Closing The Loops

Today we feature guest columnist Monica Ricci.  If you enjoy this article, I recommend you subscribe to her blog's feed: Monica Ricci's Your Life: Organized.  Closing The Loops Several months ago, a thought whizzed through my head and it was "Life is a series of getting things out and putting them away."  This is what I call "closing the loops". If you think of a loop, maybe you picture a circle or an oval. All smooooth and sexy, the curves... of a loop will never hurt you and the curvy shape is easy on your eyes. No, there's nothing about a closed loop that hurts! Now, contrast a nice smooth, wonderful closed loop with an open loop. Open loops are all those little things unfinished that you left for yourself to deal with "later". The remnants of breakfast from this morning that you never … [Read more...]

How to Set Up an Effective Office Space in Your Home

I’ve worked full-time from my home since 1992 and can’t imagine doing it any other way. Whether you work full time out of your home, occasionally telecommute, catch up on work in the evening, or run a household, you need some sort of dedicated “office” space in your home. Offices can serve as the family computer center, a place to do paperwork, and the occasional work-at-home office. The first big question is where to locate your home office. Until the last few years, most builders didn’t catch on to the popularity of a built-in home office. If you have a computer, you probably need more than an antique writing desk in the living room. But if you only use your “office” to pay bills, write letters, and return phone calls, you can get away with a corner of the kitchen. In most homes, … [Read more...]

Clear the clutter to free your emotional energy and liberate your past

Look around you, at work and home. Do you feel overjoyed or annoyed? Your environment affects your moods, attitudes, emotions, and energy level. What things sap your energy? You need to figure out ways to reduce, eliminate, or change your environment, so that it lifts you up rather than brings you down. These tidbits might help. 1. Clear the clutter. This requires effort and can be time-consuming, but the real reason people dread clearing clutter is emotional attachment -- and because you no idea how to organize what you keep. Focus first on the areas of the home that are most important to your health and vitality, especially the bedroom. 2. Thin out the incoming stream. We all have a constant stream of mail and new possessions coming into our lives. If you don't develop a regular habit … [Read more...]

Me, You, and the Handheld

These days, most of us use handheld technology in all aspects of our daily lives, blurring the boundaries between work and home. Has this made you feel more overworked and less energized? If so, you need to learn how to break free from technology, turn it off regularly, stop letting it control you, and unplug in ways that boost your energy. Let's chat about your electronic habits, and about how to regain control. 1. Plan your screen time and stick to it. It's unnatural to focus on a computer or TV screen for hours on end instead of interacting with people. Yet this is precisely what most people do -- and the subsequent feelings of social isolation and depression can be quite damaging to your energy level. 2. Put your life first. Don't let technology eat up your free time; technology … [Read more...]

Keep Up with Daily Responsibilities: Get Back to Your Post, Soldier!

In the military, your job or position is known as your Post. Even if you're not in the military, a well-defined Post is an important pillar of personal productivity. When you do your job well, other things in your life fall into place more smoothly. When this pillar is weak, your personal responsibilities seem to get in the way of life. Try these tips for defining and handling your life responsibilities. 1. Hire out tasks requiring a level of expertise you don't have. You don't have to do everything yourself, especially when there are people available who can do it better for a price. You can outsource just about anything these days. 2. Hire out simple chores to helpers. Most people don't have the time to work full-time and do all the housework too -- so don't hesitate to hire it out if … [Read more...]

The Paperless Office? What a Joke!

No matter how technologically savvy we become, we can't seem to eliminate paper. In fact, studies estimate that we generate up to ten times more paper than we did before the advent of the computer! How much of that paper is sitting in stacks on multiple surfaces all over your home and office?  To tame those mountains of paper, try throwing these ideas at them. 1. Consistently purge your files without fear. Before you embark on an overhaul of your filing systems, purge all the old junk first. Why spend time dealing with paper you're just going to toss anyway? 2. Create and maintain a filing system that allows you to find papers easily. If you can't find a particular piece of paperwork when you need it, it might as well not exist. Pick a logical filing scheme and follow it … [Read more...]

Who’s in Charge: You or Your “Stuff”?

Do you own your possessions, or do your possessions own you? It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the stuff you've accumulated -- everything from toys and clothing, to tools and all the stuff you regularly use that still counts as clutter. If you're tired of all your stuff weighing you down, here are some ideas that may help you regain control. 1. Have a systematic plan to get and stay organized. The key to getting organized is FOCUS. Focus on getting one thing completed before moving to the next area. Act like a postage stamp: stick to one thing until you get there. 2. Eliminate clutter and resist adding more. Don't let your belongings control you. For a start, get rid of unhappy reminders from the past, stop keeping old magazines and newspapers, and don't buy things just because they're … [Read more...]

Time management is dead: The new reality of productivity

We’ve all been there. There’s mail piled up on the corner of your desk. You have 37 unread e-mails. The phone is ringing (not that phone – the other phone). And you’ll be lucky if you can get through three of the fifteen items on your to-do list.Oh – and you have four hours of meetings ahead of you.It didn’t used to be this way. The world has changed in the last decade or so. Has your approach to time management changed with it?If you find yourself stressed out and frustrated every time you try to hunker down and take control of your time, there’s a good chance that’s because you need a new way to think about time management. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to force yourself to work within a system that just isn’t compatible with the pace of your day or the nature of your work. Just … [Read more...]

Catalog Choice Lets You Decide What You Want to Receive

I like a new service by Catalog Choice, in which you decide which catalogs you want to receive.  When you receive a catalog you don't want, you enter it on your account and select "Decline Catalog."  They contact the merchant on your behalf and request that they no longer send you their catalog. Reduce the number of catalogs you receive in the mail!  One-stop-shop method keeps you from having to unsubscribe to each one individually---a real time saver! … [Read more...]

How to Concentrate: Act Like a Postage Stamp and Stick To It!

Nowadays, so many things compete for your attention in the workplace that it can be hard to concentrate on what's important. If you need to improve your ability to stay on target and focus on the task at hand, implement the tips outlined below. 1. Set up your office for maximum productivity and minimum distractions. You need privacy to concentrate and discuss sensitive issues. Don't just take what you're given; reorganize it into a configuration that works best for you. 2. Avoid wasting time by daydreaming. Daydreaming can be a real productivity bandit -- but as long as you don't use it to procrastinate, it can be very helpful. Harness its creative powers, and use it for thinking time that can lead to productive ideas. 3. Remember things more easily. Busy people need good memory … [Read more...]