It is a
familiar scenario. On any given work day, multiple projects and tasks come
across our desks labeled "Top priority." We then go home to the embrace of
family members who need X or Y right away and the cold stare of a pile of bills
that are (almost) past due. With so many contenders competing for top spot on
our daily to-do list, it is no wonder that we end up feeling
stressed and burned out.
de-stress and rekindle the flame of enthusiasm for our professional and home
lives, we need to learn to prioritize. While making the
best use of our time and resources might seem like a tall order, prioritization
is a skill we all can master a step at a time.
As this MindTools article
points out, you can start prioritizing based on one of three factors:
P.O.S.E.C. method is another practical approach to prioritizing work-life
tasks. At its core is the premise that we can better handle whatever comes our
way if we first pay attention to our everyday,
personal responsibilities. This informative post
from project management expert Mark Phillips depicts the method's
hierarchical guideline as follows:
One technique that works for me is
at the end of each work day, I make a list of things that I want to accomplish
on the next day. This simple activity makes me think about my 'priorities', and
in the morning I am ready to attack my list.
to hear from you. If you have a practical and proven way of prioritizing, please
comment on it here or at our Beyond Folders Facebook
by Candie Harris
Since its premiere way back in 1989, MTV Unplugged has featured popular
musicians performing acoustic versions of their electric repertoire (like this
moving classic from Eric Clapton). I find the idea of
unplugging to reconnect with the heart and soul of what we do and who we are
But, it is also hard to imagine how this appealing
idea can become a reality. Whether or not we are digital
natives, many of
us spend a huge amount of time tethered to our computers, smartphones and
To give you a sense of things, according to a recent report,
the average U.S.
internet user spends about 68 hours online and visits nearly 2700 websites each
month. We are also prolific smartphone users. So prolific that professors at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management have studied the
affects of Blackberry overuse. Even the mainstream media
alerts us to signs of smartphone addiction.
So, assuming we want to (and that is a big
assumption), how do we make the break and unplug from technology - even for a
little while? A post from the productivity blog Zen
Habits offers a roadmap of sorts by detailing these 3 Ways To
Claim Your Life Back:
You can also find some practical tips in this
article on taking a vacation from speed and noise. Among the suggested
We would love to field some real world tips and
tools to share with everyone here. So, please let us know how you unplug from
the technology in your life.
by Carly Fadako
movie, Yes Man,
a personal development guru tells down-and-out Carl Allen (played by Jim
Carrey): "You say no to life and, therefore, you are not living." Taking this
statement to heart, Allen agrees to say Yes
to all the people and opportunities that come his way .... and soon learns how
precarious and depleting Yes can be.
account reflects what a lot of us experience in real life and what an article
from MayoClinic.com confirms: It's easier to say yes,
but saying no may be a healthier option.
You add a lot of unnecessary and unhealthy stress to your life when you honor
too many requests for your time and talents.
sake of your professional sanity, and overall wellbeing, you need to learn how
to say No to your boss, to your
co-workers and to your clients or customers - at least some of the time. (As a
father of 7, I practice the art of No
the learning process going, this article outlines 6
Ways to Say 'No' and Mean It.
There is, among others:
As explained in this post on 10 Ways to Say No to Your Boss,
an honest and straightforward explanation is best.
If you still need more insight into the power of No, you can find it, along with some practical
guidance, in this Psychology Today look
at setting boundaries at work .
by Bradley Eggers
we learn every day wading through media streams, talking to disgruntled
co-workers or engaging with our teenage children?
is part of life.
conflict can be particularly toxic because it disrupts worker productivity,
hampers professional collaboration and jeopardizes the business bottom line.
a few common causes of on-the-job conflict (as cited by CareerBuilder.com):
to this Entrepreneur article, conflict is really about tension that most of us respond to in
one of three ways:
response we are naturally inclined to have, we can become better conflict
managers if we heed expert advice that conflict can be
a positive and constructive force in the workplace. It helps to look at the
situation with an empathic eye by putting yourself in the other person's shoes.
The odds of a good and healthy resolution also increase when we are able to see
how we contributed to the conflict (since it is never a one-way street). I have
shared that advice many times with my own children, in an effort to help them
successfully resolve conflicts they have faced in their lives.
conflict erupts - as it inevitably will - you and your co-workers might benefit
from some or all of these strategies for dealing with
difficult people at work.
If you have any other conflict resolution strategies, please feel free to share
them with us.
"The evolution of
office spaces toward greater comfort and visual appeal has been taking place
for about 15 years. Then why do so many workspaces remain devastatingly
Christina Nunez poses this
compelling question in her NPR article, When Bad Office
Design Happens to Good People.
Writing with empathy for cubicle dwellers everywhere, Nunez culls a list of
suggestions for beautifying these workspaces - or, at least, for making them a
bit less dreadful. Here is a sampling:
work at home as I do, or have a good
amount of freedom when it comes to designing your workspace, you can take some
creative direction from Smashing Magazine's gallery of inspirational workplaces. There's more inspiration
on tap in this post offering 90+ Home Office Hacks
and this one showcasing 10 Cool Items for Your Design
might want to temper your design impulses with these practical tips on setting up a healthy, usable workspace (courtesy of Lifehacker):
help with this last tip? Try taking the 3 Steps to a
Permanently Clear Desk
detailed in a post from zenhabits.
face-to-face or in a virtual space, as a two-person exchange or at an annual
gathering of two thousand, meetings are essential to business life.
successful business meeting is part art and part science. Even if you are a natural leader,
you might find this a tough mix to master. Here are some resources to help you.
Dr. Nadine Katz shares the results of a study she conducted on making meetings
more efficient. Her top
finding? There is no substitute for preparation, which includes:
article on How to Run a Meeting Like Google echoes Dr. Katz's insights and
adds that assigning an official note taker and sticking to the clock helps curb
meeting, and post-meeting, chaos. Rounding out the advice, a piece from WomenEntrepreneur
encourages meeting leaders to:
are running your meeting via the Web, Mashable has 5 important tips for your success. Last, but not least, proving that even the biggest business
meetings benefit from a healthy dose of lightness and humor, here is a Wall Street Journal post
featuring a video clip from Southwest Airlines' 2009 annual meeting.
have foot-in-mouth moments when we say something inappropriate to a co-worker, supervisor
or boss. These slips are normal and inevitable. When they happen, it helps to
acknowledge them and apologize right away.
slips aside, with multiple lines of business communication at our disposal, it is
important to know what we can and cannot say at work. Over at Trump University, The Donald himself (via
advises that we should never say:
list compiled by Men's Health, a New York
Times article titled What Not to Say at the Office
adds these forbidden
As important as it is, being aware of what not to
say at work is just one side of the coin. The other side is being able to
communicate effectively with people we encounter on-the-job. You will find some
solid guidance is this Tech Republic
post on communicating with customers and co-workers. Among the tips offered is:
Beware of interrupting
Avoid negative questions
Fast Company also provides constructive pointers in
a post on Making Communication Work, including the stand out: Respect others' opinions.
try to think before I speak, how will what I say be perceived? Do you have some
workplace communication tips? Feel free to share them with us by posting a
comment or via email.
you use to describe it, paper clutter can be overwhelming. Here are some
practical paper management steps you can take to embrace the old adage everything
in its proper place and regain control of your workspace.
practical tips on organizing and managing paper flow, check out these helpful
how-tos from around the Web:
By Candie Harris
Lie to Me is a
fascinating TV series inspired by the real-life work of Dr. Paul Eckman,
a psychologist who uses clues embedded in the human face, body and voice to
assist in criminal investigations. As a psychology major, I have always been
fascinated with using body language to try and read people.
Most of us likely accept that we can learn a lot
about others and ourselves by attuning to body language. Yet, few of us are
naturally fluent in this kind of non-verbal communication. It is a skill we
must acquire and nurture.
Fortunately, the Web is here to support us. With a
quick trip to the search box, you can find practical tips and insights on:
Body language basics
Translating common gestures
into business vernacular
inability to read non-verbal cues
But, before declaring ourselves (self-taught) body
language experts, we should heed what communication theorist and coach Nick Morgan
writes in an article titled The Truth Behind the Smile
and Other Myths - When Body Language Lies.
While Morgan recognizes the business value of decoding non-verbal cues, he
argues that, "in the end, body language conveys important but unreliable clues
about the intent of the communicator."
Maybe the best course of action in our business, and
personal, interactions is to couple our powers of observation with some genuine
dialogue that sheds light what the other person is feeling and experiencing.
By Carly Fadako
like a simple question. But, you might not have a simple answer if you are part
of the growing population of workers who like me, call places such as airports,
coffee shops and public parks the office.
With improved technologies and increased demand for workplace flexibility, it is projected that mobile workers could make up almost 75% of the US
workforce by 2011.
If you are
in this tribe of nomadic workers - by choice or otherwise - About.com's Catherine Roseberry
offers these Top 10 Remote Work Myths & Realities for your consideration.
You can also refer to this list of 20 Crucial Tools for
Working On-the-Go put together by SitePoint's Alyssa Gregory .
you occupy your moveable workspace as a freelancer
or as part of a virtual office community,
you will benefit from mastering what Harvard Business Review blogger Gina Trapani calls the Art of Working Remotely. Among Trapani's tips are:
blogger Carolyn Elefant points out, mobile workers who conduct business in public spaces should also
observe some basic rules of etiquette, such as:
Do you manage a team of mobile workers? You
might find some helpful guidance in these Top 10
by the folks at workshifting.com.
In our 24-7-365
culture, we are free to indulge a range of whims at all-night supermarkets, entertainment
venues, restaurants and gyms. While running on the treadmill at 2:00 a.m., we
can watch the latest news on the health hazards of working
the graveyard shift and the fallout from sleep deprivation.
is, despite the lure of all-night activity, we are born to move to a particular
circadian rhythm- an internal body clock that regulates the approximately 24-hour cycle of
biological processes in all living beings. (The term circadian comes from Latin words that mean "around the day.") We
can optimize our personal productivity and wellbeing by acquainting ourselves
with our unique mode of internal operation.
us are morning people. We rise early with a clear head and get a lot of good work
done before most people are awake. I quickly learned that mornings were the
most productive time for me, and schedule myself accordingly. Others get up
every day with a dense brain fog that descended during the night. If you are
foggy first thing in the morning, you are better off delaying any important
tasks and decision making for at least an hour or so. Exercise is a great fog
lifter. As the day progresses toward bedtime (and a
regular bedtime is best ),
we all move through peaks and valleys of alertness and productivity.
you are an early riser or a night owl who is most productive after dark, it is
important to understand what makes you tick. If you find
yourself out of sync with your body clock, here are some helpful tips for trouble shooting the problem and resetting your daily routine.
Beyond Folders™ is a new Community steeped in history. Twenty five years ago, Pendaflex launched the I Hate Filing Club™, delivering information and techniques for organization in the workspace and home. While still providing great ideas and inspiration, Beyond Folders™ goes a step further.In late 2009 we surveyed our Community members and other professional organizations to ask where they spent time gathering information and inspiration to help make their work and personal organization tasks more productive. We then observed and questioned our members, small business owners and knowledge workers and found several common areas of interest, needs and concerns.
Our communications will be built around these subjects, offering sound advice, ideas and methods to achieve success in these areas. Beyond Folders™ blog contributors are subject matter experts in workplace organization, productivity, communications, time management and more.
Carly Fadako is one of our workplace organizational experts, working daily with our customers to find value added solutions to their organization challenges.Bradley Eggers is trained and certified to deliver "Lean" processes, studying under Shingijitsu of Japan, Moffit Associates and TBM. He is an expert at implementing Lean and Kaizen as tools that create "TIME" and competitive advantage for companies. Candie Harris is our marketing and communications guru. She has given over 1000 presentations to audiences of varying size and composition and as VP of Marketing, has been responsible for all aspects of our company communication. We hope you find our posts interesting, useful and inspirational!Check them out, and let us know what you think.Beyond Folders™ will also be on FaceBook and can be followed on Twitter@beyondfolders
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.