Taming the Messy Monster: Bringing Order to Your World

Order relates to your level of organization: your ability to sort, filter, and process information effectively. It also involves your ability to find what you want when you want it, and how tidy your work area looks -- especially to the people who matter.  Here are a few ideas to help you control the paper, email, reading material, and inputs that flow into your office. 1. Realize that some people aren't born more organized than others. Understand that organization is a skill that can be learned, just like riding a bike. Getting organized is a process of trial, error and persistence, but you can master it if you're serious about it. 2. Keep a clutter-free work surface. You don't have to be creative and disorganized, if you're willing to learn and the pain is bad enough. No matter … [Read more...]

It’s About Time

Its About Time Pareto is very busy in the sales world.  You know the 80-20 rule.  In this case, it means that only 20% of salespeople spend 80% of their time on selling activities.  Are you in this group?  See if you recognize yourself.  If not, here’s how you can join the group.       Put your fingers on it fast.  Laura Stack is a professional speaker and author of Leave the Office Earlier® and Find More Time.  She sees several time wasters that cost salespeople valuable selling time.  One of the biggest time wasters is lacking a system to track client history.  The system should include notes on conversations that took place, with whom, and when they took place.  Stack says, “To be truly organized you should be … [Read more...]

Lean and Mean in 2008: Go on a Low-Information Diet

Pretty much anybody you ask will tell you they’re pressed for time. There just aren’t enough hours to get it all done, yadda yadda yadda.  So we prioritize, streamline, and simplify.  You can improve your efficiency until you’re blue in the face, not to mention very tightly wound, but you still aren’t addressing one of the biggest time and energy wasters in your day: incoming information.  As my 12-year-old daughter, Meagan, would text on her phone: “TMI” (translation: Too Much Information). If the 21st century has brought us anything, it is WAY too much information. You can watch several channels full of cable news 24 hours a day. You can surf the internet on any topic until you can’t see straight. Most people could heat their home with the amount of junk mail they receive … [Read more...]

How to systematically organize and declutter any area

It always amuses me how many people get inspired to get organized come the New Year.  It's as if 1/1 somehow had a magical connotation.  What was wrong with 4/16 or 11/8?  For whatever reason—POOF all of a sudden you're ready.  But, hey, at least it's getting done, so bring it on. What you don't want to happen, however, is a massive shopping trip to buy bins, baskets, gadgets, etc., if you have no plan on how to use them and implement your system.  Your new organizational tools can now create more piles and even more clutter.  Clutter is not always a problem that can be solved by bins.  That can make it even worse. Here's how I would systematically declutter an area.  Get five sturdy boxes.  Label them: 1.     Put Away—items that are out of place and should be put away 2.     Give … [Read more...]

Jot-It: a Nice Alternative for Post-It Notes

I just received a sample product from Cocoa Living called Jot-It, a desktop writing board.  Pretty neat concept.  Takes the place of putting sticky notes all over the place.  If you're the type that writes on scraps of paper, a corner of your desk calendar, or the bottom of the whiteboard hanging on the wall, this could work for you.  It's essentially a whiteboard on an angled desktop frame where you write notes to yourself, things to do, a phone number to call, etc., and then erase them with the built-in Expo marker eraser when you're done.  The clear top lifts up and allows you to put one of several lined templates underneath to keep things neat.  While I wouldn't use it personally, since I capture notes in my DayTimer(R), it would be good for a … [Read more...]

Parents Want Help Helping Kids Learn Time Management

The back-to-school season is a time of change in a kid’s life. New schedules, new activities, new friends--both parents and children need to learn how to adjust to all the change. From the first day of elementary school throughout high school, kids have school assignments, sports, music and theater practices, social activities and home obligations thrust upon them with the expectation that they will magically know how to do it all. However, without the proper guidance and an easy-to-use system, it is easy for children and parents to get overwhelmed. In fact, in a recent DayTimers® survey on back-to-school resolutions, 72% of parent respondents said they wanted to improve their time management skills.  And the best way to learn is to teach it.  Teaching children time … [Read more...]

Being Productive While Working Out of a Suitcase

Being Productive While Working Out of a Suitcase

Not everyone has the natural ability to live out of a suitcase or do business from a laptop bag. However, with a little practice, you can learn how to make the most of your travel time. It’s amazing what you can get done when you put some miles between yourself and the usual distractions of everyday life.So how do you make the most of your time away? Here are some tips that work for me. I hope a few of them will help you become as efficient when you’re away from the office as you are when you’re there.Pack efficiently. It all starts with being organized and thinking ahead. Did you ever stay up half the night packing and spend an entire trip frustrated, exhausted, and wondering what it is you forgot? Don’t let it happen again. It’s pretty rare that a trip will pop up at the last minute, but … [Read more...]

What color scheme is best for personal productivity: decorating your office for productivity

Investigate the link between color and worker productivity, and you'll keep coming across the name of Dr. Nancy Kwallek, Director of the Interior Design program at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture. In a recent study, she had workers do mundane clerical tasks in offices with several different color schemes and discovered that white is absolutely the worst color for productivity—at first. After being exposed to an all-white environment for a while, most workers adjusted just fine. For those who could screen out their environment from the beginning, however, bright colors were more effective, since they seem to stimulate people in general. Those more easily distracted by the environment did better in rooms painted a cooler color, like blue-green. Ultimately, however, … [Read more...]

Find More Time to Socialize: 8 Time-Savers for a Better Social Life

Here's a great article in Fitness Magazine.com on how to make time for your friends and family without getting overscheduled.  Oh, wait!  I'm quoted in it.  :-)  Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Workstation design: creative or unprofessional?

I'm quoted in the Alabama Press-Register in an article by Kaija Wilkinson called "Express Yourself," discussing productivity in office cublicles or "workstations" as they are called today.  She discusses how neat they should be, configuration, use of personal items, and design.  Pretty good article.  I come across as a bit of a neat freak, so I wanted to provide some additional commentary on why I think it's a good idea to maintain a neat workstation. Order is your ability to sort, filter, and process information effectively. It’s also your ability to FIND what you want, when you want it. It’s how tidy your work areas look, inside and out. I believe a messy office is a career detriment. I can’t tell you how many negative comments I hear, such as, … [Read more...]