Archive for productivity

The truth about multitasking

Do you feel like you have too many tabs open in your brain?

Image by Jason-Salmon

Psychologists have described flow as an ecstatic feeling, being totally engaged with an activity you enjoy. Good productivity habits minimize interruptions in flow.

The average American uses up to 3 mobile devices daily. The untethering of people to these devises has made productivity shoot up. Multitasking slows down your productivity because moving from unfinished task to unfinished tasks means every time, you need to look back to see where you left off and where to start and all those seconds add up to minutes decreasing your productivity by up to 40%.

Only about 2% of people can successfully multi-task Click To Tweet

Slow down to be more productive

People also need time to think and reflect on their work so they can be more intentional and less reactive.

Sometimes, task switching is unavoidable –  an important  phone call at work or children hurt themselves at home. Whenever it’s possible, try to limit distractions and block out time to work on a specific task, and only that task.

Multi-tasking is seen as a badge of honour but really, it slows down everything and creates open loops in the day.  Reteaching yourselves and your children how to focus on one thing at a time is going to be the single most critical skill for the next few decades.  When focus remains on a single task, it can be completed, producing  a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

Physical vs mental multi-tasking

Brain research indicates that you can have several motor programs running at the same time. (Your Creative Brain ) So you can steer your car, talk to passengers and adjust your rear view mirror simultaneously. Unfortunately you can only focus your conscious mental attention to one of these things at a time. You can multitask physically, but not mentally.  We think sequentially so we should work sequentially.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Click here  to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

 

Organize your life with a desk calendar

Don’t ditch your desk calendar: The benefits of handwriting events and tasks

My guest blogger this week is Jessica Pyykkonen.

Even with hundreds of available apps to help organize your life, a paper desk calendar may be just what you need to stay on top of your work schedule. Despite dire predictions, desk calendars are thriving in the digital age. Furthermore, desk calendars may even be gaining some ground. Between 2014 and 2016, the sales of calendars jumped 8 percent and the sales of planners grew 10 percent.

Why are people sticking with or rediscovering paper? As organizational guru David Allen says, “There’s still no tool better than a paper planner.” Scheduling with pen and paper even offers some advantages over digital calendars. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of analog scheduling and discover tips to improve your desk calendar.

The brain-hand connection

Typing and handwriting may seem similar, but our brains handle the two activities differently. Because handwriting requires you to make sequential strokes to form each letter, it activates large regions of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory. The same is not true for typing a letter on a keyboard.

In one study, pre-literate children were split into groups and taught how to draw letters by hand, trace letters, or type letters on a keyboard. Later they looked at the same letters while their brains were scanned in a functional MRI machine. Networks of the brain known to support successful reading activated in the students who’d written the letters, but not in the students who’d typed or traced.

The benefits of handwriting are also evident later in life. Older students comprehend lectures better when taking notes by hand rather than on a laptop. Moreover, adults are better able to learn a new alphabet when they practice letters by hand rather than on a computer.

What does this research on the brain-hand connection mean for your work calendar? You may remember your appointments better if you write them down on paper rather than typing them.

You could even think of jotting down tasks and appointments as exercise for your brain. “One of the advantages of moving away from the keyboard and doing something that requires greater flexibility in how we use our hands is that it also requires greater flexibility in how we use our brains,” writes Nancy Darling, a psychology professor at Oberlin College.

A desk calendar also provides a place to doodle. Scribbling idly may seem like a waste of time, but it’s a powerful way to improve concentration during boring tasks. In one study, people who were randomly assigned to doodle during an intentionally dull phone call remembered 29 percent more of the information transmitted on the call afterward. Doodling also quickly calms the mind, and most people find it enjoyable.

Dash digital fatigue

Of course, using a paper planner or calendar offers a way to step away from screens during your busy work day. If you feel like you spend too much time on mobile devices and are drowning in notifications and alerts, you’re not alone.

Devices are designed to be addictive. Our brains secrete the feel-good chemical dopamine when we hear a notification, and we experience real symptoms of anxiety if we can’t respond. American adults spend nearly 11 hours per day staring at screens, and iPhone users unlock their phones up to 80 times a day.

You may be suffering from spending too much time on technology without realizing it. The more time teens spend online, the more likely they are to say they’re unhappy. Adults randomly assigned to give up Facebook for a week ended up happier, less lonely, and less depressed at the end of the week than those who used Facebook.

Former tech employees are even raising an alarm about the negative impacts of the technology they helped create. A group of them started an organization called Center for Humane Technology; they feel too much technology erodes mental health and social relationships. Stepping away from your laptop and phone to schedule on paper is one way to decrease your time on digital devices at work.

Plan and personalize

Using a desk calendar may help with big-picture planning and organization because it’s easy to see all your appointments at a glance. Many people prefer the tangible feeling of paper. For instance, 92 percent of college students prefer to read print books versus reading on a digital device.

Furthermore, whether you love minimalist, elegant, or cute desk calendars, your calendar becomes as unique as you are once you put pen to paper. Personalize it exactly how you want and don’t be afraid to transform it into an efficient, artistic extension of your brain. Once you have your calendar, stock up on different highlighterssticky notes, and colorful pens.

Don’t ditch your desk calendar: The benefits of handwriting events and tasksInfographic by Quill

Long live the desk calendar

Digital devices aren’t going anywhere. Chances are you use some sort of online calendar, and you may want to continue doing so. But don’t ditch your desk calendar just yet. Many people use both a paper planning system and an online calendar because each offers different benefits. Writing down appointments helps you remember them better, gives you an opportunity to step away from screens, lends itself to big-picture planning and organizing, and offers a myriad of personalization options. Moreover, putting pen to paper may help you stay calmer and more focused.

Do agree with this article? Paper or electronic what works best for you?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter  FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

10 Apps to help get your family organized

My guest blogger is Olivia Cordell from AppsGrooves

AppGrooves, just published this article on the Best Apps for Making Digital To-Do Lists which I thought would be super helpful to busy person like you! AppGrooves has one of the most comprehensive collections of app-related analytics data, and we use it to rank the top apps on the App Store in over 600 categories that we designed. We do this to save you the time and stress of figuring out which apps are best to download and use.

Best 10 To Do List Apps

Best 10 To Do List Apps

AppGrooves has filtered the best 10 apps for “To Do List” in Productivity from 1,939 apps. Check it out !

Any.do: To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner1  Any.do: To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner  

By Any.do

 To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner ✅📅🔔 Free, and Simple. All-in-one app
  1. An intuitive, straightforward planner! Instantly create quick memos & organize your monthly calendar in a matter of seconds
  2. Need to buy fruit next time you visit a grocery store? Set up a smart reminder that will alert you when you reach a specific location
  3. With the powerful Home Widget you have your entire, neatly organized to-do list right on the home screen

    How to manage time⏳, get things done ✔ and accomplish tasks! 🙌🏻

    Why we love this

    1. Thanks to Smart Date Parsing, adding notes via voice or type input automatically sets a reminder without you having to do anything
    2. Be smart with your productivity! Discover useful statistics that turn your working schedules into beautiful graphs

      3. To Do List

      By Splend Apps

       SplenDO is smart task list for everyday use. Truly usable, splendid in action!

      Why we love this

      1. The ability to group tasks in neat Task Lists makes sure your to-do list stays organized no matter how many notes you add
      2. Staying organized made easy! Quickly set up due dates, view tasks that are past due & check off completed tasks to stay efficient
      3. In a hurry? Instantly add tasks to the Quick Task Bar whenever you need to schedule something important

       

7 Habits of very organized people

So you want to get organized?

Achieving order in your life doesn’t mean being perfect. That’s not realistic. Getting organized is not an event; it’s a process that happens over time. Like changing your eating or exercising habits, it sometimes involves behavioral changes and routines.

Perfectionism

Is being unrealistic by spending so much time on a task that it deprives other important tasks of sufficient time.

Excellence

Is doing the best job you can with the time and resources at your disposal.

What is organization? 

Being organized has less to do with the way an environment looks rather than how effectively it functions. If a person can find what they need when they need it, feels unencumbered in achieving his or her goals, and is happy in his or her space, then that person is well organized.

Myth #1 Organization is a born talent.

  • Organization is a skill. If the right resources or support are available it is easy to learn.

Myth #2: It’s impossible to stay organized.

  • Organizing is sustainable, if systems are built around the way the person thinks and designed to grow and adapt to new information.

The 7 Habits of Very Organized People

1. They have a place for everything

  • 25% of business documents are misplaced and will never be located so those documents must be recreated.They put things back

2. They put things back

  • Executives waste six weeks per year searching items

3. They write things down

  • From a master list of things to do determine the priorities for the next day.  This may include planning the most effect routine to use  to accomplish the tasksthe route driven to  see a client or considering  high and low energy cycles in the day and planning tasks accordingly

4. They don’t allow papers/ e-mail to pile up.

  • The average worker sends and receives over 190 messages each day.  Approximately 60 e-mails can be processed each hour.  Learn how to use e-mail effectively in order to limit the number of e-mails received and sent each day.

5. They don’t procrastinate

  • Procrastinating causes people to spend more time and energy on avoiding the task than completing it.  Once it is accomplished it is out of sight and out of mind.

6. They set goals and assign deadlines

  • Schedule a time for each task in the project to be complete, so deadlines can be met easily.

7. They only keep what they use and enjoy.

  • Clutter is usually the “extra” that is kept on hand just in case it is needed.  About 20% of items are used 80% of the time,  so 80% of items are hardly used at all.  Find the important 20% and let go of the unimportant 80%.

 

  1. They have a place for everything                                                   
  2. They put things back
  3. They write things down
  4. They don’t allow papers/e-mails to pile up.
  5. They don’t procrastinate
  6. They set goals and assign deadlines
  7. They only keep what they use and enjoy.

If you need help getting organized contact me for a virtual consultation 

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

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

 http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

 

Time management for children

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

Scheduling helps everyone to understand what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.

Weekly Agenda Page

 like to develop a weekly agenda page for each child in the family.  They have their own page posted on the refrigerator or bulletin board. 

Record all Weekly Activities – School, Home and Extra Curricular

At the beginning of each week, I record all their activities, music lessons, group activities, sports, etc.  I also record their special activities at school so they remember to bring library looks, physical education clothing, and musical instruments.  It also includes any chores that they have to do around the house.  If you prepare it on the computer, many things don’t change from week to week.

Record Additional Activities for the Week – Test, Projects, Parties

The children will add to the page, tests and projects that have been assigned at school.  Before they can play, watch TV or have screen time they have to complete everything on their list.  If you start this habit for them when they are young, it teaches them how to organize their time.  You will be helping to instill in them a habit that will last them a life time.

   

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Library books Physical education Class trip   violin
Practice piano Girl Guides Collect garbage Skating  Birthday Party at Susie’s
Set table Empty dishwasher


Paper or an App

I like paper because I can see everyone’s week at a glace without switching between screens and accounts.  But if you enjoy technology because you can access information from anywhere at anytime try Choice Works for scheduling with your children’s activities.  It allows you to select activities and list them by picture for non reading children or in words. 

A Students Guide to Effective Time Management

Thanks to Amy and Peyton for sending me this article for young adults entering college and university. This article has many helpful tips to help you be successful at school : A Students Guide to Effective Time Management 

Time management is about finding a system that works for you and your children to make life easier.  Please leave a comment about agendas, systems and apps that you use. 

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 

Twitter – @julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

How to organize your time to do more

At -A glace contacted me with this infographic. It clearly outlines a few  things to do use your time wisely to help you reach your goals.

Thanks to Jesus a Content Marketing Manager for At-A-Glance , a company that helps individuals and businesses with planning, organizing and learning for this information.

How to Do More with Less Time : AT-A-GLANCE

I also find productivity increases when the number distractions decrease.  No emails, no social media, no texting, no phone calls, simply no multitasking. Set aside a specific amount of time and work only on one project until it is done or the time is up. It is amazing how much you can get done when your focus is on one task at a time.

Share what you do to make yourself more productive. 

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

Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Carolyn Shannon is my guest blogger today.  Her business Venting Creatively helps people find creative ways to shine a light on their lives from a different view.  She runs a monthly networking group BEE Niagara.com and publishes Women of Worth magazine.

Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Everyday countless hours are wasted away due to non-productive activities. Time is money, so when distractions and procrastination sets in profitability will decline. A survey conducted by OfficeTime.net has revealed 10 of the biggest time killers. The main offenders that reduce of our productivity are:

1. Emails

How much time do you spend surfing the web?

2. Surfing the net

3. Watching TV

4. Procrastination

5. Meetings

6. Non-business conversations

7. Commuting & travel time

8. Social networking

9. Cell Phones & texting

10. Dealing with red tape

Types of Time Wasting

There are many factors that lead to procrastination. There are a few broad categories that most time wasting falls into.

Is making a decision a time consuming task for you?

1. Indecision. Perfectionists will often struggle with indecision. Some things may never become perfect, and putting too much focus on perfection will mean too much time spent on one job. Splitting the work into smaller tasks is one way to deal with it more effectively.

2. Avoidance. A fear of being judged can be the main cause of procrastination. It could be fear of failure or even success. Neither of these are something to be ashamed of. Success should be celebrated, and failure is the best way or learning. Think less about what others may think and more on trying your best at the task on hand.

3. Thrill Seeking. This is when procrastination is justified because the worker likes the thrill of an approaching deadline. If this is the case it is best to move deadlines closer and set personal targets. This still gets you the thrill of working against the clock, while reducing procrastination.

watch your minutes

Time flies

How to Put an End to Time Killers

The first step to battling time killers is to understand and appreciate the amount of time that is being wasted. What is the value of all that lost time? Time wasters will directly affect your career advancement opportunities and reduce the amount of income you could have received.Tracking where your time is spent will allow for efficient time management. Don’t just rely on your memory to remember what you did during the day. Use a system so that you have a written record that can be looked over and analyzed. This could be as simple as creating a timetable on a piece of paper, or utilizing a computer program or app to record your daily activities. Cutting down on time killers is a good start, but there are other strategies that should be used to effectively manage your time:

1. Define your purpose. You need to know exactly what you want when starting on a task. Without a definite purpose you will lose focus.

2. Smart goal setting. Choose realistic and specific goals and targets. It should be measurable so you know when it has been completed.

3. Plan on a regular basis. As factors change, you plan should be adjusted to reflect the reality of the situation.

To truly beat time killers you need to work on your mindset & stick to your plan for the long-term.

Which type of Time Waster Are You?

1. Thrill Seekers feel they can procrastinate, as they enjoy the feeling of working against a deadline

Tip: constantly set and adjust deadlines so that you still get the adrenaline rush but are using your time more effectively than procrastinating

2. Avoiders prefer to procrastinate as a means to avoid being judged. Whether it is a success or a failure

Tip: Success is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Failure is a way to learn and improve. Focus on doing the best job you can and not on what others think.

3. Indecisive people are often perfectionists but procrastinate to shift responsibility from themselves

Tip: Not everything has to be perfect so try to take small risks and use your intuition. Mistakes may mean you learn something new. Try to split the task up into more manageable parts.

Need help managing your time effectively contact Mind over Clutter.  Julie can work with you in person or virtually to help streamline your processes and routines.

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

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

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