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Archive for productivity

5 Spring cleaning and organizing tips for your home office

Spring cleaning your home office can lead you in many directions.  Perhaps:

  • your inbox is inundated,
  • your files are filled or
  • your time management is missing.

You need to start somewhere so let’s start with the S.P.A.C.E. that houses your office.

Look around your office and start:

1. Sorting the items that are visible into groups of papers, books, office supplies, client files, product, advertising materials etc.

Start with the visible clutter first.

2. Pair down each pile to the items that are current and recycle or shred the rest.

3. Assign a convenient place to store your resources.  If you use them often keep them near your desk, if they are used infrequently store them further way but still in your office.  If they are never referred to but needed for tax or legal purposes they can be stored in another room.

4. Take each of those piles and select the best Container for keeping the items organized, binders, magazine holder, bins, boxes etc.

 

Organize with binders

Organize with bins

Organizing for the person who likes to see everything, the visual person

 

 

5. Evaluate your new S.P.A.C.E.to make sure it will help you be more efficient, productive and profitable this year.

 

 

Share one of your office organizing tips in the comment box.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Organize Your Work Schedule with an Interruption-Free Hour

Many people realize that multitasking is not the best way to get work completed.  However they experience many small interruptions in their day, e-mail, texting and phone calls that take away from concentrating on a project.

These small tasks, added together, use up your work day.

“Drive by” conversations, when  colleagues  stop by your desk or stop you in the hall and give you information also take time away from important tasks to be completed. As well the information may be forgotten or lost.

Being interrupted by colleagues stoppingto chat can cost you a lot of valuable time.

Some offices have designated a specific time of the day for working on projects. It is an interruption free time to concentrate on work during which employees can’t send or answer emails, texts, phone calls, attend meetings, etc.  Each office is different so the designated time maybe office wide or scheduled into each person’s work day, week, or month individually.  It is important that this time and format is respected by your colleagues and supported by management.  You maybe surprised how much you can get done in one hour with no interruptions and your full concentration on one task at a time.

Contact Julie at Mind over Clutter to come and speak at your office.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Paper or Electronic To Do Lists, What Keeps You Organized?

Check Your List

People have tried to find electronic solutions for most things that used to be done by paper.  However would a paper To Do list work better for you than an electronic one?  Here is a thought provoking blog post on the topic.  Which ever system works best for you, you must check your list. People will make lists but not look at them.  Use a system that keeps your to do list on your mind.

Why the Old-School Paper To-Do List Is Superior as a Productivity Tool (& How to Make It Work for You in Under 5 Minutes)
 There are lots of styles of To Do Lists, let me help you find the one the works for you during an in person or virtual appointment.

 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Need a New Style Binder for Organizing?

Samsill  2-in-1 and 3-in-1 Organizers

Samsill  has a 2-in-1 organizer and a 3-in 1-organizer.   They are binders with a section of 7 clear plastic accordion style dividers and a fold-over cover with an elastic closure to hold the organizer closed.  They come in a variety of colours.

1 Inch 3 Ring Binder + 7 Pocket Accordion Style Expanding File + Hanging File -

1 Inch 3 Ring Binder + 7 Pocket Accordion Style Expanding File + Hanging File –

There are very few differences between the 2 products.  The 3 in 1 organizer has 4 slide out clips that allows you to hang the binder in your filing cabinet.  The clips lock into position making it easy to use them. This function makes storing the files neat, tidy and easy to retrieve.  No more shelves of binders that slide and tip over every time you remove one.

The binder has clips to hang in a filing drawer.

The binder has clips to hang in a filing drawer.

 

The 2-in-1 organizer has tabs on the top of each file section making it easy for labelling. It also has 2 elastic closures so you can open just the file section or just the binder section.  This is helpful as it prevents any loose papers from falling out when you open the binder section.

In addition to the clips to hang it in a filing cabinet, the 3-in-1 organizer has tabs only on 3 file sections for easy labelling and one elastic closure.

The fold over lid is quite stiff and initially caused me some problem but if you fold it open and re-crease the fold the lid will stay back and make it easy to access the plastic file section.  The files hold paper that is exactly 8 ½  by 11 inches.  If you have manuals or slightly large paperwork you may need to trim it.

Fold over lid keeps document secure.

Fold over lid keeps document secure.

At first you may be fooled and think the elastic closure won`t stay closed because the elastic is loose. The elastic closure works well when the organizer contains paperwork making the elastic tighter.

The elastic closure hooks securely onto the front of the binder

The elastic closure hooks securely onto the front of the binder

The file sections are open at the bottom edge, it is not a pocket.  Some small items may slide under the edge and into the next section.  If this is a problem for you try using an envelope to hold small items in the file section. The dividers are flexible and bend slightly making it is hard to get paper to slide easily into the correct section.  As you get used to it and you have more paper in the sections it becomes quite easy to use.

This may be the perfect product if you have large client files.  You can record your ongoing notes, to do lists, reference information in the binder section and use the file section for billing, receipts, marketing material, information to give to the client, calculator, and ipad.etc.  It would also be a great networking tool.  You can have a place for notes, following up with clients after a meeting, recording upcoming events and to do lists and file all your marketing material. It would always be ready to go when a networking event arises.   Having the binder and file system in one organizer gives you the flexibly of storing paperwork in the way that suits your preferred style and the paper best. You can pick it up and go and look like you are ready to work.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca  www.mindoverclutter.ca

The Fatique Factor affects Productivity

The fatigue factor affects productivity

By Harold Taylor

Working long hours makes you good at one thing – working long hours. It does not increase either your efficiency or effectiveness. Any anticipated increase in personal productivity is usually offset by a lower work pace, additional errors, more frequent self- generated distractions, decreased creativity, and a decline in energy and motivation.

Long hours can reduce productivity

Long hours can reduce productivity

If the increased working hours, reduces the total amount of sleep that one gets, it could also impact their physical and mental health – causing obesity, diabetes, memory impairment, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a weakened immune system.

Sleep deprivation can affect your health

Sleep deprivation can affect your health

Total output does not vary directly with the amount of time worked. If you cut one third off your working hours for instance, you would not cut one third off your output. In fact, for those people working 12 hour per day, a reduction to eight hours may not result in any perceivable drop in total output. Productivity, (output per hour) would actually increase.

Overwork, lack of sleep and energy drain can cause accidents as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US estimates that drowsy drivers cause 100,000 accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1550 fatalities each year.

In January of 2011 an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Zurich made a sudden descent, injuring 14 passengers and two crew members when a fatigued pilot mistakenly believed the plane was on a collision course with another aircraft.

In general, people need to shorten their working hours and lengthening their sleeping and resting hours – and this usually entails turning off their electronic devices sooner at night

Do you need organizing solutions for your home office?

MIND OVER CLUTTER is offering a free 30-minute Virtual Organizing Session.

Mind over Clutter logoHere’s how it works:

1. We book a virtual appointment with video chat: Skype, Face Time, Google Hangout, Facebook video or send me photos or a video and chat on the telephone
2. You show me your home office.
3. I recommend solutions for  your organizing dilemmas.

Contact me to take advantage of this free introductory offer via JULIE@MINDOVERCLUTTER.CA

5 Myths about Being Organized

Myth 1 Organization is a born talent

Organization is a skill. If you have the right resources or support it is really quite easy. Some tasks at home can be simplified so they are not so over whelming and time consuming.  Here is one small example about meal planning.

  1. Pick your menu for the week
  2. From the menu make your shopping list
  3. Now you don’t need to decide what to make each morning or evening and you can take out of the freezer the items you need for later in the day.
  4. After you have done this for a number of weeks or months you can start recycling your plan.  This makes it even easier as you just pull up an already completed menu plan.

    Plan a menu then build your grocery shopping list.

    Plan a menu then build your grocery shopping list.

Myth 2 – Organized space is neat, tidy, minimal and boring.

Organized spaces should reflect your personality and lifestyle. If you can’t enjoy the space then you won’t take care of it.

Myth 3 –Getting organized is an overwhelming, hopeless chore

No matter what you’re organizing, no matter how daunting the task or how huge the backlog, getting organized boils down to developing a predictable process which you can reproduce. You follow your process and organize the current things you are using and then each time you’re organizing, work for a little time on the backlog.

Develop processes that work for you, can you can stay organized.

Develop processes that work for you, so you can stay organized.

Myth 4 -It’s impossible to stay organized

Organizing is sustainable, if your system is built around the way you think and designed to grow and adapt with you.  Here are some tips:

  1. If it only takes 30 seconds , do it right away if not add it to your to do list
  2. Most unorganized people don’t notice things are in the “wrong place.” Look and do a mental check to see if everything has been returned to its assigned space.
  3. Use spare minutes wisely.  Have a list of small tasks that can be completed quickly when you are waiting for meeting, appointments, trains, planes, children, elderly parents.
  4. Use your lists to record: things to do , to call, to e-mail and errands .  Check the list don’t just write it down.

Myth 5 Organizing is a non-productive use of your time.

You can’t afford to not be organized. A national survey conducted by Professional Organizers in Canada in 2010, indicates 91% of disorganized Canadians feel that disorganization negatively impacts their lives – with a large focus on feelings of stress, frustration and even failure. According to a study by a Boston marketing firm, the average American loses 55 minutes a day, roughly 12 weeks a year, looking for things they know they own but can’t find.  Newsweek, June 7, 2004.”

Leave me a comment about what is stopping you from becoming organized.

Is it Possible- Family and Running A Business?

Time to schedule, words on blank board hold by a young girl in the outdoor.

Scheduling helps you to use your time in blocks and avoid scattering single tasks throughout the day leaving small segments of unproductive time.

My tip for moms running their businesses from home is about time management.

Running a business and organizing a household is a complex task.  Time management is the key to success and sanity.  Scheduling everything will help:

  • tasks to get completed,
  • commitments to be honoured
  • and make arriving ontime possible

However scheduling everything can be overwhelming initially.  Start by using only one calendar, paper or electronic, for all the activities in your schedule. Try a “clearing your mind” task.  This involves writing down everything you have to do.  Record one task per line on your paper or one  task per entry until you have everything recorded.  Include, exercise, work appointments, social commitments, bill payments, household tasks, children’s commitments, social media, doctor appointments, marketing, networking, trip to the park, birthday parties etc.  After you have them recorded, go back to the top of your list and write the date and time (schedule) when you will complete the task.  Put all of these dates on your calendar remember to include travel time when you schedule tasks.  As you look at your calendar you will be able to determine how much time you have each day, month and year available for the activities that are important to your life, family and business.  It will help to put time into perspective and help determine why you might be feeling:

  • overwhelmed
  • overworked
  • bored
  • tired
  • successful
  • energized
  • excited
  • frustrated

Once you start to schedule everything, it will become easier because many of the entries will be recurring each day, week, month or year.  They will be in your calendar and only new items will need to be add to your schedule.  This will provide a structure that you can rely on to help you with the complex task of running a business and organizing a household.

 

Is Multitasking Productive?

People believe they can multi-task because the body can do a physical activity and a cognitive activity at the same time.  So people are able to walk and talk, run and listen to a book etc.  The brain does not do two cognitive tasks at the same time.  The brain switches between tasks, very quickly.  Every time the brain switches task it must determine how much  of the task has been completed and what the next step would be and then continue with the task.  This time contributes to the slowing down of completing the two tasks.  If the brain works on one task at a time it completes it without delay.  Try it, put an article in front of you and something to write.  Do them both at the same time and time how long it takes you  to get the two tasks done. You will notice that you will keep going over the material to see where you left off as your concentration shifts between the task.   Next do each task separately and time how long it takes to complete both task.  In order to stop multitasking, plan your work schedule and remove the distraction of other work, e-mails, twitting, phone calls, televisions, music etc.

Bar graph showing error made during multitasking activities

More errors are made when people multitask

 

Organizing Your Mind

In Harold Taylor’s newsletter www.taylorintime.com , May 2014,  he talked about Organizing your Mind to create the life you want.

By Harold Taylor

It’s more important to organize your mind than your desk or house. You can always walk away from your desk or house; but you can never walk away from your mind. We must first accept the fact that time is not life, as many of us in the past may have suggested; it is merely the medium through which life passes. And life, as you experience it, is not something that happens to you, but something that happens because of you. You create the life you will experience – good, bad or indifferent – by what you believe, how you think, and what you do.

To create the life that you want, you must first organize your mind. And you do this by clearing it of all the worldly clutter that keeps it preoccupied and constantly distracted. One way of doing this is to engage in a 15 or 20-minute mind-clearing session each morning after you get up and are fully dressed. Don’t do it while you are still in bed and half asleep. This is too important. It will determine how the rest of the day goes. And life takes place in a series of days.

Complete your morning ritual of breakfast, getting the kids off to school, putting out the garbage or whatever your morning routine entails. Then sit comfortably in your favourite chair, and without trying to rid your mind of the random thoughts that will invariably invade it, do the following six things in succession.

  1.  Relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and just be aware of the miracle that is you.
  2. Give thanks for all that you have and have had in the past. Don’t rack your brain trying to think of everything – just those that come to mind quickly.
  3. Forgive anyone who has hurt or offended you.
  4. Offer up ten-second prayers, blessings or good wishes for at least three other people each day.
  5. Think positive thoughts about all your future plans, opportunities and endeavors,
  6. Decide and confirm how you will spend the next hour of your life. This may already be scheduled in your planner or you may choose something different.

The reason for doing these six things will be explained in the next article in this series on holistic time management. But the reason will probably become clear to you as you progress through each day.

Whether you call this session meditation, mindfulness, or “being in the now” is immaterial. What is important is that you continue to do it each day, modifying it as you go along, until it becomes your unique morning routine. And how you spend the next hour of each day will eventually create the life that you will lead.

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area