring about their work. Again, the worst that can happen is that they don’t respond or say there’s nothing available. You’ll never know unless you try.

3) Keep an updated CV

This one is a no-brainer. One of the last things an employer wants to see is a big gap on your CV. You will almost definitely get a “what happened here?” during the interview. Even if you weren’t employed for a little while, you were certainly doing something, and most employers are looking for a well-rounded employee. So perhaps that volunteer position you held for a little while could add to your credentials. Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd. A CV is not just about work experience.

Keep your CV clear and to the point. Only have relevant information included to the job for which you are applying and not more than two pages. Try to use interesting verbs to describe your past work experience – make every point an accomplishment. For instance, if you worked as a Barista, instead of simply listing your duties: “Made coffee drinks, worked register, restocked shelves” etc, show your potential employer how you applied your unique skills to the job: “Operated XYZ Coffee and Espresso Machine, Interacted with customers and Managed ABC Cafe Register System during daily rush-hour line-ups in popular cafe.”
See the difference? The second option is much more interesting, points to specifics, and it’s only half a line longer. Not to mention your potential boss will likely appreciate your attention to detail.

4) Reply Promptly

There is absolutely nothing more important than replying to a job ad as soon as possible. The number of people looking for jobs strongly out-weighs the number of available jobs. Stay alert for new job postings, it is to your advantage to apply within 24 hours of the posting time. Because of the recent economic downturn and subsequent mass lay-offs, many people are applying for jobs for which they are way over-qualified. Because of the number of over-qualified applicants, it is very likely that the employer will find a match for the position quickly – in probably not more than a week or so. So if your name is at the bottom of the interview list, chances are the job will be filled before the employer gets to you.

What can you do about this? If you’re looking for a job, you should be spending almost as much time on that job search as you would have spent at work. So if that means 40hrs/week, then do it. Be diligent. Troll job sites, and respond to ads you’re interested in immediately after you find them. Waiting until you “have time to write an amazing cover letter” may actually hurt you in the long run. Learn to prioritize which potential jobs are most important to you. Focus your writing skills on those jobs, and send more form-like covers to the others.

5) Find an Internship

If you have enough money to sustain yourself for a few months, taking an internship is a great way to break into a new field or a new place.  And believe it or not, some internships can be quite competitive to get, even the unpaid ones. But think of it this way: you can spend 6 months trying to find a job through traditional methods (sending your CV, making cold calls, responding to job ads) and still end up with a less-than-ideal job, OR you can spend 3 months working and training for free in an environment that will A) Help you make connections in your industry and B) Possibly lead to a job offer. Just make sure that the internship is relevant to the field in which you plan to work.

Oftentimes, start-up companies will have short-term positions or internships to offer. These positions are a great way to get your foot in the door in a particular industry or to get a feel for building a company from the ground up. Next Montreal has upcoming events that are filled with tech startup entrepreneurs.

6) Show Your Personality and Individuality

In order to get the job you really want, sometimes you have to go in with a “take it or leave it” attitude. Give your application 110% – express your creativity and uniqueness. If you do/say something creative in your cover letter, chances are you’ll get noticed. Sometimes allowing your personality to shine through will help you stand out from the rest, and chances are high that you’ll get at least a few positive reactions. So use your judgment and find ways to stand out from the crowd.

A word to the wise – avoid making jokes – it’s difficult to sense sarcasm or humor through text without clues from your body language and tone of voice. Also, remember that you must be more formal when applying for some jobs over others, for example: a job as a paralegal vs a job as a barista.

A note on cover letters: Try creating a few different cover letters and stay away from cookie cutter templates. Keep them short and sweet. Personalize – avoid to whom it may concern, and remember that using “Dear” is appropriate. In cases where the name is not available, dear hiring manager is acceptable. Invite the reader to want to know what your CV is all about. Outline your expertise and qualifications relevant to the job and/or industry. Include the position you are applying for and avoid repeating info included in your CV.


Got any other great job search tips? Leave a note in the comments!

Save Money: Outsource!

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

If you’re like most people, you never seem to have enough time in the day to finish everything. Sometimes you feel like you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off: drop the kids at daycare/school, head to work, work tirelessly, pick up the kids, take them to their various activities, go home to work on that report, pick up the kids, make dinner, clean up, go to bed and do it all again the next day.

Busy Mom

When are you ever going to have time to paint the bathroom? How can you plan your best friend’s birthday when you don’t have time to get decorations from the store? What about all that stuff piling up in your basement – when will you get around to organizing it?

Ever considered getting someone else to do your chores?

Why not outsource your chores? Isn’t that when you make people in India answer calls for your business, you ask?  Well, not necessarily.  What did you do when your lawn needed mowing – You asked your neighbor’s kid to do it, right? That’s outsourcing. You didn’t have time to mow your lawn, so you got somebody else to do it at a price you could afford.

Doesn’t that cost a lot in the long run, though?

Let’s think of it this way: how much is your time worth? Let’s say you get paid $30/hr at work. You need your bathroom painted, and you find someone to do it for $10/hr. If your time is valued at $30/hr, you are being more cost efficient to hire that person at $10/hr than to do it yourself.

How much is your health worth? Reducing the amount of chores you have to do will free up a lot of time for you to spend with your friends and family. You’ll reduce your workload, reduce your worry, reduce your stress, and increase your free time and family time.

Wouldn’t it be so convenient if a database of chore-doers existed?

It does – Taskhire.ca!

What’s so great about Taskhire?

We’re community-based. Using our service is just like going next door to ask your neighbor’s kid if he wants to mow your lawn. All of our users have profiles with their interests, a picture, as well as feedback from other task posters that have hired them. Taskhire does all of the work for you – we provide you with a database of task runners in your area for you to choose from. We allow you to leave feedback for your task runner, and to review feedback from others. Posting an ad is free and enables users to connect with task runners at no cost.

Sign up!

So what are you waiting for? We’ve got hundreds of users just waiting to lend a helping hand! Post your ad today on Taskhire.ca.